No offense: New England Revolution shut out for fourth straight game
For the fourth straight game, the slumping New England Revolution were unable to find the back of the net in Sunday's 1-0 loss to the surging New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
Bradley Wright-Phillips took advantage of a defensive breakdown deep inside the Revolution box and ushered it past a helpless Brad Knighton to give the Red Bulls the lead in the 55th minute. It was Wright-Phillips' 16th goal of the season, which put him in a three-way tie with Sebastian Giovinco and David Villa for the league lead.
Sunday's match extended the Revolution's scoreless streak to 361 minutes, which dates back to the team's 4-1 loss at Toronto on Aug. 6. The match also marked the team's fifth setback in their past seven (1-5-1) and kept them in eighth place with seven games to go.
With the loss, the Revolution dropped their 12th game of the season, the same number of losses they suffered all of last season. The Red Bulls' win vaulted them into first place over Toronto and extended their MLS-best unbeaten streak to nine (4-0-5).
What it means: It turns out the Revolution are going to need much more than a formation change to alter their fortunes. Thanks to another defensive blunder, which was paired with the latest in a series of anemic performances by the attack, New England simply looked outclassed by the front-running Red Bulls. With only four points separating them from the bottom of the conference, and their postseason hopes flickering at best, the Revolution are going to need wholesale improvements in short order to avoid their first autumn outside of the playoffs since Jay Heaps' first season at the helm. With the rest of the conference passing them by, it appears the only beacon of hope is next month's U.S. Open Cup final against FC Dallas, a match that will send the winner to next year's edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Stat of the match: The Revolution were held to only two shots on goal in Sunday's defeat. The Red Bulls doubled that number with four of their own.
Two-striker setup gets another go: Days after making a tactical switch to the 4-4-2 at San Jose, Heaps kept the two-striker setup intact for the second straight game. Despite being featured in the midfield for much of the season, winger Teal Bunbury was pushed up to partner with striker Kei Kamara in the hopes of rejuvenating the team's floundering attack.
Goncalves returns, Agudelo back on the bench: Starting center back Jose Goncalves was back in the XI after missing Wednesday's match at San Jose with a hamstring strain. While Goncalves reclaimed his spot in the lineup, striker Juan Agudelo was back on the bench after making his long-awaited return to the XI against the Earthquakes. Agudelo did make a cameo as a 71st minute substitute and collected one of the team's two shots on goal in the 90+4 minute.
Back home for the Jermaine Jones-less Rapids: The Revolution hope that the month of September will bring greater success when they return to action on Saturday to face the Colorado Rapids sans ex-New England designated player Jermaine Jones. Jones, who was traded to Colorado in March, was called up by the U.S. Men's National Team on Sunday for a pair of upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. Last year, the Revolution staked a 2-0 win over the Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.