FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The past seven days could not have gone any worse for the New England Revolution.
Heading into a crucial Eastern Conference showdown against D.C. United last Sunday, a potential for nine points were laid out in front of them. But after Saturday night’s 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, New England were left with nothing to show from their busiest week of the season.
The three-loss week brings back memories of last season’s summer slump when they dropped eight straight matches.
“We just have to focus on the positives at this point,” midfielder Teal Bunbury said. “We’re going through a little tough stretch, but we have to stick together as a unit, and that’s the only way we’re going to get out of this just like last season.”
The Revolution have gone 1-5-4 over their last nine games – with a US Open Cup loss to USL side Charlotte mixed in – but are trying to remain positive through the struggles.
“You can’t put your head down, and obviously guys are going to be disappointed now,” Bunbury said. “Everybody here hates to lose, but everybody here wants to work for each other and wants the best for each other, and we are going to continue to have banter and we will continue to have fun and enjoy playing because at the end of the day we all love playing this sport and that’s what we have to continue to do. As soon as we start bickering at each other and getting down on each other, that is when things can get even worse.”
While several of the losses and ties during their current run have come after the Revs have gained an early lead, Saturday night’s loss was of a different variety.
Despite looking the better side in the early going and then taking the action to Vancouver even after going down a man, New England suffered a couple of lapses on the defensive end that provided the Whitecaps with exquisite opportunities, of which they took full advantage.
“We had two games that we’ve given up an early lead, and that’s something that has been bothering the past five, six games, so we wanted to correct that,” said defender Andrew Farrell, who picked up his second card of the match in the 29th minute -- a straight red card for denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity which led to an Octavio Rivero penalty kick that proved to be the difference. “And unfortunately you go down on a cross, which is something we’d harped on not doing,”
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With the loss, the Revs' franchise-record 17-game home unbeaten streak went by the wayside. They now see themselves with more losses than wins (6-7-6) for the first time since the end of March.
“I’ve been around a long time and been through a lot of seasons where you’re going to have things not go your way,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “There’s never been a perfect season that I’ve been a part of, and it’s the locker room and the group of guys getting out and not pointing fingers and working harder the next day to help yourself get out of it.”
Craig Forde covers the New England Revolution for MLSsoccer.com.