PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 12: Head coach John Spencer of the Portland Timbers looks on from the bench before the start of the game against the Philadelphia Union at JELD-WEN Field on March 12, 2012 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
The Revs face off Saturday at home against an eager Portland Timbers side looking to elevate their standing in a competitive Western Conference. For the Revs, after falling on the road to both the San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City, this may be their best chance at garnering three points before their loyal fans next see them on April 14th against DC United. Normally I'd say calling a match in March a "must win" game ridiculous; but with the upcoming schedule facing the Boys in Blue, it may just be a must win.
A weakened Revs squad with more questions than answers will need to draw heavily on home field support and scrape three points from Portland on Saturday. If that task isn't hard enough, following Saturday's match the Revs travel to LA to take on the Galaxy on March 31st. To make matters worse, LA will be completely fresh having come off a two week rest period as a result of their loss in CONCACAF Champions League play. Can we realistically expect a New England back line, in its current state, to handle the likes of Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle and David Beckham?
Don't worry, it gets worse.
After the match in LA, the Revs have a short week that sees them travel directly to Texas from LA for a Thursday night game against FC Dallas. This is no easy task for a team just learning to gel. LA and Dallas are ranked #3 and #4 respectively in this week's SB Nation Power rankings. The Revs need to get healthy real quick, then get on a plane and beat two of the top 5 teams in their own house. Is that possible?
Thinking positively...this type of road trip early on in the campaign could define the rest of the season. A thrilling upset at the Home Depot Center or in Frisco could bring about some much needed confidence, boost morale and act as a catalyst for a great run of form. But if the worst case scenario becomes our reality and we fall to Portland at home and lose our next two on the road the Revs would be 0-5. Being 1-4 or even 0-4-1 for that matter is a far easier and vastly different type of hole to dig yourself out of than 0-5. I like Jay Heaps. I believe in Jay Heaps. The organization is committed to Jay Heaps. I am probably going to lose my voice for Jay Heaps Saturday, but I have to wonder at what record would the heat on his hot seat get turned on?
Given the task ahead, it's not too early to say it. The New England Revolution must beat Portland on Saturday.
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