Revs hoping defensive lapse only temporary

Revs hoping defensive lapse only temporary
April 26, 2013, 3:45 pm
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Stephen McCarthy saw his first action of the season Saturday in the Revs' 4-1 loss to the Red Bulls.

(Associated Press)

FOXBORO -- Think about this.

Philadelphia Union forward Jack McInerney has six goals in seven games this season. That's four more goals than the entire New England Revolution have scored in six games.

The Revs host Philadelphia on Saturday at Gillette Stadium, and while that statistic is alarming to New England's offense, the Revolution enter their next match having allowed four goals against the New York Red Bulls last weekend.

As one Revs player said after Thursday's practice, "I don't see that happening again."

He was talking about the "allowing four goals" part, not necessarily the "scoring only one" issue.

With the way the 4-1 loss to the Red Bulls started, New England will tell you that, once New York took a 2-1 lead in he first 10 minutes of the game, they played stretches of some of their best soccer all season.

What affected them was New York's willingness to sit back on defense and protect the lead, which forced the Revs to press hard for the tying goal toward the end of the game, allowing the Red Bulls to score their third and fourth goals in the 82nd and 89th minutes.

"I think some of it was a bad start," said Revs defender Stephen McCarthy on Thursday. "We came out off our game plan a little bit. We probably should have just dumped it a little, instead of trying to play out of the back. And towards the end, you're just trying to press for the game. So those goals will happen if you're trying to press numbers forward and win."

"I'm just disappointed in the way we started," said coach Jay Heaps. "Seventeen minutes into that game it took us to settle down. And then once the game started from the 17th to about the 80th, 83rd minute, we were pretty darn good in certain areas. We had chances to tie, chances to go ahead. And certainly in the second half, we dominated a lot of possession. But to no avail, because at that point, they're up a goal and they can sit in."

Even with the loss, New England still boasts one of the best defenses in the league. Still, they did see defender A.J. Soares sustain a hamstring injury last weekend.

McCarthy replaced him, seeing his first game action of the season.

"It's a tough position to come into, because it's so early in the first half, and your not totally warm," said Heaps on Thursday. "It took him a little while, and once he settled in, I thought he was good in the second half.

"We got torn apart a little bit because we were stretched. But in terms of the steps and moves he made, he was pretty good."

Heaps considers Soares "day-to-day" but says "it's not looking good" for him to play on Saturday.

McCarthy feels he's ready to not just add to the defense if he is called upon again, but he's also ready to help create some much-needed offense from the back end.

"Defensively, we've been great," said McCarthy. "We've been one of the best in the league, so it's tough to have that last game. We've just been really tight and solid from the back, and kind of lacking going forward. So hopefully I can bring a little bit of that, coming from the back. I like to play out of the back. And I used to be a midfielder. So hopefully I can bring some of that, and help us get some chances up top."

The Revs will need it. And they believe that offense is a much bigger problem than defense right now.

"I would say that scoring goals is our main objective right now," said Heaps. "We've created chances and haven't finished our opportunities. We have to get a goal to free ourselves up a little bit."

On Saturday, they'll also get a chance to prove that the four goals-against performance was only an aberration, as they try and stop the guy who has four more goals than their entire team.

"The thing about McInerney is that he doesn't get a ton of chances, he just finishes every one he gets," said Heaps. "So McInerney is really coming on fire.

"He's not caught up in how many touches he needs to have to get active. He's active, whether he's touched the ball 100 times or whether he's touched it once. He's clinical.

"Philadelphia is playing some really good soccer and taking their chances well," Heaps said. "And we need to limit those. I would say that if you mark McInerney, you're going to lose out on someone else. Because McInerney isn't vital in their build-up, he's vital in how they finish off chances. So he's a player that disappears for a second and comes back in at a crucial time. So you have to know where he is at all times."