FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Consistency has eluded the New England Revolution so far this season.
The existence of multiple peaks and valleys in their performances highlights the Revolution's inability to settle into a rhythm during the first seven matches of the campaign. The club has alternated home wins against D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City with deflating defeats to a reserve-laden Real Salt Lake side and most recently a 3-0 loss at Chivas USA last Saturday.
The path toward producing a steady stream of positive results starts with each player assuming his duties and performing, according to New England manager Steve Nicol.
“Individually, we need to be responsible for our consistency,” Nicol told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “We need to make sure that guys know what is expected and what we are looking for.
"We need to keep reminding people what job they are responsible for and then they have to go, do it and be consistent with what we ask them to do.”
Several players looked like they did not get the message before departing for Southern California and the Revs paid a significant price. The humbling defeat against the Goats blunted the momentum generated by victories over Sporting and D.C. United – in a US Open Cup play-in match – earlier in the week.
“I think, for whatever reason, we went into the game in Los Angeles a little bit overconfident,” New England midfielder Chris Tierney said. “What we need to continue doing is build off games like Kansas City, but, at the same time, we need to not get too high when we win or too low when we lose.”
Striking that careful balance isn't as easy as it sounds, but it remains particularly crucial for the Revs as they wind their way through the regular season and push for a playoff berth.
“If you win 5-0 or lose 5-0, you don't want to be too far on either side of that level playing field,” Nicol said. “When you have so many games and you have such a long season, it's going to happen. You can't be up and down as far as between your ears is concerned.”
Nicol is already demanding improvement from his squad over the next couple of weeks. He said the Revs must win their next two home games against Colorado and Vancouver to move toward the level of consistency required to lay the foundation for success.
“There are always a couple of teams [in MLS] who are really good and really consistent and all of those other things, but, generally, the problems are always away from home,” Nicol said. “Saying that, we need to make sure we win our next two home games. That's generally a good barometer of where we are.”