FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – You can’t win if you can’t score, and the New England Revolution know that all too well after scoring just three goals during their current seven-game losing streak.
For a team that put together back-to-back five-goal games during the halcyon days of May, the going has been tough as numerous factors have prevented the New England attack from finding twine. From conceding early goals to suffering some injuries, the Revolution have seen their average for goals scored plummet from 1.75 through their first 12 games to 0.43 in their last seven.
“It’s different from game to game,” said midfielder Lee Nguyen. “Last game against Dallas, we had maybe one or zero shots in the first half, but we dominated possession. Then other games we’ve created 10-20 chances, but we just don’t put them away.”
New England are hoping to correct their problems when they host the Columbus Crew on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE, match preview), and chief among the improvements the club wants to make is to prevent opponents from scoring first.
“Chasing the game is going to be hard,” Kelyn Rowe told MLSsoccer.com “The past couple of games, we’ve had a goal early against us and we had to chase the game.”
Added Nguyen: “We’ve just got to stop getting behind so early."
Gaining the early advantage on the Revs has allowed opponents to tighten up on the defensive end. It has also opened counterattack possibilities when New England, eager to level the score, pushes forward with more carelessness and, at times, selfishness.
“Throwing numbers forward and you’re bound to get another one against you,” said Rowe. “Through these games, each person, myself included, has been very individual trying to be the one to break us out of this streak.”
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Ironically, New England have averaged more shots (16.3) per game than during their first 12 games (12.7), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. But a lower percentage of those shots have been on target (39.8 percent during the losing streak, compared with 37.5 percent prior).
Against New York, the Revolution had 10 shots on goal but ran into a red-hot Luis Robles. Against Real Salt Lake, New England only got one shot off, and it actually found paydirt.
It is an inconsistency that needs to be rectified, fast, if the sinking club is to put an end to its freefall.
"Big game on Saturday against the Columbus Crew, and we have to be ready," said head coach Jay Heaps. "It’s a home game, and we can’t let any more points slip.”