Playoffs a realistic goal for much-improved New England Revolution

Lee Nguyen and the Revolution will look to make a playoff push in the second half of the MLS season. Credit: Getty Images
Lee Nguyen and the Revolution will look to make a playoff push in the second half of the MLS season. Credit: Getty Images

Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo was a tough blow for the New England Revolution. Houston sits directly in front of New England in the Eastern Conference standings, holding the fifth and final playoff spot.

Considering the fact that the Revolution were at home, where they often thrive, and are aiming to end a three-year playoff drought, it stings. However, the Revs, now 6-6-6, fully expect to be a factor down the stretch. At the very least, a different mindset has been established at Gillette Stadium.
“The last couple of years we don’t feel like we’ve been in striking distance, but now we feel like we have a team and we’re within striking distance so that’s the optimism right there speaking,” general manager Mike Burns told Metro prior to the weekend setback. “But we haven’t done enough to get in there so the second half of the year is obviously critical.”

Saturday represented a departure from the norm for a team that has showcased an exceptional defensive game. The Revs, who are still 4-2-2 in their last eight contests, have allowed a league-low 16 goals, half of those coming in two tough road losses.

Burns is pleased with the team’s stingy nature.

“As a team defensively I don’t honestly think that we could’ve asked a whole lot more,” he said. “I don’t say that’s just the goaltender or just the back four, but as a team…we’ve felt pretty good about our performance defensively and I think the whole team deserves credit.”

In addition to a standout defensive club and a degree of optimism after some down years, New England has other factors working in its favor as it eyes the stretch run. Burns has succeeded in his mission of building depth, creating weekly competition for playing time and providing insurance for the inevitable injury or suspension. This should allow for fresh legs and multiple options as the long season wears on.

In addition, dynamic striker Saer Sene is hitting his stride after a speedy return from ACL surgery. Sene has a goal in each of his last two games and has found the net in three of his six starts.

“At times Saer has certainly shown flashes of his form last year, but it’s important for us that in the second half of the year he continues to improve and we feel that he will,” Burns added.

 If that improvement comes and boosts what has been an inconsistent attack, and if the defense remains dominant and if the optimism and relative momentum yields enough points to leap into that fifth position, or higher, the Revs will be looking to make some noise this fall.

Just the fact that the attitude around the club is what it is means things are headed in the right direction.

“This year there is definitely an optimism and there’s a belief that if we can play a little bit more consistently in the second half of the year as we did at times during the first half of the year, we’re capable of playing with and beating anyone in the league, and we honestly feel that,” Burns said. “And that definitely is a change in the belief and the mindset from what we’ve had over the last couple of years.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dr. Dre is king of hip hop with…

With $620 million in estimated pre-tax earnings, veteran rapper and record producer Dr. Dre topped Forbes list as the highest paid hip hop artist, ousting Sean "Diddy" Combs from the…

News

Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in U.S.…

A seemingly unrepentant Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in New York following his conviction on terrorism charges.

Local

Inside the UN Climate Summit

First Avenue was a sea of blue suits, black Suburbans and countless officers from multiple security agencies Tuesday as the United Nations representatives met to…

National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

Television

Craig Ferguson wants you to see his new…

Craig Ferguson thinks his new game show will become "a comedy show in which a game is played and money is won."

Television

Anthony Anderson on dealing with your 'ish'

Anthony Anderson discusses finding the humor in his "Black-ish" family.

Gossip

Photos: See who Robert Pattinson was caught holding…

Robert Pattinson has a new girlfriend.

The Word

The Word: Kris and Bruce Jenner's predictably public…

They said it wouldn't last — mostly because of that separation almost a year ago. And now, more than a year later, Kris and Bruce…

MLB

Bud Selig honors Derek Jeter as both prepare…

Bud Selig’s 22-year reign as commissioner will end Sunday, and while it’s had its share of negative moments, it also had Derek Jeter.

NFL

Column: Geno Smith not the answer for Jets…

There were highs for Jets quarterback Geno Smith in Monday night’s loss to the Bears and there were incredible lows.

NFL

3 things that went right in Jets loss…

It wasn't the result the Jets wanted, a 27-19 loss to the Bears, but this team deserves some credit.

Sports

Here's the 8 best and worst sporting goodbyes

With Derek Jeter set to retire following the 2014 Major League Baseball season, we look back at some of the great and not-so-great sporting goodbyes.

Home

NYC fall real estate hot list

The upcoming developments and areas everyone's buzzing about.

Style

Milan Fashion Week shows the best of Italian…

Metro rounds up the cut of the collections at Milan Fashion Week.

Tech

The 2014 Maker Faire saw robots, printers and…

Got a broken button maker? There’s a fix for that – and Tony Stanzione of the Fixers’ Collective says he can show you how.

Parenting

First look: Uniqlo's fall/winter 2014 kids collection

Get a sneak peek at Uniqlo's kids and babies fall/winter 2014 line.