COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – New England Revolution interim head coach Clint Peay and defender Dave Romney have urged Revs fans not to lose hope of MLS Cup success, following Saturday night’s setback at the Colorado Rapids.
The Revolution fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat on the road, spurning the chance to secure a playoff place, as Cole Bassett and Calvin Harris struck in the second half for the hosts, rendering Omar González’s injury-time header – his first goal for the club – a mere consolation.
The result concluded a challenging week of managerial change for the team. In a bid to steady the ship, Revs II head coach Peay was installed as interim first team head coach to lead the push for a postseason spot.
Speaking after the game in Colorado, despite their frustrations, Peay and Romney ensured focus remained on the bigger picture (with the team still sitting third in the Eastern Conference with six regular season matches to go), asserting the squad still believe they can challenge for silverware.
“Listen, I think we still have all to play for,” Peay declared. “I think the players are still obviously very committed to the goal of winning the cup, and that's what we're going to strive for each and every day moving forward.
“I think we just have to be able to be honest with ourselves, and say: ‘Alright, where can we improve and what can we do better as a group?’ – and use it as a learning moment, and understand that we still have a lot to play for, and just regroup, and get to the next game.”
Romney, who has played every minute of the club’s MLS campaign this term as one of the team’s most reliable and consistent performers, echoed the sentiments.
The defender also highlighted the significance of players returning from injury as a potentially season-defining boost in the club’s trophy hunt.
“Don’t lose faith, we’re not losing faith,” he agreed. “We have all the confidence in the world that we can still get this together with the group of guys that we have.
“We still have guys out with injury, so once we get everybody back, hopefully [we can] get clicking again.
“I still think we’re a dangerous team in MLS [Cup] Playoffs, which are a knockout-style tournament.”
Reflecting on the defeat at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Romney admitted his side produced a below-par performance, adding the players expect higher standards of themselves despite recent circumstances.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” he continued. “We’re in an extremely tight race in the East and points are extremely valuable at this time of the season.
“We were fully prepared to come in here and get a win because we expect that of ourselves and the quality of our team. We just didn’t get it done tonight. We weren’t good enough as a team – individually and collectively. That’s just on us.
“[It was] a difficult week, but I honestly don’t use that as an excuse. I think we had plenty of time to train and prepare, and we just didn’t play well enough tonight. I think too many players were kind of sloppy – myself included. [I] had a couple of turnovers.
“All over the field – in our midfield, and defensive third, and attacking third when we’re trying to create chances, we just weren’t clinical enough.
“Neither were [the Rapids] for the most part – they got a set-piece goal and then kind of a counterattack goal – so we just have to be sharper. I think guys made too many mistakes tonight.
“Moving forward, Chicago [Fire] will be a tough opponent and another road game, but we’re prepared and ready to have a good week of training and to get a win there.”
Peay shared Romney’s view of events in Colorado but noted some positives to take forward into next weekend’s clash in Illinois, including the impact of the substitutes.
The interim head coach will take charge of the team for his first full week in preparation for the fixture against the Fire – able to further implement his own coaching style and strategy.
“I think that at the end of the day, the group made costly mistakes in critical moments that cost us the game,” he conceded.
“I thought [what was] encouraging was [that] some of the guys that came off the bench and lifted us, gave us a spark going forward.
“I think we all feel that obviously, this past week was a little bit abbreviated. A full week will be good, and I think it will help us prepare in a better way, as we move forward.”