On Saturday, the New England Revolution hosted the Seattle Sounders in an east versus west match up. This was the only time that the two clubs are scheduled to meet this season. Both teams have been disappointing so far despite having loads of talent on their rosters. New England won the match 2-1 in front of their home fans for just their third win of the 2016 season. Let’s take a look at what went wrong defensively on each of the three goals in this game.
Aaron Kovar, 7 min.: The trouble for New England on this goal began when Seattle’s left back Joevin Jones was able to tee up and send a cross into the box from the left side of the field. Bobby Shuttleworth initially did well to protect the goal by meeting the ball in the air but provided a very weak punch, sending the ball straight to the top of the 18. Shuttleworth should have punch the ball wide of the goal to avoid any immediate danger or simply gotten much more power on his punch. Kovar took the ball out of the air at the top of the box and let the ball bounce before lifting it to the right of the onrushing Chris Tierney and finishing in the bottom corner. Tierney’s defending here was really bad. First off, he should have done a much better job to slow his feet and stand up Kovar. His mistake came when he rushed Kovar to try and win a tackle allowing Kovar to easily beat him. The best spot here would have been to not get super tight so that he can beat you to any side while the ball is on the bounce but tight enough to be able to block a shot.
Lee Nguyen, 24 min.: The USMNT midfielder’s goal came off of a penalty kick. A harsh handball was called on Friberg after Zach Scott cleared an Andrew Farrell cross straight at him. It was a harsh decision by the referee to say the least. Nothing here to really analyze.
Femi Hollinger-Janzen, 80 min.: Sigi Schmid will be having nightmares about how poorly defended this goal was. Take nothing away from Femi as he did well to take advantage of his chance but nothing should have come out of this play for the Revolution. It all started when Lee Nguyen was able to collect a ball in the box and take a few touches. Despite being surrounded by three Sounders defenders, he was able to battle and win back the ball from Mears and it fell to Femi who was just outside the area. Mears tried to make a short pass to Friberg when he should have sent the ball up the pitch so that the Sounders backline could step up and take some space. When the ball reached Femi, he slipped at first and both Friberg and Mears hesitated to step to the ball. Femi was able to regain his balance and fire off an open shot to the bottom corner. Both Friberg and Mears need to lay their bodies down sooner and block this shot. Femi had way too much time to get the ball off his foot.
It was a much needed three points for the New England Revolution who are still out of the playoff picture on 16 points. With how tight the east is right now, they only need a couple of more games to turn things around and be in a good position. For the Sounders, their early season struggles continue. They’ve got just 13 points after 12 games and are already 7 points out of the playoffs. Seattle needs to figure things out quickly before it is too late. If they don’t, we could see the end of the Sigi Schmid era in Seattle.