FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Heading into the World Cup break, the New England Revolution were arguably surpassing expectations as the Brad Friedel era found its footing. At 6-4-5 in league play, the Revs had a genuine grasp on an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
We're not panicking.
“I’ve been involved in football for a long, long time,” Friedel said Tuesday. “These sort of things happen. They happen to the best of teams in the world, and we’re playing well. I’ve approached things no differently than I did on day one. You’ve been around and you’ve seen in my demeanor, there’s absolutely nothing to panic about here at all. The players are fully focused and we have a good team.”
For a few weeks, Friedel has dismissed suggestions that opponents have cracked the code on his high-press system, and he did so again Tuesday. As for tactics, while situational tweaks will continue, no fundamental changes seem imminent.
However, Revs GM Mike Burns acknowledges the difficult results have added up. He said the Revs arguably carried the game in losses to the LA Galaxy and Minnesota United, then last weekend’s 3-3 draw at Orlando City. Burns, however, knows feel-good moments aren’t enough.
“We need to start coupling the performance with the result,” Burns said.
Defender Andrew Farrell is confident matters will turn around quickly, having seen previous teams recover from similar spells during his first five seasons in New England.
During former head coach Jay Heaps’ final four seasons (2014-2017), New England went a combined 7-15-2 in league play from July through early August. Under Friedel, the Revs are 0-3-2 across that same span.
The outlook, Farrell said, feels different this time.
“In past seasons, maybe the team wasn’t good enough to get results,” Farrell said. “But this year is different. We know we’re good enough and that we’re in the games. We’ve been letting ourselves down in little moments.”
Perhaps that optimism comes from Friedel.
“The players need to realize sometimes how good they are and focus for the 90-plus minutes,” Friedel said. “I’m sure we’ll have a host of wins to see out the rest of the season, and hopefully a good run in the playoffs.”