New England Eats Its 3rd Consecutive Big One

I don’t actually have a lot to write about this.  If you saw it, you saw it.  If you didn’t, there’s not much I can write that will capture the loss better than the entire left-hand side of New England’s team sitting cross-legged in tears on the field after the final whistle.

So, I’ll start here by being Big.  Congratulations to the Houston Dynamo.  They’re a damned good team and a tough one to hate.  I can’t say they didn’t earn it, not even given the insanely lucky late save Pat Onstad pulled out from his upper intestine on Jeff Larentowicz’s point-blank header; Onstad’s positioning was spot-on, so there’s that usual bit about making your luck.

Congratulations also El Guero from Who Ate All the Cupcakes.  Well played on the pick.  I believe this leaves the Center Holds It/Who Ate All the Cupcakes Playoff Pick Duel with a tie at the top.  So…now what guys?  I don’t think we covered this scenario.

What to say about the Revolution at this point?  Three in a row, three heart-breaking losses running.  Doesn’t that top the Buffalo Bills level of self-inflicted pain?  (This is rhetorical, by the way.  I don’t really care about the answer.)  To make matters worse, they just got beat this time; no fluky goal – even Joseph Ngwenya’s equalizer was ugly slop, it was definitely coming based on how the second half started – and I have nothing bad to say about the ref, who I thought called a good game.  No, Houston just kept working and plugging away, they got their chances and made the most of them.  Dwayne DeRosario’s winner, which came off a marvelous cross by Brad Davis, who was given far too much space.

That raises the biggest question about this game: what happened to the New England team that looked unstoppable and unflappable in the first half?  That team did everything right – playing short, quick passes, stretching the Dynamo defense all over Hell to the point where you wondered if it wasn’t FC Dallas or the Kansas City Wizards out there.  For 45 minutes, New England left reeling the best-ever defensive team in Major League Soccer history.  And then what I thought would happen did happen (sincerely, I almost did an “at the half” post): Houston came out and, to all appearances, New England laid off.  That led to a series of scrambles in New England’s area, which ultimately resulted in Houston’s equalizer.  DeRosario’s wunder-winner followed and the rest is history.

So, did New England enter the second half laying off, saving energy for a late push?  I couldn’t tell, to be honest.  All I know is Houston unquestionably looked the better team in the second half.  New England – and not just Taylor Twellman – were left to rue the several missed chances, soft shots, and…and…whatever the hell it was the put on the field for the second half of what really could have been a Double-winning year.