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

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…