FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – There were regrets aplenty in the New England Revolution's locker room after a puzzlingly successful week that promised considerably more.
Two draws in two matches against FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew look good on paper, but the Revolution players felt they had thrown away four points after squandering two-goal leads in the second half of both matches.
“I think that's the most frustrating part,” midfielder Shalrie Joseph told MLSsoccer.com after the match on Saturday. “We could have been happy having six points and looking forward to Salt Lake next week, but we still have to be able to play and finish our season strong. We never know what can happen.”
Results in other matches ensured that the Revs would miss the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons despite collecting two points for their efforts. While the disappointment of snapping an eight-season playoff streak remains palpable in the locker room, the squad can at least focus on its fair share of positives after achieving parity with two of the top sides in the league last week.
In order to turn those positives into a victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday, New England must avoid the late-match letdowns and eliminate untimely errors that proved their undoing against Columbus and FCD, according to defender Darrius Barnes.
“We've had some stretches this season where we've played awful, but I feel like these two games were some of our better ones in terms of our effort and our consistency,” Barnes said.
“We played and we played for each other. That's something we can take out of it as we go into Salt Lake. If we can do that for 90 minutes and eliminate some of the mistakes, we can get a win against them too.”
While a win against the MLS Cup holders won't propel New England to the playoffs, it may provide a building block or two as the Revs seek to end a disappointing campaign on a positive note.
“I feel like in the last two games, we've played well enough to get wins out of these games,” Barnes said. “We have to do that and hope the luck will turn around for us.”