FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution’s high-pressing tactics failed to pay off in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy Sunday night. The Revolution (8-9-10, 34 points) missed a chance to move into playoff position in the opener of a three-game homestand before a crowd of 21,517 at Gillette Stadium.
The Revolution, who play host to the Chicago Fire Wednesday and New York City FC Sept. 4, surrendered early goals to Daniel Aguirre and Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, then rallied on a Carles Gil finish. The Revolution attacked to the end as referee Lukasz Szpala signaled for eight minutes of added time.
In the opening half, Aguirre (fourth minute) and Hernández (15th) went in alone on Djordje Petrovic, as the Galaxy easily broke through the Revolution’s press. After scoring, Hernández was confronted by a fan, who was removed by security.
In the second half, the Revolution found opportunities as Gustavo Bou returned after missing six games with an injury, joining substitute Noel Buck. But they could not equalize after Gil cut the deficit, curling a shot into the far side of the net (82d), finishing a sequence that started with Buck’s pass to Bou.
In the opening half, the Revolution had chances to cut the deficit as DeJuan Jones hit the left post off a Gil feed (29th), then Emmanuel Boateng’s shot was saved (37th), and Gil fired high (41st) and wide (43d). Hernández nearly broke loose again, but went down in a clash with Henry Kessler, who was cautioned (38th). Hernández was cautioned as he departed in the 70th minute after going down in a clash with Andrew Farrell.
The Revolution, who had a nine-game (4-0-5) home unbeaten streak snapped, remained in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, 2 points out of the playoff zone, with seven games remaining. The Galaxy (11-11-4, 37 points) snapped a five-game road winless streak.
Observations from Sunday’s game:
▪ Defining Moment: Hernández ran onto a Riqui Puig through ball for the second goal, a play that confirmed the Galaxy’s ability to break the Revolution press, providing a 2-0 lead in the 15th minute. The score also seemed to boost Hernández’s confidence, and he nearly broke away again (38th) and continued to threaten until limping off in the second half.
▪ Difference-maker: Though the Revolution defenders knew they had to track Hernández, he proved to be elusive. On the opening goal, Hernández drew defenders, surprising the Revolution by finding Aguirre running through the center circle. The Revolution continued to key on Hernández, who might have gotten the best of Farrell and Kessler in one-on-one situations, but was not rewarded by officiating decisions. Szpala could have red-carded Kessler in the 38th minute (Denying a Goal-Scoring Opportunity) and probably should have cautioned Farrell (68th) as Hernández went down.
▪ Tactical analysis: The Galaxy easily solved the Revolution’s high pressing tactics early, thanks to composed passing and effective runs by Aguirre and Hernández. Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond provided an outlet for defenders and distributed effectively, and Puig controlled possession in midfield. The Galaxy’s 5-3-2 setup mostly stifled the Revolution attack, with Gaston Brugman closely marking Gil. Once the Revolution adjusted, they were chasing the game.
▪ Statistical analysis: Hernández scored his 11th goal of the season, improving his scoring streak to four games. Bou had a three-game scoring streak snapped, his timing affected by an absence of a month and a half, according to coach Bruce Arena.
The Revolution have struggled to find an offensive rhythm without Bou and are averaging 1.44 goals per game. Last season, the Revolution averaged 1.9 goals per game.
▪ Road ahead: A victory would have moved the Revolution into sixth place, overtaking FC Cincinnati, the Columbus Crew, and Inter Miami. Only two of the Revolution’s final five games will be home, so the next two games will be crucial to their playoff hopes.
▪ What they said: “You can’t question their effort, great effort,” Arena said of the Revolution. “They were close to getting a point out of the game but the start of the game, there’s no excuses.
“They [the Galaxy] worked real hard to win balls on those two plays [both goals]. They were a step quicker than us and we had a couple guys, their positioning was poor. And their finishing on the two goals was excellent. I thought we did a great job coming back and we had a chance to score more goals. They capitalized on their chances and we didn’t do well enough on the final play to get another goal at the end.”
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at email@example.com.