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Revolution left to rue missed chances

“If you go through the season, the number of games we’ve actually blown, just screwed up, is incredible.”

MLS: CF Montreal at New England Revolution Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The playoff chances for the New England Revolution are on life support with two games left in the season. While things are looking bleak, the Revs had an opportunity to make a playoff run if they took advantage of the opportunities that were given to them.

New England has had terrible luck as well as some terrible performances. The Revolution dropped 29 points so far this season in games where they held the league which leads MLS by a considerable margin.

Even looking specifically at New England’s loss to CF Montreal, the Revolution let sublime opportunities go to waste. Carles Gil had a sitter but skied the ball into the Gillette Stadium crowd while New England continued to throw away great goal-scoring opportunities.

“We had our chances,” head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena said. “That game, that was going to be a 1-0 game. I told our team that at halftime. We had to beat a team, to make the play, and we didn’t. We had a couple chances in the first half, probably the better chances. And second half, I’d ignore the last 15 minutes because we were chasing the game and they really got at us. But we had our chances, but on the night, give them credit. They made the plays that made a difference.”

Arena then elaborated on the missed chances New England had this season when answering a question on competitiveness from WPRO’s Tommy Quinlan.

“If you go through the season, the number of games we’ve actually blown, just screwed up, is incredible,” Arena said. If you can think about the Red Bulls here, when we had that version of an own goal at the end of the game. I’m not sure I’ve seen that too many times in my life. The Philadelphia game, right at the end. If you start adding up these points, it’s actually remarkable. So, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot. So I wouldn’t say we’re not competitive. I think we’ve just made some incredible errors and we’ve given up, and I haven’t looked at thisthing myself statistically, but I’m told 12 penalty kicks in the second half of the season. I think last year we gave up three the entire year. That’s a killer. So, we’ve been in position to have an opportunity to get results the entire year. The snow game here against [Real] Salt Lake, I still look back on. We’re ahead by two goals in a blizzard here and managed to blow that game. So there’s been some really poor play at the end of games this year. It’s cost us dearly. And you see right now. The race is so close for the playoffs. Imagine if we had those points.”

Whether it be holding leads or not converting chances, New England has shot themselves in the foot. If they had even a quarter of the 29 points they have lost from winning positions, the Revs would be behind NYCFC and on the inside track to making the playoffs. With half of those points, they are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

Andrew Farrell also talked about the lack of clean pay to Brad Feldman and Charlie Davies immediately after the match.

“Obviously it sucks... I think at times effort was great,” the center back said. “You can’t fault the guys for effort, but we have to be clean on the ball. And like I said, that kind of sums up the season. In different spots defensively at times we were bad, offensively at times we were bad, and at times we weren’t able to get everyone on the same page and execute to the best of our ability. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to get in and be able to compete in the postseason. So that’s the frustrating part about this.”

Revolution fans should be frustrated. New England has the talent to be a playoff team, they just didn’t perform well when it mattered most. The story of the season was them dropping points compared to the club being able to steal wins in 2021.

The Revs fell back to earth and that’s not just me saying that, Arena also believes that the club’s performance leveled out this season.

“I thought last year we played well over our heads and I think some of our players never understood what made them successful last year, and it caught up with them a little bit,” Arena stated.

So it’s on to 2023 as a famous football coach would like to say. With two games left, players are competing for spots on next year’s roster and showing that they deserve to belong here in New England. Ending the season on a two-game win streak wouldn’t be the worst turn of events either.

But whether it be due to missed chances, crippling injuries, or just the chaos that is MLS, Revolution fans will be asking themselves for the second straight season what could have been if everything had gone to plan for the club they love so much.