FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For the early part of the 2014 season, Gillette Stadium was a fortress.
The New England Revolution set out to make Foxborough one of the most difficult destinations for visiting teams – and succeeded in spectacular fashion. Through their first five home games the Revs racked up a near-perfect record of 4-0-1, outscoring opponents 11-1 in that span. They didn’t even concede a goal until their fifth home game, shutting out the opposition for the first 423 minutes of the season.
But since that stellar start, New England’s home form has slipped. As part of the current seven-game losing streak in league play the Revs have lost three straight at Gillette Stadium – all to Eastern Conference opponents – and have been outscored 6-1 in the process.
It’s a trend which has stung the pride of Revolution players, who want nothing more than to score goals and win games for the fans who sing and chant their support for 90 minutes.
“No one here likes to lose. It’s simple,” said Teal Bunbury, who’s notched two goals and two assists at home this year. “Everyone wants to go and win, especially at home in front of our fans that come out and support us game-in, game-out. We definitely want to put on a show for them and get them results.”
The Revs will have plenty of chances to perform for the home fans in the coming weeks, as they’ll play seven of their next nine games within the familiar confines of Gillette Stadium. It’s a stretch which starts this weekend when the Revs host the Columbus Crew on Saturday night and continues just four days later when the Colorado Rapids come to town.
“It hurts when we drop results at home,” said Darrius Barnes. “We obviously don’t want to lose in front of our home fans and on our home field. But I think it’s encouraging that we get two straight games back at home after going through such a lull like this. I feel like there’s no better place to snap that losing streak than to come home and do it with two wins.”
For now the focus is fixed firmly on Columbus, which enters Saturday’s matchup tied with the Revs for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Although most teams have just passed the midway point of the regular-season schedule, no side wants to fall below that red postseason line as the calendar inches ever closer to the stretch run.
“We’re going to take the first one at home against Columbus this weekend and go from there,” said Barnes. “I think that the team spirits are still high. We’re a little more than halfway through the season and we’re not playing the way we want to, but we’re still in a decent spot in the table. So hopefully we can get some points here in these next two games and get right back in the mix of things.”