W2W4: Revs-Rapids, Wed., 7:30 p.m.

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
The New England Revolution (7-11-2, 23 points) will do all they can to avoid the record book when they face the Colorado Rapids (8-6-6, 30 points) at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium.

The Revolution, who have dropped eight straight going into the midweek match, are one loss away from matching the team record of nine, which was set twice in 1997 and 1998. The current streak already is the club's longest during the post-shootout era (2000-present).

Their latest setback came at the hands of the Columbus Crew on Saturday after Ethan Finlay scored the game-winner for the guests in the 84th minute of a 2-1 victory. Adding to the Revolution’s misery: starting left back and set piece specialist Chris Tierney was forced to exit Saturday’s match early with an MCL sprain, which will keep him out of Wednesday’s game.

While the local XI have been streaking in the wrong direction, the Rapids have lost only once in their last five games (2-1-2). Their most recent success came last Friday in a 3-0 thrashing of Chivas USA. Nick LaBrocca’s 16th-minute goal proved to be all the Rapids needed to secure the victory.

With the home stretch approaching and points for both sides becoming more important with each passing week, here’s what to watch for on Wednesday.

No time to dwell on defeats. Ask any athlete and they’ll tell you the same thing: The best elixir to soothe the sting from losing is the opportunity to get back on the field ASAP. Fortunately for the Revolution, they won’t have to wait an entire week for another chance to reverse their recent woes. And with Wednesday's match taking place on their home turf, the Revolution really couldn’t ask for a much better scenario to put the losing streak out to pasture.

“I think it’s a good thing we have a game coming up quick,” Revolution center back A.J. Soares told reporters on Monday. “It just kind of gives us a chance to go out there without thinking too hard, and try to get back to just playing flowing football like we were doing when we were winning all those games.”

Can the Revolution take advantage of the injury-ravaged Rapids? Last week’s 3-0 victory was a fitting way to celebrate a night in which longtime player and current coach Pablo Mastroeni was honored at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. But any positive vibes the Rapids hoped to carry into Gillette Stadium on Wednesday diminished somewhat with the news that Deshorn Brown (groin), Jose Mari (ankle) and Shane O’Neill (knee) are unlikely to play due to injury. Coupled with the travel for a midweek match two time zones to the east, the Rapids look far from formidable heading into the match.

Rapids tough opponent to read. Although the Rapids won’t be able to field their strongest lineup, it would be a stretch to say that the task at hand will be easier for the Revolution. Quite the opposite. With at least three changes expected in the Rapids’ lineup, Revolution coach Jay Heaps surely is going to have to pay close attention to the film and scouting reports to prepare for a variety of different looks and/or approaches from Mastroeni’s side.

“You don’t know what you’re getting because they change their lineup so much,” Heaps told reporters on Monday. “Pablo is doing an excellent job there and he’s rotating the team, and they’ve got a depth of players to choose from.”

How will Tierney’s absence affect an already slumping offense? Chris Tierney has long been a steady member of the Revolution back four, and Heaps will be the first to admit it. But it was interesting to hear the Revolution coach emphasize Tierney’s importance to the attack. The left back’s crosses from the run of play and service on set pieces have been crucial to the team’s success in the final third. Without Tierney’s presence, Heaps will need others -- including Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen -- to keep the attack from falling off the shelf completely.

Confidence hasn’t waned for Revolution. Normally, an eight-game losing streak would shake any team’s collective confidence. When the goals are scarce and the mistakes are commonplace, it’s easy for self-doubt to creep into the players’ and coaches’ minds. But according to Soares, the spirit inside the locker room is far from broken.

“I think you could see against Columbus, we played good soccer, we easily could have won the game, and unfortunately we didn’t,” Soares said. “But coming out of that game, we felt like we did enough to win, so it’s not a confidence issue.”

Crew's Parkhurst enjoys winning return

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For what may have been the first time in his life, center back Michael Parkhurst had no choice but to root against the New England Revolution on Saturday.

