This season will be a tough one for the New England Revolution to look back on. After weeks of sliding in the standings, Seattle Sounders FC finally put an end to the Revolution’s hopes of playing in the playoffs, eliminating the team 2-1 at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night. With three games remaining in the season, the Revolution have allowed more goals in the history of the Steve Nicol era (51), and have managed to pick up just five wins in 31 matches.
At the beginning of the season, the Revolution struggled to find their identity on the field and had difficulty coming up with a style of play. Mid-season signings like Benny Feilhaber and Rajko Lekic were necessary, but it took them almost the entire summer before getting acclimated to the league’s physical style. And, many of the players the Revolution signed last winter left the team mid-way through the season, further killing chemistry.
Players like Monsef Zerka, Milton Caraglio, and Ryan Guy who were added late in the season plus Diego Fagundez, who started earning playing time in August, have considerably helped the team’s possession and scoring game. But as of late, the Revolution’s results have been lackluster as a result of mental errors in defense. At the start of the season, AJ Soares and Franco Coria had a good partnership in central defense. But Coria was replaced by Cochrane, who, in recent weeks hasn’t performed consistently.
Seconds after Diego Fagundez scored in his first career start on Saturday night, Cochrane lax backpass to Matt Reis was intercepted by Seattle’s Fredy Montero and put into the net. Moments after the start of the second half, poor marking on the parts of Soares and Cochrane allowed Montero to again slip past the defense and score a goal.
Game should’ve been over at halftime,” said coach Steve Nicol. “We made one mistake first half and it was a goal. We made one (mistake) each, which is a travesty. Second half, we didn’t quite make as many clear chances, but we still had some chances. We lose a horrible goal and we can’t deal with it. Just a big punt for the goalkeeper. The two goals are on mistakes. What do you say? It was a travesty.
Two mistakes led to two goals. And just like that, the Revolution’s playoff hopes were officially over.
Fortunately, the Revolution will be able to close out their remaining games at home; first against San Jose on Saturday and then against Columbus before finishing the season at Toronto. But it will be a long off-season for the Revolution, who have now failed to reach the playoffs for two straight years.
The club has several decisions to make before the start of the next season, both on the side of management and player personnel. Coach Steve Nicol’s contract is set to expire at the end of the year along with current captain Shalrie Joseph. With the expansion of Montreal, the Revolution could also lose players in the expansion draft in November.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Chris Tierney. “As professionals, you’re constantly evaluating your performance and performance of the team, and it just hasn’t been good enough. There’s really no two ways about that. We’re bottom of the league and there’s no way of getting around that. At this point were fighting for jobs and trying to make sure every individual is doing what they have to do to prove that they deserve a job in this league.”
“Jobs are on the line at this point, so it’s a matter of pride at this point, putting in a good performance. Everyone’s got to be proud to be here, to be in this league and prove that they belong. That’s got to be in the back of our minds as we go forward here and try to get some wins for the fans and try to get some wins to prove that we can play in this league.”