FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Mired in a four-game losing streak, the New England Revolution know that they must sure things up across the board in order to snap out of it.
But the squad feels it must start with the back line, which has been decimated by injuries and suspension as they head into Saturday's match at Eastern Conference rivals New York Red Bulls.
“We know we’re going through a tough time right now,” said defender London Woodberry. “At the end of the day it starts with the defense. Ultimately, we’ve got to buckle down and stop giving up goals. If we start doing that, we’re going to start getting results again.”
- MATCHCENTER: Red Bulls-Revolution, Saturday, 7 pm ET, MLS LIVE
During the current four-game dip, the Revs have allowed nine goals, the most conceded in any such stretch this season.
Worse, during last week's 3-0 loss to FC Dallas, right back Kevin Alston went down with a left hamstring injury that has kept him out of training all week and ruled him out of the lineup in New York.
“It’s kind of the nature of the game,” head coach Jay Heaps told MLSsoccer.com about what changes in the defense mean. “You work on it all year and guys have to be ready to go. Last game we were disappointed across the board in every facet of the game, not just defense, but how we attacked, how we dealt with set pieces. I think we got to continue to get better in all those areas of the game.”
“It’s really just taking accountability and doing your job defensively,” said Woodberry. “We don’t have to be in situations where we’re chasing the game.”
With Alston down, coupled with the extended injury of US international Jermaine Jones and jack-of-all-trades Darrius Barnes, the unit is down to five active defenders: Woodberry, Jose Goncalves, Chris Tierney, Andrew Farrell, and Jeremy Hall.
Most likely the first four will get the starting nod against New York, who are on a 2-5-0 run in their last seven matches. The Revs beat the Red Bulls, 2-1, the last time the two sides met, on May 2, and and despite the recent skid, the Revs remain a point ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings.
Not that Heaps or the Revs are taking them lightly, of course.
“They’re a really good team," Heaps said of the Red Bulls. "We have to be at our best to be able to get anything against them.”