Parkhurst, who grew up Cranston, Rhode Island, supporting the Revolution, went on to play for his hometown club from 2005 to 2008. But on Saturday, the script was entirely different for the 29-year-old defender, who returned to Gillette Stadium for the first time in six-plus years -- but as a member of the Columbus Crew.

"It's good to be back," Parkhurst said after Saturday's 2-1 win for the Crew. "I've got a lot of family and friends here and a lot of good memories here for four good years, so it was nice to get back and see some people."

It was a warm homecoming to be certain for Parkhurst. According to the Crew captain, between 30 and 40 friends and family were on hand to watch him play his first game in Foxborough in nearly seven years.

But there was no time for reminiscing for Parkhurst on Saturday. In a match that both teams needed points from, the Crew captain was called upon to strengthen the backline, which was called upon to step up after the Revolution collected nine first-half corner kicks.

Not only did the Crew defense hold firm during the first half, but Parkhurst nearly factored into the scoring in the 65th minute. A corner kick from Federico Higuain -- who scored the Crew's first goal in the 44th minute -- found Parkhurst, who quickly played it to Chad Barson. Using a nifty back heel, Barson nearly slid it through before Lee Nguyen ushered it away from the line to keep it a 1-1 match.

"I just reacted and I think I got a knee on it," Parkhurst said. "Chad did well on it to get a back heel because he was facing away from the goal, but yeah, it's unlucky I guess."

Unlucky or not, the Crew eventually claimed the game winner in the 84th minute when Justin Meram found Ethan Finlay on a well-timed run into the box, where he slotted it through. The win was the Crew's second straight after stumbling through a seven-game winless streak during the early part of the summer.

"It was a big game," Parkhurst said. "[It was] two teams that have been struggling as of late, so it was an important three points for us."

Even though Parkhurst wasn't the only one in the Crew locker room savoring the road win, the former Revolution supporter and player couldn't help but harbor some empathy for the team across the hall.

"I feel for New England and what they're going through right now because we just went through it as well; it's tough," Parkhurst said. "But for us it's great, we've got to build some momentum and we're starting to do that."

Revs answer deficit, still come up short

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Conceding a first-half goal wasn’t exactly a new development to the Revolution on Saturday. But their response coming out of the half was a sight unseen for the team in recent weeks.

After Federico Higuain smashed a 44th-minute free kick into the back of the net, the Revolution had two choices: Let the goal negatively affect them, or regroup and find a way to respond.

Although a late Ethan Finlay goal sent the Crew to a 2-1 win, the Revolution managed to fight their way back from Higuain’s goal and, at times, contest for the lead in front of the Foxborough faithful.

New England Revolution
David Butler II/USA TODAY SportsThe Revolution couldn't stop Federico Higuain's free kick for the game's first goal, but did have some positive play after that.

“Obviously, it was a tough way to go in at halftime after we broke the game plan a little bit,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “With that being said, I think that we came in with the right energy after halftime.”

Higuain’s goal marked the eighth straight occasion in which the Revolution conceded the opening goal to their opponent. In recent weeks, those goals put the team on its heels as replies of any kind were hard to find.

But on Saturday, Heaps’ team figured out a way to answer back for the first time since a July 4 contest in Salt Lake.

Five minutes after halftime, the Revolution renewed their efforts in the final third. A Patrick Mullins pass found Kelyn Rowe, who cut into the box and fired a shot that Steve Clark managed to get enough of to steer wide of the frame.

At first blush, it appeared that if Rowe couldn’t score on such a tempting opportunity, then there would be no chance at all for the Revolution to find the response needed to match wits with the Crew.

But on the subsequent corner kick, Rowe uncorked an outswinger that A.J. Soares met at the near post to score the goal that proved elusive in the first half.

“That goal from A.J. was big time,” Revolution midfielder Teal Bunbury said. “It lifted all of our spirits, and I think in our mind we thought, ‘Hey we’re going to win this game now, no question.’”

The equalizer certainly lifted the Revolution’s spirits immediately after. They tipped the possession scale in their favor in the 10 minutes that followed. Their intent to secure another goal was impossible to overlook.

