FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Teams with twice as many losses as wins aren’t typically in the neighborhood of an even goal differential, but that’s exactly where the New England Revolution finds itself two-thirds of the way into the 2012 season.
The Revs are currently tied for eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 6-12-5 (23 pts.), but they’ve conceded (29) only three more goals than they’ve scored (26). Prior to their current six-game winless run, the Revs actually had a positive goal differential despite having a losing record.
It’s a product of the Revolution’s propensity to win games decided by large margins, but lose the heartbreakers. Of New England’s six victories, four have been by multiple goals. But of the club’s 12 losses, a staggering 11 have been by a single goal.
“It’s almost nauseating how close we are, but at the same time, you’re not there until you get there,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “There’ve been a lot of improvements. There’ve been a couple losses that even though they were (decided by) one goal, we didn’t like them at all. But we’re still in each match and that’s the focus. Here, there, in a match we can make one or two plays that change the outcome.”
“That’s the way soccer is,” added Chris Tierney. “The line between winning and losing in this league is such a fine one and we’ve learned that the hard way this year.”
The Revolution’s only multiple-goal loss came under unusual circumstances. In a March 17 encounter with Sporting Kansas City, center back Stephen McCarthy was issued a straight red card in the 14th minute, leaving the Revs down a man for almost the entire match. Sporting KC went on to record a 3-0 victory.
In every other loss, the Revs believe they could’ve altered the outcome with one simple play at either end of the field. Whether it’s a missed chance in front of goal or a defensive miscue at the back, erasing one mistake a game could change the entire outlook for the Revolution.
“We’ve talked about it and we’ve harped upon it,” said goalkeeper Matt Reis. “It’s just one play and we really have to stay mentally in it for the full 90-plus minutes. That one little play where you take a little bit of a lapse and turn off so to speak, that’s when it’s hurt us.”
Having suffered three consecutive one-goal losses entering this weekend’s trip to face the Chicago Fire, the Revs know they’re close. But at the same time, they also know they need to eliminate the mental mistakes and display a bit of fortitude if they’re going to start turning those one-goal losses into one-goal wins.
“I think our youth has shown a little bit,” said Tierney. “The good news is we’re all picking up experience this year. We have a young team. I think it’s promising for the future and even for the rest of this year. We’re not writing it off. We’re going to fight and scrap out results.”