New England was the hottest team in Major League Soccer before today’s game in Montréal, a status few saw changing with a visit to Stade Saputo. Though the Revolution were on the road, a home side coming off a 4-1 loss against goal-shy Colorado looked unlikely to be more than a speed bump. With a league-low seven points through 11 games, Montréal appeared to be a known commodity.
After 90 minutes in Quebec, however, those appearances proved deceiving. With first half goals from goals from Andrés Romero and Jack McInerney, Montréal ended New England’s seven-match unbeaten run, jumping back into the win column with a shock 2-0 win.
How shocking was the result? Consider the teams’ recent form. In its previous five games, Montréal had been outscored 12-3. Over that same span, New England had outscored its opposition 16-5. On goal difference, the Revolution had a 20-score during that time, but on Saturday, Montréal somehow managed to produce a plus-two. For only the second time this season, Frank Klopas’s team left the field with full points.
Romero opened the scoring in the third minute when his run from the flank allowed Marco Di Vaio to find him sprinting through the right channel. Sliding his shot until an oncoming Bobby Shuttleworth, the Argentine winger gave the underdogs a surprise lead.
Seven minutes before halftime, a speculative shot from newly acquired Issey Nakajima-Farran was spilled in front of goal by Shuttleworth. McInerney, lurking between the central defenders, was gifted an easy finish, closing the day’s scoring in the 38th minute. With the Revolution seemingly sleep-walking through the first half, the Impact had all they needed to send New England back into the loss column.
With only three shots on target, this was New England’s worst performance since its season-opening 4-0 loss at Houston. Not only did its high-powered attack fail to get on the scoresheet, but the Revolution defense conceded twice to a team that only had two multi-goal games this season. This wasn’t the an underdog collecting a couple of lucky goals. Playing its best game of the season, the Impact fully deserved this result.
If Revolution are truly going to contender for silverware, they’ll have to adapt to teams rising to their challenge. On Saturday, New England was too willing to occupy the other side of that cliché’s spectrum. Jay Heaps’ team looked over-confident. It played down to its competition.