FOXBOROUGH — One of the things that have been a point of contention with Revolution fans over the years has been the state of the club’s defending corps. From being rather leaky in the back to the point that certain people didn’t reload after the departure of certain players — hello, that’s A.J. Soares on line one — the backline has seen its share of vitriol headed its way.
And through the first two-plus months of the 2019 season, it was fair to slag the defending. After all, New England had given up 30 goals in the first 12 matches.
But that's only fair to a point. Michael Mancienne, as we found out last week, was playing hurt since preseason, pretty much by necessity. Antonio Delamea, too, had a few knocks. Because of all the injuries, it was pretty hard to pinpoint who would be playing where, in the back line: Brad Friedel had to use five different center back pairings, including moving Andrew Farrell from right back — the position he had played since the Revs drafted him — into that central role.
Not only that, through the first 12, the Revolution defending gave up 11 late goals — almost one per match — in the final 15-plus minutes of games. It got to the point where Revs fans had to cover their eyes in the final quarter-hour.
Yet since Friedel was fired on Thursday, May 9, the New England defensive unit has been a critical force in its turnaround.