FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A run of five defeats in six matches will prompt New England head coach Jay Heaps to alter the Revolution's status quo into the starting XI ahead of Saturday's visit to Chicago (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“There will be some changes,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “I think we've made a few changes when we've needed to in the last couple of games, but there will be some changes for Saturday.”
The recurring problems plaguing the side at the moment leave Heaps with little choice. Although the Revs' boss and his players believe they have performed well enough at most points during this tough stretch, the group has just one point to show for its troubles because it cannot eliminate the critical errors undermining its efforts.
In this particular set of circumstances, the only way to rectify those concerns likely stems from holding players accountable for their actions and providing other players with the opportunity to shine, according to Heaps.
“That's definitely part of it if there's a consistent behavior and consistent mental mistakes,” Heaps said. “You have to look in the mirror as a group to assess them. We watch film. We break it down. I want to hold guys accountable, they want to hold me accountable and they want to hold each other accountable. It's important.”
Bengtson on the scoresheet and on the way home
Goals also rank near the top of that list of priorities given the Revs' poor record in front of goal (two tallies in the past six games) during this recent downturn in form.
Jerry Bengtson could help his teammates address those concerns as he continued his Olympic form by scoring the first goal in Honduras' 2-0 victory over Boca Juniors in Miami on Wednesday night.
“Any time a striker scores, it's good for his confidence,” Heaps said of his Designated Player. “Obviously, we want him to be scoring for us.”
In light of the friendly against a foreign club, the Revolution technical staff could have pushed to keep Bengtson with the squad this week to further that particular objective. They agreed to allow Bengtson to link up with his country after he expressed a desire to play in the friendly.
Although Bengtson did play extensively in midweek, he is set to link up with his teammates in time to travel to Chicago on Friday.
Pressure on defenders
If Bengtson can provide a goal or two upon his return to the fold, then he would provide a welcome cushion for the Revolution backline.
With the attack sputtering, the Revs' defense has come under severe pressure to perform. The unit has held up its end of the bargain by conceding seven goals during this six-game stretch, but those untimely mistakes have cost the team points and undermined the generally solid performances at the back.
Revolution defender A.J. Soares said he and his teammates want to clean up any mistakes that may occur on the field and play perfectly in each match to ensure the side has the best possible chance to pick up all three points.
“It doesn't happen too often,” Soares said. “They are goals given up in basically every game on every team. It is difficult, but it's something you have to strive for. You can't go into games saying that we'll be happy if we give up one goal. You just can't have that mindset. [Center back partner Stephen McCarthy] and I go into every game and we say we want to give up no goals. That's what we're going for.”