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Revolution, 0, Union 2: Revs flop in opener

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Two red cards undue new-look New England

MLS: New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After last-year’s porous performance by the New England Revolution’s back line, hopes ran high that former goalkeeper Brad Friedel could fix the problem as the team’s new coach.

Those hopes were crushed, at least for the moment, by a lackluster performance in Saturday night’s season opening 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union.

The back line received four cards and was overmatched by the likes of CJ Sapong, David Accam and Cory Burke all night.

In fact, at times it looked like the only way the Revs could slow them down was to grab onto them and hold on for dear life.

That is what Toni Delamea did in the 23rd minute, getting a straight red.

Last year’s steadiest defender wrapped his arms around Sapong to prevent him from going in on goal after the forward received a long ball with a clear path to the net.

Defender Claude Dielna, the team captain, received a second yellow for taking down a dangerous-looking Burke late in the game.

In between, Andrew Ferrell got a yellow for deciding the only way to stop Sapong was to latch on to his arm and not let go.

Three of the four defenders received cards.

A lot has been made of all the speed Friedel has brought to the team with his new additions.

But, it was Philadelphia that showed the most pace.

They regularly beat the Revs on the outside and whipped crosses into the box.

Teenager Anthony Fontana opened the scoring in the 43rd minute just as it looked like the Revs would escape the first half unharmed.

It was his first Major League Soccer goal.

Sapong, who had chances all night, finally scored in the 69th minute.

Burke beat Gabriel Somi to the outside and fed Sapong in front of the goal.

It was a minor miracle the Union didn’t do more damage in the first half as they were on the verge of scoring throughout.

It’s not a stretch to say Sapong alone could have a hat trick in the first 45 minutes. Yet he squandered chances, including two wide open headers from close in.

The Revs best chance early might might have come in the 21st minute when Juan Agudelo was sent in alone, but slowed up enough to be tackled from behind.

At the start of the game he had a close-in shot from a wide position. The ball rebounded to Diego Fagundez, but it wouldn’t settle in time for him to take advantage of an opening.

He ended up shooting it into a defender.

In his debut, Friedel pulled some surprises with the lineup.

He gave Fairfield University product Matt Turner his first MLS start in goal.

Turner had been loaned out to the Richmond Kickers the past two years and never made an appearance with the Revs in a regular season game.

Midfielder Kelyn Rowe, who was thought to be in line for the playmaking role on the team, did not start.

If there was one bright spot for the Revs it was rookie Brandon Bye, who came on for Agudelo.

Bye led Teal Bunbury with a nice pass, but Bunbury’s shot was wide.

He also uncorked a threatening shot from distance that keeper Andre Blake fisted over the goal.

Blake has not surrendered a goal to the Revs in more than 400 minutes