The fresh start the New England Revolution were seeking in their first game of the second half of the season was nowhere to be seen in a humbling 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy at the StubHub Center on Wednesday.
Robbie Keane opened the scoring in the 10th minute and capped it in the 78th minute, while Gyasi Zardes also found the back of the net twice, in the 18th and 48th minutes. Stefan Ishizaki joined Keane and Zardes on the scoresheet with a goal of his own in the 75th minute. The lone measure of success from the guests came on a Lee Nguyen 38th-minute strike from the spot after Teal Bunbury was brought down inside the box by Dan Gargan.
A.J. Soares was sent off in the 29th minute, while Gargan was issued a red card of his own in the 37th minute for denying Bunbury of a goal-scoring opportunity in the play that led to Nguyen’s penalty strike. As a result, both sides finished with 10 men.
With the loss, the Revolution remain stuck on 23 points (7-9-2), where they’ve been since late May, while the Galaxy ran their mark to 7-3-6 and extended their unbeaten streak to eight (5-0-3).
What it means: The first-half gremlins that have haunted the Revolution since late May were back on Wednesday, with two goals falling into New England’s net before the 20th minute. Nguyen’s goal gave his squad a dose of hope going into halftime, but Zardes’ second goal of the game put the Galaxy back in command, with Ishizaki and Keane piling it on late. Prior to the match, the Revolution spoke about approaching Wednesday’s match with a clean slate, as it coincided with the start of the second half of the regular season. Yet it’s safe to say that the Revolution are going to need much more than a renewed mindset to shake off their slumping form, which has seen them drop from the top of the conference to teetering on the red playoff line.
Stat of the match: The 5-1 loss marked the second time this season the Revolution have suffered a four-goal margin of defeat. In the season opener, the Houston Dynamo handed the Revolution a 4-0 loss.
New-look Revolution: After watching his squad’s offense produce only two goals in their last five games, Revolution coach Jay Heaps decided to switch to a 4-4-2 formation against the Galaxy. The most notable changes within the formation: a diamond midfield that featured Diego Fagundez as the central attacking midfielder, while Patrick Mullins as paired with Teal Bunbury up top.
Soares takes over for Dorman at D-Mid: With Andy Dorman shelved for at least the next 10-12 weeks with an MCL sprain, A.J. Soares filled in at defensive midfielder for the second time in the Revolution’s last three games. The fourth-year center back earned his first start in the midfield on July 4 at Salt Lake, a game that Dorman was forced to sit out due to suspension. But Soares’ night came to a premature end after he was red carded for a studs-up challenge on Juninho in the 29th minute.
Nguyen returns and scores: Revolution leading scorer Lee Nguyen was back in the lineup on Wednesday after missing last week’s match against the Fire while serving a one-game suspension. Nguyen was suspended for stomping on John Stertzer during the Revolution’s 2-1 loss to Salt Lake on July 4. But in his first game back from the ban, Nguyen collected his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
On to Big D: The Revolution will look to get back in the saddle on Saturday against FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET. The interconference clash will mark the only time the MLS originals will meet during the regular season. Last year, the Revolution dropped a 1-0 home loss to Dallas on March 30.