HOUSTON — Coming off their first playoff appearance in four seasons, the Revolution have high hopes for 2014.
Rather than rising up in Saturday’s season opener, however, the Revolution fell flat on their face.
The Dynamo scored three early goals en route to a 4-0 victory at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Revolution’s misery began 64 seconds into the match, when Houston’s Will Bruin scored the first of his two goals by taking advantage of an uncharacteristic bad play by reigning MLS Defender of the Year Jose Goncalves.
It took 30 minutes for the Revolution to find any footing. By then, the game was out of reach. Coach Jay Heaps said among the things missing was fight.
“Some days you’re going to get your nose rubbed in it,” Heaps said. “We certainly got our nose rubbed in it today. It didn’t smell very good.”
It did not take long for the Dynamo to make it stink. With as dominant as they were early, they likely would have scored anyway, but a better play by Goncalves could have delayed the onslaught.
Dynamo defender Kofi Sarkodie crossed it to Bruin at the center of the penalty area. Goncalves lunged wildly at the pass and missed it. That left Bruin alone for a right-footed finish.
Bruin did not wait long to get his brace. It was partly the result of a lazy play by Revolution midfielders Scott Caldwell and Patrick Mullins in the 12th minute.
While trying to clear the ball, Caldwell’s rolling pass to Mullins lacked pace. Rather than stepping toward it, Mullins waited for it. That allowed Dynamo defender Corey Ashe to intercept it.
Ashe’s momentum carried him to the top left of the penalty area. He hit an outswinging pass to the back post. Bruin was all alone for a sliding finish from the 6-yard line.
In the 23d minute, the Dynamo scored again when Bruin sneaked a pass to Boniek Garcia while being closely defended by Goncalves and Caldwell.
New England midfielder A.J. Soares said the lopsided beginning was a tale of two teams.
“One team started great, and one team started poorly,” Soares said. “They punished us and we couldn’t recover. They controlled the game the whole night. We had flashes of stuff we can build on, some good play, some good defending. Overall it was not a good team effort. We were not on the same page.”
Once the Revolution settled down, they began to mount an attack. Soares had the best opportunity in the 40th minute when he hit a clean header off a corner kick into the near post.
Diego Fagundez missed in a crowd shortly before that. In the 44th minute, Teal Bunbury had a well-placed shot saved by goalkeeper Tally Hall.
Fagundez and Jerry Bengtson missed great chances in the second half. Neither of them were on target as the Revolution forced Hall to make only one save all night.
“We know what kind of team we are,” Heaps said. “When we play well we can create chances. We created chances, but when you give a team a three-spot, the game is completely different than if it was 0-0.”
The fourth goal came in second-half stoppage time. Garcia used a back-heel pass to Ricardo Clark, whose shot deflected off Omar Cummings’s head into the net.
Saturday’s result was unlike most of those New England had found in Houston. No MLS visiting team had a better track record on Houston’s home turf than the Revolution. They had won five and tied one of their previous eight trips.
“We thought we’d do well and win the game,” Soares said. “I’m sure they were confident, too. It’s two good teams playing. On a lot of games it’s going to be a close game, but today it wasn’t. It hurts. It stings.”