New England Revolution know they must "put teams on their heels" to balance outstanding defense
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Most of the positives in the New England Revolution's nascent campaign have stemmed from solid work in defense. No team in MLS has conceded fewer goals (2) so far this season.
The defiant and organized efforts from back to front produced another point and another shutout in Seattle last weekend, but the Revs know they cannot continue to absorb pressure during Saturday's trip to Red Bull Arena (7 pm ET, watch on MLS Live) if they want to claim a victory and move up the table.
“It's a good thing that we know it's good, but if it's under pressure for the entire game – a lot like Seattle – it's going to break eventually,” Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms told MLSsoccer.com. “We need to put teams on their heels.”
Quality, not ambition, has kept the Revolution from fulfilling that brief so far this season. As Revolution coach Jay Heaps argued this week, his team is pushing enough players forward to trouble the opposition without conjuring up the final ball or the last touch required to add to the club's lone goal so far this season.
But solving the problem isn't as easy as identifying it. Heaps and his players suggested a variety of remedies during the week to help the cause, but it will take more than just salvaging one segment of the game to provide the stout defensive shape with some relief.
“It's a few things, right,” Heaps said. “We need to be better on the ball. We need to keep the ball better when we have it and play it quicker. We need to be a little bit more clinical when we get the opportunities.”
The continued progress of forward Saër Sène will help the Revs as they search for the necessary equation to fix the issues. Sène climbed off the bench for his first appearance of the season at CenturyLink Field last week. He played 16 minutes against Sounders FC last week, but he noted that he felt he could contribute for 30-40 minutes when asked about his potential contributions this week.
Heaps must once again cope without injured striker Chad Barrett (out – left hamstring strain), but he will hope Scott Caldwell (questionable – right ankle sprain) and Juan Toja (questionable – left knee strain) are deemed fit enough for play if he so chooses.
Veteran goalkeeper Matt Reis is not expected to feature after spending the week tending to familial concerns stemming from the Boston Marathon tragedy on Monday.