FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution head coach Brad Friedel offered a strong rebuke of his team’s most recent form in the wake of Saturday night’s 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium.
Philadelphia went 2-0 up on the Revolution inside the first 25 minutes of the game. New England tied the match temporarily with a pair of second-half goals, but eventually lost on a 75th-minute penalty kick by the Union’s Fafa Picault.
The loss extended New England’s winless run to six games and sank the club to seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings, one point behind both Philadelphia and the Montreal Impact, which are tied in points for the fifth and sixth playoff spots, respectively.
“Not myself or anyone on the staff have been on losing teams,” said Friedel, who assembled his assistants between getting hired as coach last November and the start of 2018. “We will find a way to win. That’s how we are. If it’s personnel changes, it’ll be personnel changes; if it’s tactical changes, it’ll be tactical changes, but we will find that formula. We didn’t get to where we are as coaches, either in our playing careers or coaching careers, by accepting losing.”
Friedel, while decrying the Revolution’s untimely lapses, particularly on defending set pieces, stood by the team’s overall work ethic and talent.
“We’re not far off from being a very, very good team,” Friedel said. “We have to keep working. Attention to detail, that’s where we’re at.”
As in previous postgame news conferences, Friedel declined to single out individual players, though he agreed some defensive errors against Philadelphia – namely Antonio Delamea’s handball, which led to the game-winning goal from the penalty spot – were highly avoidable.
Aug 11, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Revolution forward Juan Agudelo (17) knocks over Philadelphia Union defender Ray Gaddis (28) going for the ball during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Friedel alluded to the team’s mentality and continuing to work on defending properly. However, he also acknowledged the past – something Friedel rarely, if ever, does – as he attempted to rationalize how he and his coaching staff plan to help the players overcome their lackluster defensive form.
“One of the things we needed to do as an entire staff is create a different culture at the club,” Friedel said. “We’ve done that from the moment we came in. When people come and watch us, they see an exciting team that is on the front foot and can create a lot of chances. Do we have to get better at conceding goals? Yes.”
“At one stage we were starting to move in the right direction,” added Friedel, before lamenting the team’s 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy July 14. “Three really poor goals, out of nowhere…But this group, I think a lot of guys who have been here have been used to that over the years. Well, that’s no longer something we accept. So you have to stop it. That’s why I was harping on why it’s so important to never lose two in a row. Losing becomes a habit.”