FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Four weeks at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando gave the New England Revolution four games to assess their strengths and weaknesses as they build towards the remainder of the 2020 season.
As the Revs reflect on their 1-1-2 record in the Sunshine State, the biggest positive takeaway was their resolute defensive performance. With two clean sheets in their four matches, the Revs were pleased with their robust efforts along the backline, limiting opponents to 39 chances created with only two resulting in conceded goals.
“I think we’re just committed to defending, in a way,” said goalkeeper Matt Turner. “We know that as long as we keep a zero or one on the board, we’re going to be in a chance to get a point or three in every single game.
“Now it’ll be nice when we can string together some wins with some quality defending, then that will get easier because we’ll know we have a defined role – our role is to keep a zero on the board and the offense is going to get it done.”
The Revs were in all four of their games in Orlando until the final whistle, only falling in one match and never trailing by more than one goal in any given game. However, New England generated 16 shots on target within those four matches and only put away two.
“We were threatening but not that dangerous, if that makes sense,” said Turner. "So just polishing some things in the final third. I know it’s been a lot of months, but at the same time, this group has really only played together for, what now, five or six games. So still learning, still getting a feel of games together.”
“The positives [of the MLS is Back Tournament] were that we created a lot of chances and we didn’t give up many chances,” said Kelyn Rowe, who, like Turner, started all four games in Orlando. “Can we put things away and kind of tighten things up? Of course. That’s what we’re here to work on.”
As New England now resumes training in Foxborough, they are analyzing the ways in which they can accomplish the finishing task at hand.
“I think it’s just about getting numbers in front of the goal and creating the best chances possible,” said Rowe. “I thought we did very well in Orlando, but we missed maybe missed the final pass or missed the final touch on goal. We’ve been working on correct runs in the box, putting in good service and finding the back of the net.”
With this clear attacking goal and an already solid defense, the Revs have a road map to success to put them in a position to be dangerous when the regular season resumes.