If there's one thing the New England Revolution can guarantee at this point of the 2016 MLS season it's an emotional rollercoaster throughout 90 minutes.
The final scoreline on Sunday against the LA Galaxy was 4-2 in favor of Bruce Arena's side, and it truly was a tale of two halves. New England's weakness of defending crosses was exposed throughout the first stanza, while the second half was full of grit, fight and determination.
Robbie Keane tallied in the 13th and 45th minutes via tap-ins at the back post, while Giovani Dos Santos unleashed a swirling volley past Bobby Shuttleworth in the 24th minute. Whether it was ball watching, a lack of communication or school-yard defending, the Galaxy were simply running rampant. Brian Rowe's goal was tamely threatened on multiple occasions, but never enough to chip into a 3-0 halftime deficit.
However, come the second half, the Revs appeared an entirely different side and intent on leaving the StubHub Center with points in hand. Teal Bunbury and Femi Hollinger-Janzen, both of whom were subbed on, injected life and pace, and played crucial roles in what was an inspiring comeback.
The first lifeline arose in the 67th minute when Kelyn Rowe found himself 20 yards from goal. He unleashed a long-range strike past the LA ‘keeper with his left peg, signaling that Jay Heaps' side wasn't going to go down without a fight. That pugnacious attitude proved fruitful in the 70th minute when Juan Agudelo scored his second in as many games. The 23-year-old rifled a side volley past Rowe after a nifty cross from Hollinger-Janzen.
It appeared as if New England found the equalizer in the 83rd minute, but Agudelo painstakingly struck the crossbar. The Galaxy defense stood tall as the Revs continued to probe, but it just wasn't meant to be. Resigned to 10 men after Jose Goncalves was forced off through injury, Steven Gerrard found net in the 92nd minute, closing the book on an up-and-down affair.
As things stand, the Revs hold a 1-3-7 record and continue to show signs of frustration and hope. Sunday's first half was about as bad as it could get, but the potential was there in the second half.
Nonetheless, answers are still required, and New England's first chance to find them comes next Saturday when it hosts the Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.