FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Since becoming the seventh head coach in New England Revolution history in November 2017, Brad Friedel has repeatedly stressed the need to avoid complacency.
At the midway point of the 2018 season – with the Revs 7-4-6 and firmly in an Eastern Conference playoff spot – that tenet hasn’t slipped. Rather, it reverberates throughout the training ground.
“I said it once already, if we lose any points home or away, we’re not going to be happy,” Diego Fagundez told MLSsoccer.com. “This is when the real journey begins, because when you go away you have to start getting points. In this league, when you win at home and get points away, that’s when you get to the playoffs.”
In 2016 and 2017, that stretch would cause worry, as New England won just three of 34 away games at the end of Jay Heaps’ tenure. But under Friedel, the Revs have earned a result in five of seven away contests, leaving midfielder Kelyn Rowe feeling confident as the dog days of summer come around.
“For us, it’s the fact that we’re in every game,” Rowe said of the difference in 2018. “That hasn’t always happened throughout years and seasons we’ve had. Like I said, this part is going to be a grind, and I think we’re ready for it more than other team in the Eastern Conference just because we’ve worked so hard to get here.”
With 27 points, the Revs have their highest point total through 17 games since the 2008 season. Andrew Farrell stressed, however, that New England still feels like points have been left on the table.
His coach, Brad Friedel, pointed to 4-2 loss at Montreal on May 5, then Farrell highlighted recent away draws to the Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes. Get a few points here or there, Farrell said, and the Revs could be challenging both New York squads for second or third in the East.
“We play in games where we don’t do too well and we still get points, but we know we have the talent to do even better than that,” Farrell told MLSsoccer.com “That said, we’re in a good spot.”
Before the road-heavy second half comes around, the Revs will look to shore up matters defensively, as they’ve gone 10 games across all competitions without posting a shutout. Further, Friedel said they hope to “add a new face or two” in the Secondary Transfer Window, which runs July 10 through August 8.
In the meantime, Friedel said he’s pleased with where the Revs are, but more is always coveted.
“My staff and I won’t allow complacency,” Friedel said. “If we feel it’s creeping into individuals or collectively, we’ll try to put an end to it. That’s in any sport; complacency is a dangerous thing to have happen.”