FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – By any account, a seven-game losing streak is enough to sink a team to the point of no return. But the New England Revolution are still living life above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference – albeit holding on for dear life.
But the Revs know they must halt their downward progression in order to maintain that status, something that will require a more complete performance on the field.
“I think we thought we could play out of it and things would just come to us like they were before this streak started,” Kelyn Rowe told MLSsoccer.com. “When we had that win streak, things were going in: a nick off the post and it was in, rather than going off the line.”
Bad bounces, defensive lapses and the inability to finish chances have all played into the Revs' longest losing streak in the post-shootout era, but the angst that has all caused may in turn be what guides them out of it.
“You saw a little bit of anger throughout the whole team [against FC Dallas last Saturday],” said Rowe. “If we have that same effort, if we show that same anger here at home, a little bit of luck will come with it. This anger is going to help us throughout the next couple of games.”
A lot of the anger has come early in matches, a product of allowing the first goal. Those crucial early errors have set New England on their heels, desperate to level things. Their ensuing pushes up the field in search of a response have often left the back line susceptible to more damage, and teams have taken advantage to put away the Revs late.
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“It’s tough in this league when you’re 1-0 down,” midfielder Lee Nguyen told MLSsoccer.com. “Teams are very good at packing it in, holding a one-goal lead. From there, you’re just desperate trying to get a goal, and you leave yourself vulnerable in the back, then 1-0 can turn to 2-0, 3-0.”
Striking first remains perhaps the biggest key for New England to breaking its streak. Parlaying the aforementioned anger into positive energy could help break with the recent past, a step they want to take this Saturday when they host Columbus (7:30 pm ET, MLS Live).
“It’s the only way you can move forward in certain circumstances where you’ve fallen down the table,” coach Jay Heaps told the media on Tuesday. “Big game on Saturday against the Columbus Crew, and we have to be ready. It’s a home game, and we can’t let any more points slip.”