The New England Revolution lost to the Chicago Fire 5-0 Wednesday night in Bridgeview, Illinois — the latest in a string of embarrassing results. It was New England’s eighth loss of the season and was the final straw for head coach Brad Friedel, who was fired Thursday.
Here are three takeaways from the match from the Revolution’s point of view:
A back line breaking the wrong records
New England followed up a 6-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday with a 5-0 loss to the Fire on Wednesday.
The Revolution have been blown out many times before, but having it done consecutively is much more rare. The Revs set a Major League Soccer record after the match against Chicago by conceding 15 goals in their last three matches.
New England has also conceded 18 goals in its last four matches, which ties a league record set in 2017.
All of Chicago’s goals Wednesday seemed preventable. The two in the first half came off bad marking on set pieces, while the Fire’s fourth and fifth goals came down to poor positioning by the Revolution’s defenders.
Even Chicago’s third goal, a wonder shot by Brandt Bronico, started from a throw-in.
Overall, New England has conceded 30 goals this season, which is the most in MLS. The team also boasts a league-worst -19 goal differential.
The Revs’ attack still not clicking
The Revolution defense has clearly struggled mightily, but there is an argument that many of the Revs’ troubles actually come from their ineffective offense.
The Revs have scored 11 times in 12 games this season, which is the second-weakest scoring record in the Eastern Conference.
Those struggles continued Wednesday.
Chicago out-shot the Revs 16-4. New England had two shots on target. One was a long range effort by Diego Fagundez that was caught by Chicago goalkeeper David Ousted, and another was a quality chance off a breakaway in the second half that Teal Bunbury flubbed by taking a longer touch, thus significantly reducing his angle for a clean shot.
The Revolution did a better job keeping the ball Wednesday, though. They had about 47 percent of possession. But with that, the Revs created only one scoring opportunity.
Revolution still within reach of a playoff position
Strictly speaking, the Revolution are just six points away from the seventh and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with more than half the season left to play.
If that’s a strand of hope for the players, supporters, or front office, fine – but the writing is clearly on the wall that New England is not currently a playoff caliber team.
FiveThirtyEight pegs the Revolution’s chances of making the playoffs at nine percent.
The sample size isn’t big enough yet to separate the playoff pack from the teams at the bottom of the table, so the focus should be on New England’s record and run of form rather than the amount of points they have relative to their competitors.
Still, the Revolution have a fresh start with interim coach Mike Lapper now in charge following Friedel’s firing.
While Friedel had a tough time motivating the locker room and figuring out how best to arrange the team tactically, there is a suspicion among many at the club that the team’s 2-8-2 record doesn’t tell the whole story.
On Saturday, the Revs will have a chance to prove their believers right and officially turn the page.