Seattle trip kicks off lengthy road swing
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Players and staff members for the New England Revolution will be putting some wear and tear on their luggage in the coming weeks.
The Revs will play five of their next six league games away from home, with road trips to all four continental time zones scheduled between now and the end of July. It all begins this weekend when the Revolution heads to the Pacific Northwest for a Sunday afternoon meeting with Seattle Sounders FC.
Currently mired in a six-game winless run (0-4-2) which has produced a string of quality performances but not the requisite results, the Revs are well aware they’ll need equal doses of both mental and physical toughness to alter their recent fortunes in the midst of a grueling schedule.
“I think that’s exactly what we need to kind of break through this slump is a little streak on the road where we can get that confidence, fight through and be mentally tough going into these games,” said Darrius Barnes. “It’s just something we have to go in thinking about and just try to fight through that wall. Because I know once we get that first [win], we’ll have confidence on the road and play on the road like we have at home.”
After securing a pair of 1-1 draws in their first two road games of the season against the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Revs have suffered five straight losses away from home. Entering this weekend’s action, the Revs are one of five remaining teams which have yet to claim three points on the road in 2011.
But barring a 3-0 loss to Chivas USA on April 30 at The Home Depot Center, head coach Steve Nicol’s side has been nothing short of competitive in its travels. Four of the Revolution’s five road losses have been in games decided by a single goal, including consecutive one-goal defeats to the San Jose Earthquakes, FC Dallas and New York Red Bulls in the club’s last three road trips.
“Every game we’ve played, we’ve been competitive,” said Nicol. “The games we have lost, we’ve lost by a goal. I guess you need to ask the opposition how much they’re looking forward to us coming to play them. I guess that’s the only way I can describe it, really.
“We don’t go anywhere and lie down,” he continued. “We haven’t made a huge amount of chances on the road, but we have made some and haven’t taken them, which would’ve given us more points. So it’s kind of a similar story. Keep trying to create (chances) away from home and take them.”
Recent weeks have seen the Revs left frustrated by their inability to find the finishing touch in the attacking third – both at home and on the road – despite establishing or matching their season-high shot total in each of the last three games.
As they prepare to spend much of the next month on the road, the Revs must push forward and approach each new challenge one game at a time.
“You just have to break through it,” said Barnes. “It’s one of those things where you just have to keep fighting. You can only say ‘frustrated’ so many times before you get more frustrated. So we just have to keep fighting and breaking through this wall.
“We have no doubts that things will get rolling,” he said. “I feel like some of the games we’ve played, we’ve deserved better results. But I think our luck’s going to turn around.”