The Revolution hoped a long layoff would allow them to recover from injury and gear up for a stretch run. Instead, the Revolution visited CF Montreal with a patchwork lineup, falling 1-0 Saturday night in their first match in nearly three weeks.
Both teams struggled offensively, and it took until the 86th minute for defender George Campbell to finish a Lassi Lappalainen cross at Stade Saputo.
The Revolution (12-5-7, 43 points), playing without Gustavo Bou, Andrew Farrell, and DeJuan Jones (all injured), plus goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic (transferred to Chelsea FC), had a six-game unbeaten streak snapped.
Montreal (11-12-2, 35 points) scored after the Revolution surrendered a corner kick, resulting from a missed connection between keeper Earl Edwards Jr. and right back Matt Polster on a goal kick. After defending the corner, the Revolution failed to stay compact, leaving Lappalainen open for a low cross from the right, with Campbell one-timing into the left side of the net.
Lappalainen helped change the dynamic as a second half substitute, threatening on the left wing. Polster, replacing Jones at right back, mostly stayed with Lappalainen, but lost possession despite not being under pressure before the goal.
The Revolution created their best chances in the first half. Carles Gil set up Damian Rivera for a shot that went wide in the fifth minute. In the 30th minute, Gil had a close-in right-footer blocked, then sent a 45-yarder off the top of the crossbar.
Edwards, backup to Matt Turner and Petrovic the last two seasons, performed well in his fifth start of the season. But Edwards could return to the bench as the Revolution signed veteran Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, who played for Huddersfield Town last season.
Observations from Saturday’s game:
▪ Defining moment: Polster appeared to look up in losing of possession of Edwards slow-rolling goal kick, and that turned out to lead to the sequence producing the goal.
▪ Difference-maker: Lappalainen, a Finnish winger, showed why Bologna FC acquired him as a 20-year-old five years ago. Montreal owner Joey Saputo is president of Bologna, and brought Lappalainen to Canada, but Lappalainen’s time has been marked by injuries, limiting him to 99 games in five seasons.
▪ Tactical: The Revolution’s 4-2-3-1 alignment provided security, as Omar Gonzalez paired with Dave Romney at center back, and Polster went to right back. But the single-striker setup produced few scoring opportunities, the Revolution seldom pressuring Montreal’s three center backs, and also failing to advance on the wings. The Revolution are set up for the outside backs to go forward, but without Brandon Bye (season-ending knee surgery) and Jones, might have to change their style.
▪ Statistical analysis: The Revolution attempted three shots, none in the second half. But they squandered three clear chances to threaten early the second half as Noel Buck lost possession unmarked, and Gil had two passes cut out by defenders. Montreal attempted five of its eight shots from the 74th minute on.
▪ By the numbers: The Revolution extended their road winless streak to eight games (0-4-4) since May 6. The Revolution entered the match with a 3-0-3 mark in their last six games, dating to July 8.
▪ Road ahead: The Revolution, tied for second place in the Eastern Conference, have home matches against the New York Red Bulls Wednesday and Austin FC Saturday.
▪ What they said: “I’m not going to blame time off on the sharpness. For me it was more in the final third. We just didn’t get it done. Bottom line, whether you have a break, you don’t have a break, end of the day, we didn’t get it done. Again, disappointing, and we’ll look forward to the next game.” — Revolution assistant coach Richie Williams, replacing sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena (administrative leave).
Revolution-CF Montreal box
CF MONTREAL 1, REVOLUTION 0
CF MONTREAL: Jonathan Sirois; George Campbell, Joel Waterman, Gabriele Corbo; Zachary Brault-Guillard, Bryce Duke (Sunusi Ibrahim 67th)), Samuel Piette, Nathan-Dylan Saliba, Mathieu Choiniere; Mahala Opoku (Chiniso Offor 88th), Jules-Anthony Vilsaint (Lassi Lappalainen 67th).
REVOLUTION: Earl Edwards Jr.; Matt Polster, Omar Gonzalez, Dave Romney, Ryan Spaulding; Mark-Anthony Kaye, Ian Harkes (Nacho Gil 86th); Noel Buck (Tomas Chancalay 62d), Carles Gil, Damian Rivera (Emmanuel Boateng 61st); Giacomo Vrioni (Bobby Wood 72d).
Referee: Ted Unkel. Goal: Campbell 86th. Attendance: 19,619.