At the forefront of that effort was none other than Diego Fagundez, who’s attacking prowess had waned during the Revolution’s recent slide. The creative winger found plenty of opportunities to operate in the flank space the Crew left behind by their fullbacks.

“Diego is the type of player that needs service, and he needs to help along the way,” Heaps said. “I think guys were looking for him a little more tonight, and he was getting more of the ball.”

And when Fagundez wasn’t pushing the issue, he was keeping the Crew at bay not once, but twice. Successive corner kicks from Higuian allowed Tony Tchani and Bernardo Anor free headers at the near post. But each one was cleared off the line by Fagundez, who dutifully guarded the post both times.

Despite their best efforts, the Revolution still needed a goal to get their first lead since late May. A lead that, coupled with sound defense, would finally put their losing streak to rest.

But their search put them in a vulnerable position in the 84th minute. Only moments after he entered the match, Justin Meram caught the pressing Revolution flatfooted when he put a pass ahead to Finlay. The Crew midfielder proceeded to beat Darrius Barnes -- the last defender -- before he fired it into the back of the net for the winner.

Although the Revolution’s energy and effort was never in question, the one area where the Revolution continued to come up short on Saturday was all too evident: execution.

“We had some chances that we did not finish,” Heaps said. “Eventually, it came down to one or two of those chances that could have helped us win the game.”

Rapid Reaction: Crew 2, Revs 1

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- An all-too-familiar theme played itself out at Gillette Stadium on Saturday after the New England Revolution conceded an early goal and fell short at the end in a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew.

For the eighth straight game, the Revolution allowed the first goal of the game, with Federico Higuain doing the honors in the 44th minute. A.J. Soares leveled it in the 50th minute, but Ethan Finlay’s 84th-minute goal kept the Revolution from getting the win.

The loss extended the Revolution’s losing streak to eight, while the Crew collected their second straight win.

Scoreboard watch: The draw dropped the Revolution (7-11-2, 23 points) to sixth in conference, while the Crew (6-7-8, 26 points) jumped to the fifth spot.

What it means: Higuain’s goal before the interval was further proof of how cruel the game can be. The Revolution came out of the gate with guns blazing and pressed the issue early. By the 22nd minute, they’d already earned nine corner kicks and were carrying the better of play in the final third. Shots from Teal Bunbury and Diego Fagundez offered early hope to the Foxborough faithful, who hadn’t witnessed their team claim three points in more than two months. But the hosts’ first-half efforts simply weren’t enough when Higuain drilled a 25-yard free kick into the upper 90 to kill any hope the Revolution harbored of going into the half on level terms.

Whatever coach Jay Heaps said at halftime seemed to work as Soares’ header tied the match in the 50th minute. Yet the Crew responded with a flourish in the waning stages, and Finlay exploited a hole in the Revolution defense when he tallied the game-winner late. At this juncture of the season, the Revolution must find a way to put forth a complete effort on both ends of the pitch, lest the postseason race pass them by.

Stat of the match: Soares’ equalizer was the first goal the Revolution scored off a corner kick this season.

Parkhurst returns to Foxborough: Former Revolution center back Michael Parkhurst made his first appearance at Gillette Stadium in six years as a member of the Crew. The Providence, Rhode Island native was drafted by the Revolution in 2005 and earned Rookie of the Year honors at the end of the season. Two years later, he picked up Defender of the Year, the first Revolution player to win the award. Following the 2008 season, he signed with Danish side Nordsjælland.

Caldwell gets nod at six spot: Scott Caldwell earned a second straight start at holding midfielder on Saturday. Last week, Caldwell claimed the spot with A.J. Soares serving a one-game ban for the red card received in the Revolution’s 5-1 loss to Los Angeles on July 16. Soares returned to his usual spot at center back.

Tierney exits early with injury: Chris Tierney’s night came to a premature end near the 20th minute after he suffered a left knee injury. The knock forced coach Jay Heaps to send in Darrius Barnes to replace the veteran left back.

Imbongo makes rare cameo: Rarely used striker Dimitry Imbongo made only his second appearance of the season when he came on for Patrick Mullins in the 68th minute. Imbongo’s last action in league play came in a 0-0 draw vs. Vancouver on March 22.

