FOXBOROUGH — The goals have been few and far between for the Revolution — only six in their first 10 games this season. Just as rare has been their ability to protect a 1-0 lead in the last two games: a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake and a 1-1 draw vs. the New York Red Bulls.
“Whenever you score first, you want to maintain that advantage,’’ said coach Jay Heaps, whose team (2-4-4, 10 points) will try to address that issue against the Dynamo (6-3-2, 20 points) Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
But, as the coach pointed out, the Salt Lake and New York games “were two different scenarios.”
“In the Salt Lake game, it was a kind of a collective . . . a collective shutdown,’’ said Heaps, noting how the Revolution were unable to make midfielder Ryan Guy’s goal in the 51st minute stand, as Salt Lake tallied the tying goal in the 74th minute and the go-ahead score in the 89th, both on juicy rebounds against goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
“We kind of gave that game away a little bit in the sense they scored two rebound goals and we gave them the opportunity to get back into the game.
“New York, for me, that was more of a lack of concentration.’’
Diego Fagundez, the 18-year-old wunderkind who ranks as the team’s leading goal scorer with two, gave New England a 1-nil lead over New York when he tallied in the 54th minute. The lead was short-lived, though, as the Red Bulls come back to score the equalizer in the 55th minute.
“We just let up for a couple of seconds and that’s when they punished us,’’ Fagundez said. “Maybe if we were organized before they kicked off, we might’ve been able to stop them right there.’’
Said Heaps, “You score the [first] goal, and there’s got to be a turn-on right after that. And, 30 seconds later, they scored. I wouldn’t even call that a lead. I’d call it a break in concentration, something we can learn from.’’
Only once this season have the Revolution scored more than one goal, with Fagundez and Lee Nguyen connecting in a 2-0 home victory over the Philadelphia Union April 27.
That elusive second goal likely would have put the Revolution over the top against New York and at least forced a draw with Real Salt Lake.
“We were talking about it today,’’ said Guy after Thursday’s practice at Gillette Stadium. “A lot of the goals were coming from our midfield, and now it’s time for our strikers to step up and score some goals. It’s all positive pressure coming from us.
“As a team, we all want to be successful, so it’s just a matter of, yeah, finding that second one, wherever it has to come from. We’re definitely looking at set pieces to try and grab some goals there, but also go to a place where we’re not expected to get much out of it.’’
Now the Revolution (1-2-2 on the road) head to Houston to face the second-ranked team in the Eastern Conference, one that had its MLS-record 36-game home unbeaten streak snapped last Saturday in a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City.
“We’re hoping that it comes down to the same thing with Houston,’’ said Guy. “We definitely have high hopes for it, but at the end of the day, it’s all about getting those 3 points. So whether that means scoring early and holding on or coming back with a late-minute, last-gasp goal, we’re going to try to do whatever it takes to get those points.
“It’s going to be really important for us to come together and start getting some real points, because we need to move up in the conference and stay with the top four and kind of clinch that fifth spot early on so that towards the end of the season, when points are really hard to come by, we’ll have a better chance.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.