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Revs’ First Half in Review: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

The Revs have an inside track to the playoffs, but will a road-heavy second-half schedule derail them?

MLS: Atlanta United FC at New England Revolution Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not quite the midpoint of the 2018 season for the New England Revolution, but with 16 of their 34 regular-season matches in the books, it’s close enough. And being in the midst of a 17-day international/World Cup break before match #17, we thought it was a good time to look back on the season and assess how the Revolution have fared thus far.

We’ll look at team leaders in various categories, provide some statistics for this year compared to 2017, and furnish an outlook and some predictions for the second half of the season.

Recap

Record: 6-4-6, 24 points, 27 GF, 23 GA, +4 GD

Standing: 5th in Eastern Conference (6 points clear of red line); 8th overall in MLS

Best result: 2-1 home win over the Red Bulls

Worst result: 4-2 road loss at Montreal

Following a week one double red-card debacle in Philly, the Revolution stormed to a 4-1-2 record in their next seven matches, rising as high as third in the conference table. They’ve since cooled somewhat, going only 2-2-4 in their final eight, not to mention a one-and-done US Open Cup ouster at the hands of USL-side Louisville City FC.

An impressive, come-from-behind home win vs the shorthanded Red Bulls was tempered by three recent road draws which probably should have resulted in at least one win. Somewhat troubling is a 2-2-2 home record against what’s considered to be top-tier clubs. In fact, the win vs Sporting KC came on a fluky offside/non-offside goal. The Revs also defeated Montreal and Houston after early opponent red cards, and they beat a struggling Toronto FC side missing Jozy Altidore and not starting Sebastian Giovinco and other key players.

MLS: Toronto FC at New England Revolution Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

2018 Team Leaders

Goals

Bunbury: 9 (4th most in MLS)

Penilla: 6

Fagundez: 5

Assists

Fagundez: 5

Penilla: 5

Zahibo: 4

Fouls Committed

Caicedo: 28 (4th most in MLS)

Zahibo: 27 (5th most in MLS)

Dielna: 21

Fouls Suffered

Caicedo: 30

Penilla: 26

Bunbury: 19

Minutes (max 1440)

Turner: 1440

Farrell: 1420

Anibaba: 1413

Starts (max 16)

Turner/Bunbury/Penilla/Farrell: 16

Anibaba/Fagundez: 15

Caicedo: 14

Substitute Appearances (max 16)

Nemeth/Agudelo: 8

Zahibo/Rowe/Bye: 5

2018 vs 2017

Compared to 2017, it’s a mixed bag. In less than half a season, the Revs have already exceeded their total point haul from the road (7 vs 6 in 2017) and tied their win total (1). However, they’ve already equaled 2017’s home loss total (2). Granted, last season’s home mark was a franchise record, so that may be an unfair comparison.

2018 First Half - By the Numbers (9 Home, 7 Away)

Overall:

Record: 6-4-6, 24 points (1.5 points/match)

GF: 27 (1.7 GF/match)

GA: 23 (1.4 GA/match)

Their 27 goals scored on the season place them fourth in the conference and seventh in MLS. Their 23 goals allowed are middle of the pack across both the conference and the league.

Home:

Record: 5-2-2, 17 points (1.9 points/match)

GF: 15 (1.7 GF/match)

GA: 9 (1.0 GA/match)

Away:

Record: 1-2-4, 7 points (1.0 points/match)

GF: 12 (1.7 GF/match)

GA: 14 (2.0 GA/match)

The Revolution have averaged the same number of goals scored in a match whether at home or on the road. However, they’ve allowed twice as many goals on the road as they’ve allowed at home.

By Comparison:

2017 First Half - By the Numbers (8 Home, 8 Away)

Overall:

Record: 5-6-5, 20 points (1.2 points/match)

GF: 27 (1.7 GF/match)

GA: 23 GA (1.4 GA/match)

The 2018 squad is only four points ahead of last year’s team despite one extra home match. Remarkably, goals scored and goals allowed are identical between 2018 and 2017.

Home:

Record: 5-1-2, 17 points (2.1 points/match)

GF: 19 (2.4 GF/match)

GA: 7 (0.9 GA/match)

The Revs had a much larger goal differential at home in 2017 (+1.5 on average vs +0.7 in 2018). This is due to a more potent attack at home in 2017.

Away:

Record: 0-5-3, 3 points (0.37 points/match)

GF: 8 (1.0 GF/match)

GA: 16 (2.0 GA/match)

The Revs allowed 2 goals per match on the road in 2017, which is the same as this year. However, New England has a better road attack this season and thus has earned more points on the road per match than in 2017.

Outlook for the Second Half

The final part of the season consists of eight home and ten away matches. Gaining only 17 of a possible 27 points at home in the first half may come back to bite New England. Although they’ve averaged a respectable one point per road fixture, there were certainly opportunities for bigger hauls at Vancouver, Chicago and San Jose.

The top four teams in the Eastern Conference seem pretty solid, as Atlanta United FC, NYCFC, Columbus, and the Red Bulls are all performing at a high level and are probably just competing for advantageous playoff positions. The other seven teams — including the Revs — are battling for the final two playoff spots.

The East is tough this year. In the past four seasons, the final conference playoff spot went to a team with 50 points (2017), 42 points (2016), and 49 points (2015, 2014). You know the clubs below the red line will seek to improve during the summer transfer window. DC United, at their new Audi Field for 15 of their final 20 matches, is poised to add former England international Wayne Rooney. The Fire are going after a Poland international. Orlando City SC is getting a new coach and will likely acquire more talent during the season. And you really can’t count out MLS champs Toronto FC just yet, despite their poor start.

It seems likely that greater than 50 points will be needed to get into the Eastern Conference playoffs this season. Unless the Revolution add a DP-type player this summer, they will probably find themselves on the outside looking in. They have money from the Lee Nguyen trade. They could use upgrades in several areas, particularly at left back and maybe at number ten. They should be ready to open their wallet.

Based linearly on their first-half performance, here’s what we can project for the second-half of the season:

Overall:

Record: 6-5-7, 25 points

GF: 31

GA: 28

Home:

Record: 4-1-3, 15 points

GF: 14

GA: 8

Away:

Record: 2-4-4, 10 points

GF: 17

GA: 20

Final Standing for 2018:

Record: 12-9-13, 49 points, 58 GF, 51 GA, +7 GD

Table: 7th in Eastern Conference

What are your thoughts on the Revs’ first half of the season and how it portends for the second half? Feel free to share them in the Comments section below!