New England Revolution Fall to Rival New York Red Bulls; Coach Jay Heaps Out?


The New England Revolution fell 4-1 to Eastern Conference rival New York Red Bulls on Saturday night in Harrison, NJ, extending their losing streak to five MLS games. The Revs have won only one game in their last 13 matches, including a U.S. Open Cup loss to third division side Charlotte Independence in June to make things even uglier.

A few hours after losing my temper and shouting “Heaps Out” whenever seeing the coach’s face on my television screen, I calmed down and collected my thoughts on this important question: does Jay Heaps need to be shown the door?

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I understand the Revs have not put up the money to go out and sign one or two more star players to make a legitimate Supporters’ Shield run, but despite this total lack of star power New England still has one of the most talented non-DP sides in the league.

With the likes of Lee Nguyen, Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo, Charlie Davies, Scott Caldwell, and Kelyn Rowe (yes, I am a fan of his) in the lineup, Heaps should be able to put together a decently competitive performance without Jermaine Jones on the pitch. Instead, we are left waiting for Jones’ arrival in hopes that he will be the missing link in Heaps’ formation.

That’s the first part of the problem: Heaps hasn’t changed the formation to account for JJ’s absence.

The coach’s legendary 4-5-1 formation saw success with Jones leading the attacks from the back-mid and organizing defensive efforts ahead of the back line. A role of that nature is well suited for a commanding player like Jones, but not so much for less-imposing players such as Caldwell, Andy Dorman, and Daigo Kobayashi who, simply put, don’t have the same impact on the game as Jones does in that position.

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Also notable is the lack of attacking prowess that this formation inspires. It appears as if Jay’s game plan is to let the fullbacks charge up the field in hopes of sneaking a ball into Charlie Davies from the wing. Nyugen can’t make any magic in a clogged midfield and Agudelo has been almost non-existent in a few of these slump matches. A formation change would clear up many of these problems, but it is Heaps’ job to decide which exact alternate formation would work best.

The loss of form of so many previously in-form players, such as Nguyen, Davies, Caldwell, Rowe, Jose Goncalves, Andrew Farrell, Chris Tierney, and even Diego Fagundez over these past few months also further beckons the question of Heaps’ exit.

There seems to be no bright spot on the team. Those who were playing spectacularly last year in the fall and earlier this spring have all gone cold on the field. Fingers need only be pointed at the team’s management and the coaching staff’s inability to demand the best from each individual player.

A quality coach is consistently able to get the best out of his players. These annual dry spells are telling of the Heaps’ lack of a grasp on the team’s mentality and purpose going into mid-season fixtures. The drive and ambition to get after opponents has simply vanished, much like the Revs pre-JJ era.

For those advocating to wait for Jones’ return before jumping to a conclusion about Heaps’ future, how does it make Heaps look any better knowing the only way he can win games is with Jones on the field?

The Jones signing was a band aid on a wound that served its purpose at the time. But that band aid has been ripped off, leaving the wound exposed.  A good coach is able to adapt to his environment and win regardless of circumstance. Jay has clearly shown his inability to handle that duty on a consistent basis.

Next: New England Revolution Woes & the Meaning of the Summer Slump