The Revolution started slow and barely found a rhythm, as they didn’t register a shot on target until the 70th minute. Conversely, NYCFC bossed the game from the start, though their breakthrough arrived at the hour mark.
Revolution defender Michael Mancienne deflected a point-blank shot from NYCFC’s Heber into his own goal. New York iced the game 13 minutes later when Heber headed Ronald Matarrita’s corner kick in off the far post.
The result marked the first time the Revolution have conceded more than once in a game since losing 2–1 to the Montreal Impact in the season opener.
It’s also the first time the Revolution have been shut out at home since taking a 2–0 loss to Los Angeles FC on Aug. 3, 2019.
“There’s frustration all around tonight,” Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner said. “No one did their job. We didn’t score any goals, and conceded two, and we didn’t win our individual battles all over the field.”
Bruce Arena: NYCFC was our top adversary so far
While the Revolution offered sobering criticisms of their performance Wednesday, New England head coach Bruce Arena credited New York for earning the result.
New England is now 6–5–3 against NYCFC all-time.
“We had an off night, but we need to give our opponents credit,” Arena said. “They were simply the better team. The reason for that needs to be explored a little more.
“They dominated us physically, and the first half there were a number of cases where we created chances, created good scoring opportunities, and couldn’t connect on passes. It was poor work technically as well.”
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) September 3, 2020
Revolution left considering tactics
Arena used all five of his substitutes Wednesday, bringing on Diego Fagundez and Alex Buttner at halftime and then turning to Adam Buksa, Kekuta Manneh and Tajon Buchanan late in the second half for an offensive spark.
That said, New England started with Teal Bunbury at center forward and Gustavo Bou and Cristian Penilla roaming the wings and central channels.
The team’s tactics at the start of the game never paid off. Penilla remained isolated, Bunbury never found a groove and Bou waited until the 70th minute to fire his side’s first shot on goal.
Arena reserved particularly harsh criticism for Penilla.
“He continues to be a player that it’s challenging to position him in a spot he’ll be productive,” Arena said of the Ecuadorian. “He’s an attacking player who doesn’t have a goal and hasn’t had an assist since the season opener, which was off a corner.
“We’re getting nothing out of him, and that’s disappointing.”
Fagundez described playing with eight up front for parts of the second half, with the team finding its shape when Buksa took the field and served as a target.
Buksa finished the game with three shots and New England out-shot New York 15–11. That said, the final score and the Revolution players’ somber post-game attitude told the full story.
“It was not best game for us,” Fagundez said. “Overall we’re not completing a lot of passes, not making plays happen, and that’s on us. We need to be better. It’s one of those games that we don’t want to look back into it.
“When we finished the game, Bruce said more people need to step up and be soccer players. Not a lot of players out there performing, and that’s on us.”