FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – In registering a season-high 12 shots and creating a host of quality scoring chances last Friday night at Red Bull Arena, the New England Revolution put forth the type of performance it’d been searching for in recent weeks.
The next step is turning those types of performances into results.
Despite snapping a 601-minute streak without a goal from the run of play when Zak Boggs converted Chris Tierney’s left-wing cross in the 54th minute, the Revs suffered a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls and slipped to eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. It was the Revolution’s fourth straight loss by a one-goal margin following narrow defeats to the San Jose Earthquakes (2-1), LA Galaxy (1-0) and FC Dallas (1-0).
While an improved performance didn’t result in the requisite points against New York, captain Shalrie Joseph is confident that similar showings – with a few minor tweaks – will eventually bring the desired victories.
“We kept possession, we got the ball wide and we created lots of chances,” Joseph said when asked what the Revs did well against the Red Bulls. “Defensively, we gave them too much space and too much time, so we’re going to have to work on that in the coming days. Right now it feels encouraging that we actually scored a goal and we can take some positives away from that.”
The Revs will have two chances to build upon last Friday night’s performance this week when they host Eastern Conference foes Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire in a four-day span. TFC and Chicago each enter this week’s action one point ahead of the Revs in the standings.
Following the conclusion of their brief two-game home-stand, five of the Revolution’s next six league matches will be played away from Gillette Stadium, so the importance of this stretch is not lost on head coach Steve Nicol.[inline_node:188345]
“These next two games, obviously we want two wins,” said Nicol. “The only way we do that is by taking the second half (of the New York game) into Wednesday’s game (against Toronto) and that isn’t going to happen unless we approach it the right way.
“We’re going to have to work hard and be committed again,” he continued. “We’re certainly not going to step on the field and it’s just going to happen on its own. We have to be ready and we need to make sure that between now and then, we get ready.”
While circumstances would make it easy for the Revs to view this week’s pair of games as a whole, they’re being careful to take it one game at a time and focus on the task at hand.
“We need to get results, we’re trying to get six points here,” said rookie defender A.J. Soares. “We’re just looking at the next game ahead though, Toronto. After that we can worry about the next one. But we’re aware of how important it is to pick up points in these next two games.”
Soares and his teammates will be wary of a TFC side which used a dramatic goal deep into second-half stoppage time to claim a 2-2 draw with the league-leading LA Galaxy this past weekend at The Home Depot Center. Although winless since early May, Toronto has now picked up draws in four of its past five league games.
In order to prevent TFC from carrying any momentum from its emotional result in Los Angeles back to the East Coast on Wednesday night, the Revs must be ready to attack from the opening whistle.
“Just make sure we get after them straight away,” said Nicol. “If we do that, any momentum or confidence or whatever they’ve taken from [the LA draw], we can try to quickly knock that out of them.”