FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution players and coaches can hang their hats on a league-best defensive record which has seen the club concede just two goals through four games. But even with Major League Soccer’s stingiest defense, wins have been hard to come by early this season.
More to the point, goals have been hard to come by for the Revs, who’ve been shut out three straight times since claiming a 1-0 win in Chicago to open the year. With just one goal through four games, the Revs are tied with the Fire for the lowest offensive output after the season’s first month.
The attack features the necessary weapons – including Jerry Bengtson, Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe and Juan Toja – but the Revs haven’t yet clicked offensively and legitimate scoring chances have been limited. The club is currently ranked 18th (out of 19 teams) in total shots (32), and last in shots on goal (10).
Adding to the dilemma has been an inability to finish when scoring chances have been presented, leaving the Revs frustrated with their lack of production in the early going.
“We’re all trying so hard to get those three points and the goals,” said Fagundez. “The keepers are just making good saves. We’re trying everything we can; we’re crossing, we’re trying to get into the box. Someone needs to step up and score that goal. I think once we get it, we’ll be all set.”
The impending return of Saer Sene will provide a massive boost as last year’s leading scorer is inching closer to full fitness as he recovers from ACL surgery, while General Manager Michael Burns has indicated that the Revs intend to use their final open international spot on a forward to further bolster the attack.
But head coach Jay Heaps doesn’t want to put undue pressure on the returning Sene, preferring instead to spread the attacking responsibilities amongst the aforementioned group of attackers. For it to work, those players need to enhance their understanding of each other and start working together in the final third.
“I want to have a balanced attack,” said Heaps. “I like it when guys like Diego and Jerry and Juan and Kelyn are in the box when we go forward. But right now our play is a little bit out of sync with what our runs are. That’s where I think we just have to continue to get better every week.”