The New England Revolution have just about reached the point of no return, where tough talk and decrying poor form are almost completely irrelevant.
New England’s chances of reaching the postseason are at a paltry eight percent, according to FiveThirtyEight.
And, truth be told, the situation is expected to get bleaker Wednesday night when the Revolution – winless in nine, with just one road win on the season – visit New York City FC, which is unbeaten in 2018 at Yankee Stadium.
If there was ever a time for a statement game in the current campaign, this is it for the Revolution.
New England is in desperate need of points and momentum, especially since five of its last eight matches are against teams currently in playoff position.
Players to watch
Teal Bunbury has scored only once in the Revolution’s last 10 games – a statistic that looks unsettlingly related to the team’s current nine-game winless streak.
It’s pivotal for Bunbury to find his form in what remains of the 2018 season. He helped set up Scott Caldwell’s goal in the Revolution’s 1-1 tie to the Portland Timbers last Saturday night, which was a good start, though it’s time for Bunbury to retake his club’s scoring mantle.
Bunbury still boasts one of the best shot-to-goals ratios of any player in the league with at least eight goals on the season. He is efficient inside the penalty area and has been a valuable spearhead in the Revolution’s high press.
Meanwhile, New York has a number of players out for Wednesday’s game due to either injury or international callups.
NYCFC is nevertheless still dangerous, particularly with Maximiliano Moralez pulling strings in midfield.
Moralez has been a machine in generating goals for his team. Not only is he ranked third in the league in assists (13), but he has also contributed eight goals. That means he’s had a role in 21 of his team’s 50 goals this season – just under 50 percent of the team’s scoring output.
Wednesday will mark the 11th all-time meeting between the Revolution and NYCFC.
New England leads the overall series 4-3-3, but has only won once in five tries at Yankee Stadium (3-1 on July 18, 2015).
The teams last met March 24, 2018, and tied 2-2.
Diego Fagundez and Juan Agudelo scored for New England. NYCFC came back from two deficits thanks to a pair of goals by Ismael Tajouri.
While NYCFC won’t want to drop three points at home for the first time this season – particularly against a team in as woeful form as New England – the hosts have plenty of latitude in the Eastern Conference playoff race as the current third-place team.
Despite New York having just one win in its last six games, postseason hopes are alive and kicking at Yankee Stadium.
The same cannot be said for New England.
The Revs already are in deep trouble after slipping out of a playoff place and into seventh due to their current winless run. They can tie a franchise record for longest winless run on Wednesday. Mathematically, a loss or a tie doesn’t eliminate them from reaching the 2018 playoffs, but momentum can mean everything in MLS.
With only three home games remaining, plus tough matches against Los Angeles FC, Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake to come, there is a very real possibility the Revs not only fail to reach the postseason, but also fail to win another game.