The New England Revolution returned home to Gillette Stadium on Wednesday night, ultimately losing 1-0 to New York City FC. Frank Lampard scored the night's only goal to help the visitors solidify their spot at the top of the Eastern Conference. Here are three thoughts from the loss.
1. There should’ve been more goals in the first half. Both teams were eager to attack in the opening stanza and produced a total of 11 shots, including many that looked destined for the back of the net. Teal Bunbury and Kei Kamara had good chances go awry while David Villa was denied by both the woodwork and Bobby Shuttleworth. In the end, the game was scoreless at the break, which can probably be chalked up to bad luck more than anything else.
2. The value of experience was on full display. In a rare move, NYCFC played all three of their aging Designated Players on the turf of Gillette Stadium. Villa, Andrea Pirlo, and Frank Lampard were excellent on the night, showcasing their sophisticated soccer brains through creative passes and pinpoint shots. If you need proof of their class, take a look at the game’s only goal. After gaining possession at midfield, Pirlo floated the ball behind the Revs defense. Tommy McNamara then sent in a cross that Lampard redirected into the goal with his thigh, a task done despite a defender covering him. It was a smart play that highlighted the importance of experiencing soccer at the highest level. Though he didn’t get on the scoresheet, it’s worth noting that Villa would’ve probably grabbed a hat trick on a different night if afforded the same opportunities.
3. The Revolution’s last sub was odd, but what else was going to happen? Down a goal, head coach Jay Heaps replaced Je-Vaughn Watson with Andrew Farrell in a like-for-like switch that didn’t appear to be prompted by injury. It was a puzzling move since Farrell has contributed one assist and no goals in four seasons. That said, there weren’t many options. With Charlie Davies and Juan Agudelo injured and Femi Hollinger-Janzen and Daigo Kobayashi subbed on earlier, there weren’t many game-changers left on the bench. Brad Knighton is a goalkeeper, Samba is a mistake-prone defender, Zachary Herivaux has only played four league minutes, and Steve Neumann hasn’t appeared in a league match since the 3-0 loss to the Montreal Impact on Sept. 19, 2015. With few choices in front of him, Heaps went with a fresh player that he knew would be active. More than anything else, the substitution highlighted the Revolution’s injury woes.