It’s clear that the book on the Revolution has become an easy read for the opposition in recent weeks: Score early, and reap the rewards.
For the fifth straight game against MLS competition, the Revolution found themselves staring at a deficit going into halftime in Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup clash. And for the fifth straight game, the Revolution couldn’t climb out of it, as Conor Casey’s 10th-minute goal paved the way for a 2-0 quarterfinal win for the Union.
“It takes a lot out of us,” Revolution midfielder/forward Teal Bunbury told reporters after the match. “I don’t know what it is exactly. I think it’s a mindset that we all have to get on the same page from the first whistle because it’s not a light switch that you can just turn on and expect to get back into the game once you’re down.”
Coming back from an early goal has certainly been a tough task for the Revolution this year. Actually, it’s proven to be an insurmountable one during the spring and early summer.
In league action this year, the Revolution are 0-6-0 when trailing at halftime, a troubling trend for a team that went a respectable 2-3-2 tethered to a deficit going into the break last season.
Of course, the Revolution’s inability to bounce back wasn’t at the forefront of the players’ minds entering the second half. Quite the opposite. They approached the second half intent to level the match.
But Sebastien Le Toux’s 47th-minute goal put a sizable dent in their hopes of a second-half comeback. So much for staying within striking distance.
All hope wasn’t completely lost for the guests. The attack flickered to life following Le Toux’s tally, and it appeared that the Revolution might be able to pull themselves out of the two-goal hole as the hour mark neared.
But that momentum was brought to a complete halt after a line of severe thunderstorms barreled over PPL Park, forcing a 64-minute delay. Even so, midfielder Steve Neumann wasn’t about use the weather as an excuse.
“I don’t know if it factored into play that much,” Nuemann told reporters. “We’re all used to that sort of thing happening once or twice throughout our careers. I thought we lost some steam after the break, which we can only fault ourselves for first and foremost.”
We’ll never know if the Revolution would have gone on to score had the storm clouds stayed away from Chester, Pennsylvania. However, it’s clear that the team returned from the lengthy interruption a frustrated bunch.
Less than 10 minutes after the teams returned to the pitch, Jose Goncalves and Lee Nguyen were both cautioned. Making matters worse, A.J. Soares, who was initially shown a yellow card in the 47th minute, was given a second caution in the 94th minute, leaving the Revolution with 10 men when the final whistle chirped.
It would be a lie to call Tuesday’s performance promising for the Revolution. Not only were they limited to four shots all game, but they also conceded nine corner kicks.
Despite their far-from-inspiring performance, Bunbury is optimistic that the Revolution will be able to turn their struggles around before long.
“We’ve just got to come together,” Bunbury said. “This is the time in the middle of season where there are always ups and downs. I know the guys have the right mindset and we’re just going to look forward to our next game now.”