[MLS: Playoff Push] The New England Revolution has achieved a remarkable turnaround after last season's poor campaign. But the young Revs will need more goals and better play at home if they want to be around in November.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION:
THE STORY SO FAR.The Revs are smack in the middle of the playoff bubble, just three points out of a playoff spot with plenty of games (11) to play. They are much improved from the 9-17-8 disaster of 2012.
RECENT MOVES.The front line is in a state of flux, with Juan Agudelo having signed a pre-contract to join Stoke City in December and Saer Saneand Jerry Bengston the targets of other foreign clubs, so taking Charlie Davies on a loan deal from Danish club Randers FC sense. The contract of discovery signing Kalifa Cisse has been terminated. Chris Tierneysigned a new contract and defender Kevin Alston recently returned to the lineup after taking leave for a few months to initiate leukemia treatment.
STYLE POINTS.They don’t score many goals -- tied for 13th in the league with 27 -- but the Revs can crank out some attractive stuff with Sene, Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe among the options for head coach Jay Heaps. Portuguese centerback Jose Goncalves has played every minute, committed just 20 fouls and been cautioned only twice. He leads one of the league’s stingiest defenses (1.0 goals per game). Rookie defender Andrew Farrell is strong and quick, yet also shows instincts honed by growing up in Peru.
NEEDS WORK.Juan Toja hasn’t been the strong presence he was previously in MLS while with FC Dallas. The Revs labor at times to funnel balls out of the back into attacking positions. In a discouraging yet typical 1-0 home defeat to Toronto FC Aug. 3, the Revs squandered a 17-6 shot advantage and 64-36 percent edge in possession. They are 16th in shots taken (249).
FINAL ANSWER. The young Revs can’t repeat hiccups like that against Toronto FC, starting at home Saturday against one of their head-to-head playoff obstacles, Chicago. If the home record of 4-4-3 doesn’t improve, they won’t make it.
August 17: Chicago
August 25: Philadelphia
August 30: @Toronto FC
September 8: Montreal
September 14: @Chicago
September 21: D.C. United
September 28: Houston
October 5: @New York
October 12: @Montreal
October 19: Columbus
October 27: @Columbus