Yes it is only a small snap-shot of the entire grueling 34-game MLS campaign, but the Revolution (0-1-2) have to hope that things pick up soon for them or else they will look to be in full rebuilding mode for 2016. After a 3-3 tie at Houston (1-1-1) in its season-opener, New England’s last two matches have been disappointing to say the least: first their home-opener against D.C. United (0-1-2) on March 12 at Gillette Stadium was a scoreless dud and they followed that up with a 3-0 loss at Philadelphia’s (2-1-0) on Sunday. That means that they haven’t scored in their last two games and more troubling, it could have been much uglier against the Union since Revs goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth stopped not one but two penalty kicks (which is extremely rare to do in the same contest). New England already trailed 2-0 in the 36th minute when one of their new players-defender Je-Vaughn Watson-picked up a much-deserved red card for a completely reckless challenge. Any hope of a comeback exited the field when Watson headed to the visitor’s locker room.
The early mediocrity of the Eastern Conference plays in the Revolution’s favor since they are one of four clubs there still without a win (compared to just Seattle in the Western Conference). Saturday’s (3, CSN) match at Yankee Stadium vs. New York City FC (1-1-1) is a sneaky big one for New England and they’ll be doing it without their best player: midfielder Lee Nguyen is with the U.S. men’s national team for their World Cup qualifiers at Guatemala on Friday (10, beIN Sport) and next Tuesday (7, ESPN2) vs. Guatemala in Columbus, OH. It’s a huge honor for him to be back in the mix and he’s certainly earned it but make no mistake, it is tough timing for his team.
“The message (from U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann) was just keep going, keep performing, keep pushing and keep leading the team,” noted Nguyen who is one of 26 players currently with the national team. “He wants all of his players to be key factors for their clubs and I think that’s one of his messages going forward.”
Revolution forward Charlie Davies missed the Philadelphia match with a hamstring injury but he was back at training on Tuesday so it’ll be prudent for New England not to rush him back (since that type of injury can linger for a long time if not properly treated) even though that would be the natural inclination when they really need a victory plus not having Nguyen available. New York City FC opened with a 4-3 win at Chicago but their last two matches have been a 2-2 draw with Toronto on March 13 and a 1-0 loss vs. Orlando City this past Friday.
Follow Metro soccer writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate