FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – If the New England Revolution are going to snap out of their current four-game losing funk against Chicago on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, MLS Live), then they know they must return to a defense-first mentality, something that may have slipped a bit during their current skid.
In conceding in their last four matches, an effort to push the attack early has allowed their opponents to exploit the defense with the first score of the game, which at times came early, pushing the Revs onto their heels.
“We kind of got away from playing our defense first and started to attack soon,” defender Andrew Farrell told MLSsoccer.com. “We’ve got to make sure we don’t let up any goals early, and that’s what we’ve been doing, which is hurting us.”
In back-to-back games against Montreal and New York, the Revs conceded a goal within the first 17 minutes of the opening whistle, while Philadelphia and Salt Lake snatched goals late in the first half that allowed them to garner and maintain momentum.
“If we set our defense right, don’t let up any goals, our attack will come,” said Farrell. “Every time we’ve scored a goal first this season, we’ve won the game. We’ve got to get solid defensively.”
The Revolution know a defensive mindset is required in order to pick up some of that early momentum in their favor.
“It’s been pretty consistent with the last couple of MLS games in giving up the first goal,” coach Jay Heaps told the media. “Each goal we conceded was a little different in nature, but the first goal, in this league, is very important. We have to find a way to not give it up.”
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Prior to their current streak, New England enjoyed a seven-game stretch in which their offense exploded for 19 goals. So the balance of power seemed to sway towards maintaining that output over maintaining their defensive strength at every position.
The sting of being smacked back to reality has them eager to reestablish their defensive resistance.
“It humbles you a little bit as a team after such a good run,” said Farrell. “You know you can get your nose rubbed in a couple losses. I’m excited to get back at it against Chicago on Saturday.”