Short turnaround ahead: The Revolution will get a brief break before they return to the field on Wednesday when they face the Colorado Rapids at Gillette. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Last year, the Rapids claimed a 2-1 win over the Revolution on July 17 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

W2W4: Revs-Crew, 7:30 p.m. ET

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
A familiar face returns to Gillette Stadium on Saturday as the New England Revolution (7-10-2, 23 points) get set for a conference clash against Michael Parkhust and the Columbus Crew (5-7-8, 23 points). Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

It will be the first time Parkhurst, who played for the Revolution from 2005 to 2008, will face his former club. During his four years in New England, the Providence, R.I., native was named 2005 Rookie of the Year and 2007 MLS Defender of the Year.

The Revolution enter the match a frustrated bunch after dropping seven straight, a streak that stretches back to late-May. Their most recent loss came at the hands of FC Dallas, who beat the local XI 2-0 last Saturday at FC Dallas Stadium.

Similarly, the Crew’s season has hit the rocks in recent weeks. Although they claimed a 2-1 win over the Impact last Saturday at Crew Stadium, it was their first victory in eight tries going back to mid-May.

Meanwhile, coach Gregg Berhalter was afforded the opportunity to test his team’s depth in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw to EPL side Crystal Palace.

With both sides looking to put their struggles behind them, here’s what to watch for on Saturday:

Can Revs contain Higuain? It’s no secret that the best way to diffuse the Crew offense is to take Federico Higuain out of the picture. Of course, doing so is easier said than done. The creative Argentine is one of the league’s most technical players. What’s more, his uncanny knack for playing the right pass on a regular basis allows teammates like Ethan Finley (4 goals, 2 assists) and Bernardo Anor (4 goals, 14 shots on goal) to do some of the heavy lifting in the final third.

“Higuain is always an important player for what they’re doing,” coach Jay Heaps said earlier this week. “He’s in a nice elusive role underneath their striker.”

Once again, who starts at holding midfielder? For the fourth time in less than a month, uncertainty surrounds the six spot. Last week, Scott Caldwell filled the void while A.J. Soares served his red-card suspension. But earlier this week, Heaps hinted that the opponent’s strengths will dictate who starts from game to game. Given the need to stop Higuain, Heaps might be tempted to go with the grittier Soares over the creatively-inclined Caldwell this week.

Execution in final third must improve. It’s not for lack of chances that the Revolution attack has sputtered in recent weeks. The team ranks second in the conference in total shots per game (14) and shots on target (4.8). Clearly, creating the opportunity isn’t the issue. What’s plaguing the Revolution is their startling inability to beat the opposing keeper, as their scant 0.43 goals/game average would indicate.

“We have to finish,” Revolution forward Charlie Davies said earlier this week. “We have to be more effective and efficient, but it’s there. We proved it in the beginning of the season, and I think that at the end of the year, all this pain and agony of the past seven games will really help us for the playoff push.”

Will Davies get another start up top? In response to a dreadful performance in a 5-1 loss to the Galaxy, Heaps made a number of changes to his lineup last Saturday. The most notable: starting the rarely-used Davies up top. Although the offense as a whole continued to struggle in the 2-0 loss, the forward’s individual performance was promising. He drew a team-high three fouls and connected on 92 percent of his passes. But whether those numbers are enough to warrant a second start remains to be seen.

Home cooking the remedy? No one would call the Revolution’s recent two-game road trip a leisurely excursion. As if a cross-country flight to Los Angeles for a midweek match against the streaking Galaxy wasn’t tough enough, the Revolution went right back to airport to face FC Dallas three days later. Although travel shouldn’t be used as an excuse for getting outscored 7-1 during the trip, Revolution defender Darrius Barnes is embracing the opportunity to use a week’s rest and home-field advantage to jump-start the club on Saturday.

“I feel like there’s no better place to snap that losing streak than to come home and do it,” Barnes told revolutionsoccer.net on Thursday. “I think the team’s spirits are still high. Even though we’re a little more than halfway through the season, and we’re not playing the way we want to, we’re in a decent spot in the table.”

