The New England Revolution headed into a prior week in good shape after a win at home in Gillette Stadium against New York City FC. They had two away games in quick succession on Saturday and then Tuesday. The Boys in Blue failed to take points away from those games against New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo. It continued as they lost again at home against CF Montreal.
Last season, with two games to go, the team had already clinched the playoffs. New England watched as the Seattle Sounders lost. At that moment, the Revolution clinched the Supporters’ Shield. The talented team battled to a well-fought draw in Orlando. In the next game, the Revs would set the Major League Soccer single-season points record.
What happened between then and now? The distinction between the 2022 iteration of this team and 2021’s phenomenal showing was that they had scored 18 more total goals at this part of the season. The more interesting difference between these two teams is that the eventual record breakers had allowed only eight fewer goals than the current team.
New England’s injuries and sales hinder their strong offense
The New England Revolution need to be more clinical in front of the goal. Maybe, Omar Gonzales having a good run of form early in the season could have helped, but that’s a story for another time. The Revs now need their players to continue their scoring prowess.
Within the first ten games, there was only one where they didn’t score any goals. Fast forward to now, in their last ten games, New England had three instances of failing to score. So, to what could we attribute this lack of goals? Injuries, injuries, injuries, and becoming a selling club.
The scorers in those first ten were Bye, Lletget, Gil, Boateng, Altidore, Rennicks, Buksa, Polster, and Jones. And if you also look at the last ten matches right now, they’re also missing a talented goalscorer from 2021, Gustavo Bou.
The Argentinian became injured for two months between March to May. Gustavo then found himself hurt again in August for about a month. The mid-season form “La Pantera” that scored seven goals from May to August did not return.
Bou was in form at the right time, but that’s also when we lost Adam Buksa, a true number 9 Designated Player. Adam went to RC Lens for ten million dollars. He left in Mid-June. The Polish striker now still matches Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil for the Golden Boot. Since then, the team’s prolific scorers found some issue scoring.
With Buksa leaving, we acquired Giacomo Vrioni as our new Designated Player. Vrioni is young (23) and a very talented goalscorer. He topped the Austrian Bundesliga in goals at 19 in 2021, tied with another youngster sold to Borussia Dortmund, Karim Adeyemi. However, Giacomo has only played a total of 112 minutes as of now due to injury.
At the beginning of the season, the Revs missed a skilled winger. Tajon Buchanan was sold in the offseason to Club Brugge for around 7 million dollars. Bruce Arena acquired a Columbian winger to replace him during the summer.
Dylan Borerro was the answer as soon as he graced the field for the Revs. He also ended up injured recently. Dylan helped out Gustavo Bou while scoring two goals and assisting on one in the middle of the season but ended up injured in Mid-August. The goals scored by the Revs recently haven’t been the usual suspects.
The New England Revolution need players to step up their accuracy
Currently, the New England Revolution scored 44 goals in 2022. One goal shy, 2021’s top four offensive players completed 43 goals scored last year. It also only took 14 players to amount to the 65 total goals they scored on their way to the Supporters’ Shield. The Boys in Blue in 2022 needed 17 players to contribute to get where they are goal-wise.
Why has it been this way? The significant detriment to this team is their inability to finish their chances. If you take all the attacking players over 200 minutes and pile them up, the top five shots on target percentages are as follows, in order:
- Matt Polster
- Tommy McNamara
- Ema Boateng
- Damien Rivera
- Noel Buck
Never mind that Adam Buksa, Gustavo Bou, and Carles Gil are still two more further down the list. No wonder this team can’t compete with last season’s talent. New England is not fielding players that regularly test the goalkeeper enough.
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When looking at the shots that make it on the frame, the Revolution are unable to turn targeted strikes into goals. Of players who contribute 30 percent or more accuracy, there are only two attackers that convert over one-third of their SOT. Justin Rennicks is one of those two; he’s the only one that’s a current member of the squad.
Aim, fire, and score goals to even ponder the playoffs
If the New England Revolution want to turn their one percent chance to get into the playoffs into reality, there needs to be an attempt to be less wasteful. Players like DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bye that end up attacking from defensive positions need to make better choices. DJ and Brandon both have 20+ shots and only 1 or 2 goals.
“I think maybe we don’t deserve to be in the playoffs because I think we’re not a competitive team now.”
Those players have a chance to give others a shot with a better chance to score. It might be tempting to shoot, but the statistics prove that neither should be shooting. The team needs them to be continuing to facilitate great goals. Staring at the last three games should provide some inspiration to do better in front of the net. Two goals in the previous three are not good enough.
As Carles Gil said post-game in Houston, “I think maybe we don’t deserve to be in the playoffs because I think we’re not a competitive team now.”
There’s a lot to be desired from this Revolution squad in September. If the team can show they still have the fight, the fans will follow anywhere. It starts with scoring in a similar showing to the NYCFC game. The New England Revolution faces Atlanta United at home on October 1.
Let’s watch to see if they can provide the spark.