After dealing with some defensive woes, all eyes have turned to the New England Revolution attack as the effort in the final third has been lacking in recent games.
The Revs have scored three goals in their last four games. New England has also been held to a clean sheet in two of those last four games.
But that’s not to say the effort is non-existent. For significant portions of the Revs 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls, the visitors were under some serious pressure. Along with beating New York in the possession battle (66%-33%), the Revs tallied 11 shots with five being on target.
Assistant coach Richie Williams that unlucky losses such as Saturday’s happen in MLS, but the finishing in the final third could have been better.
“Well yes, [it was] very disappointing obviously with the result,” Williams said. “You know, at the end of the day, this is soccer and these things can happen. I thought we played well for large portions of the game. In the final third, our final pass and creating opportunities was lacking. We did create enough to score a goal though – a goal or two – we weren’t able to do that.”
Just like New England’s back line, the attack has had to deal with some bumps in the road as well. Gustavo Bou missed Saturday’s game due to a knock and Adam Buksa returned to Foxboro just a day before the game.
Buksa having a full week of training along with the club continuing to get healthy would do wonders for a team that is looking for its first MLS win in over a month.
“I think for us – Obviously a little bit has been hurt by the fact that Gustavo [Bou] is injured, Adam [Buksa] hadn’t been with us and Jozy [Altidore] picked up a little bit of an injury,” Williams said. “Obviously, Justin [Rennicks] has been in there who did a really good job and works extremely hard. So, I just think personnel wise, we haven’t had the guys in the lineup that have obviously scored goals for us in that past.”
Still, Williams believes that the team can’t make excuses and needs to find ways to score.
“Now, that doesn’t mean that we should go in the game and we still need other players to pick up for those players that score goals so that’s something that we have got to look at this week in terms of getting in the final third, creating more opportunities, getting better service from wide areas, getting more runners in the box and again when we have opportunities in front of goal, can we get shots off, can we get shots on target, and ultimately score goals,” he added.
Going through a losing streak isn’t easy. After putting in a hard week of training, coming out with nothing to show for it can be draining. Veteran goalkeeper Brad Knighton believes that the team isn’t far off from finding its form.
“It’s difficult because we’re doing this on a daily basis and we’re seeing the things on the practice field that we’re looking to do and we’re just trying to replicate that on the weekend and it’s tough because you only get 90 minutes to replicate that,” he said. “We’re not far off, I don’t think. We’ve got pieces here and there. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and getting those goals that we need to kind of take some of the pressure off the team as a whole.”
A matchup against Inter Miami CF has come at the perfect time for the club. The struggling Florida side is at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and the match on Saturday seems to favor New England.
Still, Midfielder Sebastian Lletget believes that the table can be misleading and that he expects a difficult match.
“These are the weird games, the dangerous ones, because yeah I think the table says something, but when you get to the game and you’re like, ‘Oh man.’ I guarantee we’re going to play them and we’re going to say to ourselves, ‘This is not a bad team.’ So we have to be focused, we’ve got to approach it like we do any game. It’s going to be tough – three o’clock in Miami, it’s not going to be easy,” Lletget said.
If New England is able to find its scoring touch, there is a good chance that the club walks away with three points. After a difficult start to the season, a win could be just the spark that the Revolution need to go on a decent winning streak and get their season back on track.