Revs to face old friend Parkhurst

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Six months after trading Michael Parkhurst for allocation money and the fourth overall pick at last January’s SuperDraft, the New England Revolution will face their former back-line anchor when the Columbus Crew come to town on Saturday.

Michael Parkhurst
AP Photo/Luis M. AlvarezMichael Parkhurst, who spent four years with the Revolution, visits Gillette on Saturday with the Columbus Crew.

Parkhurst, who spent four years in New England (2005-2008) before departing for Danish side FC Nordsjaelland, returned to MLS in January. But even though the Revolution had the first crack at signing the 2007 MLS Defender of the Year, the organization took a different course of action.

“At the time, you’re trying to assess the situation for what it is,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “Where we were with our back line, where we were from a salary cap standpoint, and where we were in the draft, all three of those things weighed into getting a first-round pick and getting a significant amount of money.”

With center back Jose Goncalves coming off a Defender of the Year-caliber campaign, and the amount of money the club invested to bring him back for a second season, the front office decided to trade Parkhurst, who would be commanding $300,000 for the 2014 season.

In addition to saving on costs, the trade netted them additional funds in the form of allocation money, as well as Steve Neumann -- who the Revolution drafted with the fourth overall pick.

Heaps, who played on the same back line as Parkhurst for four years, said he wasn’t excited at the prospect of trading away his former teammate.

“He’s a great player and someone that was a teammate of mine,” Heaps saId. “He’s someone that I respect all the way around. Those decisions are never easy, but you try to weigh them to the best of your ability at the time.”

Soares at holding midfielder?

Earlier this month, the Revolution were forced into a corner after starting midfielder Andy Dorman was suspended due to yellow card accumulation. And the player who stepped in to fill the void certainly raised some eyebrows.
Although Scott Caldwell spent much of last season inhabiting the holding midfielder’s spot, Heaps went against the grain. Instead of Caldwell, Heaps tabbed center back A.J. Soares despite the fact that the fourth-year defender had never played the position during his professional career.

“You try and find the right pieces that we feel is best for each game,” Heaps said, “and usually game tactics and where we feel the player could best benefit (are factored).”

To date, Soares has filled the holding midfielder’s spot twice: at Salt Lake (July 4) and at Los Angeles (July 16) after Dorman was shelved with an MCL sprain. Soares received a red card during the 5-1 loss at Los Angeles, allowing Caldwell to reclaim his spot, at least temporarily, at Dallas last Saturday.

On paper, another candidate who appeared to be a possible replacement was center back Stephen McCarthy, who entered the league as a holding midfielder as a rookie in 2011. However, he said he hasn’t had discussions with Heaps about reprising the role.

But even though the notion hasn’t been discussed in light of Dorman’s injury, Heaps didn’t dismiss the possibility of putting McCarthy into the role at some point in the future.

“We always assess a lot of those roles and it also matters how a player’s playing, the form their in and what they can bring physically at the time, and where they are in our assessment,” Heaps said.

Davies would love to play at Fenway

Revolution forward Charlie Davies will be at Wednesday’s Liverpool-AS Roma friendly at Fenway Park, and is interested to see how the dynamics of playing on a baseball field play out for the European powerhouses.

When asked what he thinks about the idea of playing at the historic ballpark with his Revolution teammates, the Manchester, N.H., native gave his full support.

“I think it’d be awesome to see how that would work out,” Davies said. “Fenway Park is legendary. I think it’d be an awesome thing to have once a season.”

Revs show energy, fizzle on scoreboard

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
It was all but a given that lineup changes were coming for the Revolution on Saturday. The only uncertainty was which players would be shuffled.

Three days after watching his side get thrashed by the Galaxy, coach Jay Heaps made five changes to his starting XI. Exit Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, Kelyn Rowe, Diego Fagundez and Patrick Mullins. Enter Stephen McCarthy, Darrius Barnes, Scott Caldwell, Steven Neumann and Charlie Davies.

While the switches didn’t exactly clear the path to three points, Heaps nevertheless was pleased with what he saw from those who were called into action in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to FC Dallas.

Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsDarrius Barnes was one of the additions to the Revolution lineup who provided an improved effort Saturday.

“I think the guys that we inserted added a nice level of intensity,” Heaps told reporters after the match. “In that regard, we were happy, but just absolutely gutted by the result.”

The loss may have sent the Revolution to their seventh straight trip to the loss column, but it wasn’t for lack of energy or ambition, two things missing during Wednesday’s 5-1 drubbing. Heaps’ squad opened the match with a measured and precise approach, putting Dallas on its heels early.
Between the fifth and 10th minutes, the guests grabbed 70.4 percent of the possession. With the passing crisp and the tempo calm, it was all but a certainty that an early goal would come.

But that goal would belong to the hosts. Off a quick restart in the middle third, Adam Moffat played it forward to Tesho Akindele, who ripped a shot of the crossbar. Andres Escobar quickly reclaimed the ball, went to the near post and buried it as the Revolution conceded the opening goal in their seventh straight game.

“Quite frankly, I didn’t think it was a foul on our guy,” Heaps said of Lee Nguyen’s foul that led to the quick restart. “I thought it was a foul on their guy -- ball was moving and they played it quickly, and credit the play -- one ball through, and then they stayed in that positive way, and it was a good goal.”

Escobar’s goal could have sent the Revolution into another early tailspin. Instead, they recommitted their efforts, despite a number of frustrating moments in the final third.

“I thought we were going to be good enough to get something from the game, and we didn’t,” Heaps said. “But that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

New England continued to take care of the ball and moved it around the midfield with greater frequency. It was a stark departure from Wednesday’s match.

But energy and effort weren’t enough to get the Revolution over the hump. Their form in the final third only betrayed their efforts. Although the Revolution tipped the overall possession in their favor (55.4 percent), Dallas outshot them 24-9. More importantly, two of those 24 found the back of the net.

No doubt, it was a markedly improved showing for the Revolution. A late surge tested the Dallas back four, but the only goal that came belonged to the hosts after Akindele scored in the 91st minute.

“In terms of what we did tonight, in terms of energy and effort, it was a great bounce back for us,” Heaps said. “We made one mistake in the first half, and we got punished for it.”

Revs lose seventh straight, 2-0 to FC Dallas

July, 19, 2014
Jul 19
It was the same issue, just a different day, for the New England Revolution, who conceded the opening goal for the seventh straight game and witnessed FC Dallas grab a 2-0 win on Saturday at FC Dallas Stadium.

Andres Escobar became the latest to victimize the Revolution early and scored his second goal of the season in the 29th minute. Tesho Akindele put the game away in the 90+2 minute with his second goal of the season. Goalkeeper Raul Fernandez was barely tested and collected his first clean sheet of the season.

Diego Fagundez
AP Photo/LM OteroThe Revolution suffered through their seventh loss in a row Saturday night.

The Revolution have now lost seven straight, the longest streak in MLS this season. The win extends Dallas' unbeaten streak to five (3-0-2).

What it means: After posting one of their worst all-around performances Wednesday, the Revolution cleaned up many of the mistakes that plagued them in Los Angeles. Early on, they looked comfortable, with the panicked play seen Wednesday nothing more than a fading memory. But it wasn't all butterflies and rainbows for the Revolution. A quick Dallas restart paved the way for Escobar to put it past Bobby Shuttleworth at the near post, while the Revolution offense struggled to file a reply. Simply put, the Revolution lacked the execution in the final third to test Fernandez, who needed just three easy saves to seal the victory for Dallas. About the only thing working in the Revolution's favor at the present moment is a home date against the floundering Crew (0-3-4 in the past seven) on Saturday.

Stat of the match: Steve Neumann fired the Revolution's first shot on goal in the 83rd minute, a surefire sign of his squad's struggles inside the final third.

Heaps rolls out revamped lineup: Three days after watching his side suffer a 5-1 loss in Los Angeles, Revolution coach Jay Heaps made a number of changes to the starting XI for Saturday's match. Among the most notable included the additions of Stephen McCarthy (center back), Steve Neumann (outside midfielder) and Charlie Davies (striker), all of whom earned their first starts of the season. Meanwhile, Scott Caldwell (defensive midfielder) saw his name penciled into the lineup for the first time since March 15.

