Heaps wants accountability
The mistakes he watched his team make in its 2-1 loss to Montreal Wednesday irked Revolution coach Jay Heaps to the point where he made it clear that everyone, from captains to rookies, had to be more accountable.
The passing, he said, was sloppy. The team abandoned any commitment to defense, and it led to a breakdown that set up the penalty shot that resulted in the winning goal.
“I think you get to a point where we’re making mistakes — making some of the same mistakes — unfortunately, those have cost us. In every game that we’ve made a mistake, we’ve been punished, and we seem to be giving away mistakes but not taking advantage of many or not being given any. So, you say accountability — that’s a term that every professional team throws out there. What I mean is that the guys have to — we as a staff — have to hold guys accountable and players have to hold each other accountable.
“I think, as a staff, we hold the players to a pretty hard line, and then certainly, I think at a time, to each other. Whether it’s a captain, or whether it’s just a younger player, even saying something to an older player, ‘This isn’t good enough at times, and can we correct it, can it be better on the field?’ Because there’s only so much adjusting.
“As a coach, you put players in a position to win, and then as the game goes on, it’s played in front of you and we try to change little things here and there. There’s certainly a lot that we don’t see, and we see later on film. During a game, I want to see more communication and more leadership from each other. Not from just one or two guys, but from the entire group.”
The Revolution, who finish a short road trip Saturday at Kansas City, are tied for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 22 points. Watching his team drop two games in four days, Heaps’s message resonated in the locker room.
“I think Jay wants us to play better and take more responsibility,” said midfielder Benny Feilhaber. “I could have had a better game. I can complete more passes. I think there were too many balls where I turned [it] over where it wasn’t indecisive passes.
“There were plenty of chances that I had where I got the ball in midfield where I need to spread out the offense, and that was a little bit of my job last game and a little bit more withdrawn position from what I’m used to playing. I just have to make sure I get that ball off the back and complete solid passes to kind of get the attack going. I think that’s one of the things I need to do better and I know I can.”
The Revolution’s road record fell to 1-7-1, a crippling mark for a team looking to contend.
“Unfortunately, we go in with a mentality of getting as many points as we can,” Heaps said. “I think sometimes the teams that do really well on the road, they have a combination of things go their way and we have to make things go our way, whether it’s how we defend as a group or whether we limit our mistakes, when those are what’s costing us right now. I watch every play of every road game and we seem to be making a few extra mistakes on the road. We certainly made them at home, but when we make them on the road, they cost us a lot.”
Back issues kept Shalrie Joseph out of the lineup against Montreal. Stephen McCarthy, who didn’t travel with the team Wednesday because of concussion symptoms from a collision four days earlier against Toronto, was en route to Kansas City Friday.
Darrius Barnes made his first start of the season last week but the status of the back line is still undetermined.
“It’s always tough not having those guys in the lineup,” Feilhaber said.
For a team that always seem to have parts moving, there’s a lot of adjustments to be made during a period of three games in eight days.
“Like anything, when you have three games in a week, you don’t have the proper week to prepare. So defensively, that’s a focus point for us,” Heaps said.
“When I talk about accountability, it means on both sides of the ball. Guys that normally just want to possess the game, we have to defend as a unit and defend as a group. And that’s something, I think in the last two games, we have gotten away from and we need to get back to that.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.