FOXBOROUGH — Revolution coach Brad Friedel criticized himself for the team’s slow start in a 3-0 loss to the Montreal Impact Wednesday night. But the Revolution seemed to be recovering until Cody Cropper’s goalkeeping error led to an open net finish by Shamit Shome for the deciding goal in the 79th minute.
“In the first half, I’ll take the blame — not my staff, not the players,” Friedel said. “I obviously didn’t motivate the players to be up for the game. I thought in the first half we were second to everything. In the second half, ironically, the 10 minutes before they scored their goal was probably our best spell, if you want to call it that, and we were starting to create a little more up front.”
The Revolution (2-6-1, 7 points) have delivered similar performances this season, but they reached lows against the Impact (4-3-2, 14 points) — they failed to produce a shot on goal and are off to their worst start to a season after nine matches going into a three-game road trip starting at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
“This is something we can only get out of together,” Revolution defender Jalil Anibaba said. “I think if everyone stays together and we continue to fight and we’re honest with ourselves about the mistakes we’re making, that’s the only way this is going to get better, in my opinion.”
The Impact maintained their poise despite missing several starters and having had a Tuesday flight canceled, causing them to arrive several hours before kickoff.
Shome scored his first goal of the season after Cropper bobbled a Daniel Lovitz free kick, following a Luis Caicedo handling violation in the 79th minute. Substitute Anthony Jackson-Hamel then one-timed a point-blank shot off a Lovitz cross in the 85th minute and slid a shot through Michael Mancienne from the edge of the goal area in the third minute of added time.
“I walked off the field, I apologized to the players,” Cropper said. “I took the blame and now we need to move on. The first half I thought we were good defensively. I had to come up with some saves, but overall we were good defensively, and, unfortunately, I switch off for half a second, make that mistake, it cost a goal. But we have to be able to bounce back, we have to be stronger and that starts from me.”
Montreal, missing its top offensive threats, Harry Novillo, Ignacio Piatti (knee) and Saphir Taider, produced most of the first-half offense. Cropper made a 10th-minute double save on Zachary Brault-Guillard and Micheal Azira after Maxi Urruti led a breakout off a turnover. Montreal found space on the left again, Orji Okwonkwo hitting the bar (19th) and firing off the side of the net (25th) before Cropper saved an Urruti free kick(42d).
The Revolution regained composure in the second half, playing through Carles Gil, threatening via a Mancienne header (53rd) and a Juan Agudelo flicked-on header off a Diego Fagundez corner (65th). But Revolution substitutes Juan Fernando Caicedo and Cristian Penilla, who sparked a second-half rally in a 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, failed to click.
“It was difficult for us to find a rhythm in the first half,” Anibaba said. “We were playing with fire, we got lucky, they hit the post a couple times, Cody came up big for us a oouple times, to keep us in the game. I thought the start of the second half we were on top of the game, and we let one in and the floodgates kind of opened, something that can’t happen. Starting tomorrow we have to be better and we have to pick this up together.”
The Revolution have been outscored, 15-6, this season and have totaled three goals in going 2-4-0 at home.
“I’ve been trying to figure that out, just going crazy thinking about it,” Agudelo said of the Revolution’s scoring slump. “Maybe just be more direct, maybe hit some long balls, try to pick up second balls on top of their 18. Because whatever we’re doing, we’ve got to get some shots off at home. That just puts more pressure on our defense and it’s not their fault.”