FOXBORO -- Blame it on the wind.
Well, kind of.
Nobody likes excuses. The New England Revolution aren't the exception. They didn't want to have to say it. And you could tell that as the words came out of Jay Heaps' mouth, he knew what it was going to sound like: an excuse.
"I don't want to make excuses, but I will say this. The wind was definitely difficult to play in," said the Revolution coach after Saturday's scoreless draw to Sporing KC at Gillette Stadium.
It's possible that the absence of Jerry Bengtson and Heaps' refusal to bring Diego Fagundez into the game were the reasons New England finished the home opener with zero shots on goal and only three attempted shots on goal. But in reality, the wind was ridiculous on Saturday. And excuse or not, it was a major factor.
Sporting KC finished the 0-0 game with five shots on goal but nothing to show for it. Heaps said he was happy with the point, given the way his team battled under such weather conditions.
"Kansas City is one of the best teams grinding out a game like that," said Heaps after the draw. "And I think that it showed a lot of our guys coming out and fighting them and making it a difficult battle.
"I think our back four played well, but not just our back four," added Heaps. "Our entire midfield defended well."
His midfield played so well, that it led to his refusal to put in Fagundez, one of the team's top, young offensive threats.
"I thought about it from probably the 65th minute on, about Diego [Fagundez] and [Andy] Dorman," said Heaps. "Those were the two guys I was thinking about bringing in. For me, the way their back four were playing and how physical they were, and the way the game was being played, it just wasn't a game where I thought we would get much going forward and we were going to lose a little bit defensively."
Heaps pointed out that he would have had Fagundez replace Kelyn Rowe, but Rowe was playing too well for the Revs to risk taking a hit, defensively.
"Diego is an explosive player," said Heaps. "He needs the ball on the ground. he's a technical player. We need him to win games for us. And tonight, I think it just wasn't the right . . . I just didn't feel like we were going to get what we needed from him. It would have put him in a tough spot, because he would have had to defend corners and set pieces and long throw-ins. That's just not his kind of game."
So even though the Revs' first shot attempted came on a free kick in the 77th minute that sailed over the net, Saturday's scoreless draw goes down as a "good point," according to New England.
Given all the factors involved.
"It was really strange, just because the stadium is set up, [the wind] kind of blows in different directions at different times," said Ryan Guy. "So sometimes the ball would die in front of you, and other times the ball would come at you and whistle left and right. It was just very hard to judge. I think there were a couple shots there that were struck well, and all of a sudden they're going off of throw-ins, when normally they'd be at least on frame."
"It certainly isn't going to go down as the prettiest soccer game ever played," said Heaps. "It was a good fight from our guys. I was really excited with the way we approached the match. But in the end, we didn't get enough chances. We weren't good enough on our set pieces, when we had our corner kicks, when we had our chances. But in terms of defending and fighting and making sure we made it a battle, we did that."