SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Revolution spent the offseason upgrading a squad that finished dead last in the Eastern Conference. But, while the revamped team might help New England in the long run, the Revolution still appeared to be jelling Saturday night.
And it cost them.
After a 6-0-1 preseason, the Revolution could not take their winning streak into the first game of the regular season as San Jose Earthquakes eked out a 1-0 victory in front of a sold-out crowd of 10,525 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
“I’m a little disappointed in the way we played,’’ new Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. “We’re still getting accustomed to movements and the way we play. But just the overall technique tonight wasn’t there.’’
The Revolution only managed one on-target shot in the first half - a bid from midfielder Benny Feilhaber at the top of the box that sailed directly into the chest of Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch. New England also struggled to maintain possession during the half and, though the Earthquakes managed only one on-target shot in the half as well, they made it count.
In the 15th minute, Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph passed the ball through the center of the field to the feet of San Jose’s Shea Salinas, who dribbled into the box from 30 yards out and tapped the ball off to Chris Wondolowski. The midfielder sent the ball past a helpless Matt Reis into the corner to give San Jose the lead.
“We were a tad bit off on our passing and that kind of ruined things for us,’’ Reis said. “The times that they were dangerous was when we gave away the ball and we just have to be a little bit better with the ball.’’
The Revolution could not recover.
Though New England entered the second half with a wave of new energy, they could not capitalize on their opportunities.
“We gave up a goal and never really got back after that,’’ Heaps said. “The game never got settled for us . . . It’s about how do we settle down to have our best chances?’’
In a particularly physical second half, where the teams combined for 20 fouls, New England managed a flurry of chances in the last 10 minutes.
First, Blake Brettschneider had a wide-open chance 15 yards out that he whiffed. Then Kelyn Rowe, making his MLS debut, sent a corner kick over the net.
Feilhaber had the final shot for the Revolution in stoppage time, when he found an opening 20 yards out, volleyed the ball off his foot, and drilled a shot just wide. Echoing the sentiments of many of his teammates, Feilhaber threw his head into his hands in obvious frustration.
“In the second half we were able to make some subs here and there and that helped out a little bit,’’ Heaps said. “But in the end, the quality just wasn’t there from us.’’
After finishing with a franchise-worse 5-16-13 record last season, the Revolution added 11 players in the offseason - five of whom were in the starting lineup Saturday.
Though Heaps was disappointed with his squad’s performance, he recognized that this team is still learning to play together.
“It’s a good learning experience,’’ Heaps said. “We have to figure out how to adapt in games like that.’’
Whitecaps 2, Impact 0 - Sebastien Le Toux and Camilo scored as Vancouver spoiled visiting Montreal’s league debut.
Le Toux scored early in the first half, and Camilo connected nine minutes into the second in front of a sold-out crowd of 21,000 at B.C. Place Stadium.
“If you wrote it up any way you wanted, you would definitely want an early goal, not only in one half, but in two halves,’’ Vancouver Martin Rennie said. “[Le Toux’s goal] definitely settles the nerves, because Montreal started the first few minutes well, and then we caught them on the other end. So it was a welcome goal - and definitely a big part of the win.’’
The Whitecaps, opening their second season in the league after finishing last overall last year, got the strong start they were looking for under their new coach.
Le Toux, who had 25 goals and 20 assists in the past two seasons with Philadelphia, opened the scoring in the fourth minute.
Fellow Frenchman Hassli headed the ball forward, then took it off former Italian national team defender Matteo Ferrari, and rolled a low shot past goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
“The disappointing part is that it happened so quickly into the game,’’ Montreal coach Jesse Marsch said. “We don’t even give ourselves a chance for the game to settle in, and we’re already down 1-0.’’
Real Salt Lake 3, Galaxy 1 - Javier Morales scored the go-ahead goal in the 80th minute, Fabian Espindola added another late score, and Real Salt Lake spoiled the defending MLS champions’ season opener in Carson, Calif.
David Beckham’s dazzling pass set up Edson Buddle’s goal on a header for the Galaxy in the 71st minute, but Sean Franklin’s own-goal moments later evened it for Salt Lake, which lost to Los Angeles last season in the Western Conference final.
Morales then capitalized on a miscommunication in Los Angeles’s defense to score the winner, banging a short shot past Josh Saunders in the box.
Espindola got another in the 85th minute on the run, celebrating in front of Real’s small band of traveling supporters. The Galaxy had several late chances, but Salt Lake handed the Galaxy their first home loss in 26 matches since Nov. 14, 2010, thoroughly ruining a celebratory night for Beckham and Los Angeles’ star-studded roster.
Beckham’s cross was the most impressive moment of the English superstar’s return to the Galaxy, who re-signed him to a two-year contract. He was greeted with a pregame standing ovation at Home Depot Center from a crowd holding signs reading “Welcome back Beckham!’’ and “L.A. Loves You, David!’’
Moor’s goal was set up when glare from the sun caused Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum to mishandle Rapids defender Kosuke Kimura’s lob. The ball went through Gruenebaum’s hands and off the end line.
Kimura took the ensuing corner kick and sent in a long entry kick. The ball deflected to the left side of the goal to Moor for a header.
Sporting KC 1, D.C. United 0 - Substitute C.J. Sapong scored on a header in stoppage time in Sporting Kansas City’s victory over host D.C. United.
Bill Hamid made seven saves to keep United in it, but had little chance to stop Sapong’s header off Graham Zusi’s corner kick that gave Sporting its third straight 1-0 victory over D.C.
Rapids 2, Crew 0 - Drew Moor scored in the 44th minute as host Colorado beat Columbus, giving first-year coach Oscar Pareja a victory in the season opener.
Quincy Amarikwa added a goal in the 89th minute.