Sometimes it’s not the fact that you lose. It’s how you lose.
That was a refrain we used last week when talking about the Sounders’ collapse in Los Angeles. Allowing four goals in the first half wasn’t necessarily a sign of implosion from a squad that was finishing off a strong May. It was just the way it happened, an inexplicably flat start against a strong opponent, one that couldn’t help but evoke memories of last year’s conference final an the previous postseason’s game at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Today’s late match collapse by the LA Galaxy doesn’t carry such weighty implications, but the undertone of the 5-0 loss may be still telling. The LA defense was without Omar Gonzalez and Todd Dunivant, so extrapolating conclusions onto their first team is a bit of a reach, but as it concerns Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza and youngsters Tommy Meyer and Greg Cochrane, is has to be disappointing for Bruce Arena see a unit just turn off.
After 70 minutes, the score was 1-0. At full time, it as 5-0, with three of the Revolutions’ goals coming after the 86th minute.
It should go without saying that you never want to see your team collapse like that, but with the game all but decided by the time New England went on their three-goal barrage, there’ll be the temptation to brush this off. With LA missing its two best defenders, there may be an implicit asterisk thrown up next to the score. Those conclusions would overlook something a coach never wants to see. Nobody ever wants to see their team stop playing.
Whether Bruce Arena feels that’s what happened remains to be seen. Regardless, giving up five to the Revolution — a team that came into today’s gave with 10 goals in 12 games — should sound an alarm on some level.
Lest we overlook New England’s result, take a look at that first goal, in the highlights above. Yes, the Galaxy defense are playing off Saer Sene like he’s wearing radio active slide shorts, but the nice movement from right flank to the middle of the area hints Sene, making his first start of the season, is ready to start having the same impact he had in 2012.
That gives Jay Heaps one of the league’s top 10 forwards. And he also has Juan Agedulo. And Lee Nguyen. And Kelyn Rowe, Diego Fagundez, Jerry Bengston and Juan Toja.
And as of right now, New England are even with Philadelphia for fifth place in the East. Maybe the Revolution has begun.