Jul 21, 2018; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (99) and New England Revolution defender Antonio Dalamea Mlinar (19) chase the ball during the first half at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The New England Revolution’s losing streak reached three games Saturday with a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls. A pair of second-half goals by New York doomed the Revs at Red Bull Arena.
Here are three takeaways from the loss:
Has the annual summer rut arrived?
There are a few inside jokes about the New England Revolution, between fans and those that cover the club.
One, is that the Revs start practically every season unprepared and struggle to score goals and earn wins until late spring.
The second, is that the club heats up in the fall, just before the playoffs.
Another is the team’s annual summertime rut.
New England had a tendency in recent years to struggle from July to September. Case in point: five losses in eight games during that stretch in 2017; seven losses in 11 games in 2016. In 2015, the Revolution only had two losses during that stretch, though it doesn’t matter too much as they only had one win in 12 matches from May 8 to July 11.
In 2014 – the year the Revs reached the MLS Cup final – they lost eight consecutive games from May 21 to July 26 before being helped by the arrival of Jermaine Jones.
Granted, this year’s summer struggles are still in their infancy. Worth keeping in mind, though, is that this recent run of form contains New England’s first consecutive losses of the season.
The back line needs help – still
In general, the Revolution did not play poorly against New York.
Even the back line had some positive moments. Antonio Delamea and Andrew Farrell frustrated Bradley Wright-Phillips for most of the night and held the Red Bulls to just one shot in the first half. Meanwhile, the attack generated chances throughout the game.
New England lost control and ultimately fell to its doom midway through the second half when Claude Dielna needlessly fouled Tyler Adams on the right flank. Daniel Royer scored a scrummy goal on the ensuing set piece to give the hosts a lead they would not relinquish. In the 80th minute, Wright-Phillips sealed the result with a well-timed header past Revs goalkeeper Matt Turner.
Dielna’s name has been getting called out more often in recent weeks for defensive mishaps – he shoulders blame for many of the goals New England has been conceding – but mental lapses have collectively been hurting Revolution defenders.
Silly errors have cost New England’s back line for four seasons. Not only are most of the Revolution defenders not up to par, but the back line is severely understaffed. There are just three central defenders on the team, unless coach Brad Friedel switches Andrew Farrell from right back, though that would then leave just one player (Brandon Bye) to adequately fill the position. Dielna and Gabriel Somi have both struggled at left back and Chris Tierney (ACL surgery) is out for the season.
It’s time for the Revolution make a move on some defensive reinforcements.
Revolution should refocus – not panic
Things may look bleak in Foxborough, but it’s nowhere near time to panic.
Right now, the Revolution have at least two things going for them: They’re still in playoff position and are playing well most of their matches. However, allowing untimely errors and silly defensive gaffs are ruining results.
New England can definitely stand to add at least one defensive piece and a playmaker during the current summer transfer window. Some reinforcements could go a long way, especially since the Revolution have to play a brunt of their remaining schedule on the road.
That said, the Revs should continue to be unafraid of the matches ahead. Friedel’s philosophy has the team playing the same way, both home and away. The team has shown that it can compete, create chances, and score goals in any venue.