A team would be hard-pressed to have a worse start than the Revolution experienced early in their 2015 season. New England (3-2-2) went 0-2-1 in its first three matches and even worse, the Revs failed to score a single goal until their fourth match (a 2-1 win vs. San Jose on March 28). The defending Eastern Conference champions of Major League Soccer have again looked like themselves since that win at Gillette Stadium vs. the Earthquakes, however. Including that victory and the scoreless draw with Montreal that directly preceded it, the Revs are 3-0-2 in their last five games including a 2-1 win at Philadelphia’s PPL Park on Sunday. Furthermore, they haven’t lost since March 15 at Yankee Stadium vs. New York City FC (a humbling 2-0 defeat to one of the league’s two newest expansion clubs).
With their top two players - midfielders Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen - out with minor injuries (plus US men’s national team duty) to start this campaign, we should have known that the Revolution were due for a rather slow start. Not to mention the fact that by reaching the MLS Cup last season, the team played until December then returned for preseason in February. That is an alarmingly short off-season, no matter what sport that you are talking about. The encouraging part is that New England really hasn’t been affected all that much by its forgettable March since it is currently tied for first in the East with the Red Bulls and D.C. United, who both have 11 points apiece (granted NY has two games in hand and D.C. has one over New England).
The Revs have scored two goals in three of their last four matches, which not surprisingly has led to much better form and results. New England has also benefited from a weak schedule thus far in terms of opponents to begin the season: they have yet to see the top two teams in the East nor the top three (Vancouver, Dallas and LA) in the West. The win against San Jose was certainly nice (particularly to break the proverbial ice) but the three points gained at the Union were the most impressive to date. New England trailed 1-0 at halftime after conceding a late goal on a free kick but they bounced back with two sweet strikes in the second half. Forward Charlie Davies got his first goal of the year by finishing a cross from substitute Teal Bunbury. Then 12 minutes later, another substitute - Diego Fagundez - crossed it to Bunbury, who calmly made it 2-1.
The Revolution next host Real Salt Lake (2-1-3) on Saturday night (7:30, CSNNE) at Gillette. Real Salt Lake is seventh in the West (the Top-6 in each conference make the playoffs) although it is probably a little early to be talking about the postseason, which doesn’t begin until November.