FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It’s the question that was only briefly answered for the New England Revolution this season, and it has once again reared its ugly head:
Where is the scoring?
New England have been shut out four times in five games so far this year. Of their two goals scored, one was an own goal. Revolution head coach Jay Heaps and each player who has offered up an answer insist the attack is as close as can be, but the Revs are still finding it near impossible to finish off their chances.
Last year’s experiences provide a beacon of hope, though. The 2013 Revolution recorded only one goal in their first five games yet wound up scoring 49 times, finishing seventh in MLS in scoring, and finishing third in the Eastern Conference to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs.
New England's struggles were evident in the 22nd minute last Saturday against D.C. United, when Saër Sène missed a wide-open opportunity on the rebound of a Diego Fagundez shot (watch play here), but the Frenchman expects the floodgates to open, just like last year.
“The mentality is good when we step on the field," said Sène, who has scored 16 career goals for the Revolution. "We just have to be patient. The day we start scoring on our chances, we’re going to be like last year.”
Heaps is taking heart from the fact that New England has been creating chances, producing at least 10 shots in four of its five games and currently ranked sixth in MLS with 62 shots. The problem has come in putting those chances on target: New England ranks 18th out of 19 teams with only 14 shots on goal.
“We need to make better adjustments,” said Heaps to the media on Tuesday. “I think in a lot of our games, we’re creating chances. Now it’s just a matter of clinically finishing them.”
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The return of Sène, who had five goals and five assists a year ago before suffering a dislocated ankle and broken fibula near the end of the season, provides additional hope that his continued progression will help him break through soon. After coming on as a late substitute in the first two games, Sène has averaged 60 minutes as a starter over the last three contests, taking two shots in each game.
“I’m feeling much better, and I’ve recovered well from this injury,” Sène told MLSsoccer.com prior to Tuesday's training session. “We just have to be focused on the finishing and the last pass. We’re doing everything right."