On the flip side, hamstring tightness kept Jose Goncalves on the bench, while AJ Soares served his red card suspension. Patrick Mullins, Kelyn Rowe and Diego Fagundez were not listed on the injury report and were presumably dropped from the lineup following their unspectacular performances Wednesday.

Tierney serves as captain: With Goncalves unable to start, veteran left back Chris Tierney wore the armband against FC Dallas. It was the first time Tierney had served as captain since March 15 at Philadelphia.

Back to Foxborough: The Revolution will be back home on July 26, when they host old friend Michael Parkhurst and the Columbus Crew. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The contest will be Parkhurst's first against the Revolution, who drafted him in the first round of the 2005 SuperDraft. The Providence, Rhode Island, native spent four years in New England (2005-08), where he won Rookie of the Year (2005) and Defender of the Year (2007) before departing for an opportunity abroad with Danish side Nordsjælland.

W2W4: Revs-FC Dallas, 9 p.m. ET

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
There’s nothing better than a short turnaround to put an embarrassing loss on the back burner. In that vein, the New England Revolution (7-9-2, 23 points) will look for quick redemption against FC Dallas (7-7-5, 26 points) on Saturday at FC Dallas Stadium. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET.

The Revolution enter Saturday’s match anxious to erase the memories of a 5-1 thrashing they took from the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday at the StubHub Center. The match not only extended the team’s losing streak to six, but the five goals conceded marked the most the Revolution have given up in more than four years.

On the flip side, Dallas is not only unbeaten in its past four (2-0-2), but will be well-rested going into Saturday’s match. In their last league match back on July 4, the Hoops grabbed a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union in front of the home crowd.

With the Revolution anxious to end their streak, and Dallas aiming to extend its run, here’s what to watch for during Saturday’s clash in FC Dallas Stadium.

Tired legs not the primary concern for Revolution: Saturday’s duel with Dallas will be the third game of an eight-day span that will see the Revolution rack up nearly 11,000 air miles before they return back to Boston. Naturally, coach Jay Heaps will need to manage his team accordingly. But according to the third-year coach, the bigger challenge is getting his players’ minds off of Wednesday’s loss.

“It’s more psychological,” Heaps told the media on Friday. “Everyone was down after the game, and rightfully so. We should be, because it was a terrible performance across a lot of sectors. Today, it was more about anger, more about getting back up and saying ‘Let’s get back after it.’”

Who’ll get the call at defensive midfielder?: For the second straight game, Heaps will be forced to shuffle his lineup to accommodate the gaping hole at the six spot. After Andy Dorman suffered an MCL sprain in last weekend’s contest against Chicago, A.J. Soares was given the start on Wednesday. But a 29th-minute red card will make Soares a bystander for Saturday’s match while he serves his one-match ban. Without Dorman or Soares available, Heaps could tab Scott Caldwell, who manned the holding midfielder’s spot last year, against Dallas. Another option: defender Andrew Farrell, who saw time at the spot during the preseason.

Opportunity on the horizon for reserves?: With many regulars already weary from the travel, as well as the high-paced tempo of Wednesday’s match, Heaps will likely ask his some of his backups to step up on Saturday. After watching his defense get torched for five goals, Heaps might call upon defenders Kevin Alston and Stephen McCarthy to strengthen the rear. In the midfield, substitute Steve Neumann may have played himself into consideration for a start. Up top, Jerry Bengtson and Charlie Davies may be in line for minutes given the lack of production seen from Patrick Mullins as of late.

“You’re always trying to find the right pieces,” Heaps said. “But at the same time, there are guys who deserve an opportunity because certain guys aren’t getting it done.”

Will Heaps go with the 4-4-2 formation again?: Looking for any opportunity to provide his team with a much-needed spark, Heaps scrapped the customary 4-1-4-1 for the more traditional 4-4-2 formation on Wednesday. While the early returns weren’t exactly positive, the early red card to Soares robbed the Revolution of an opportunity to get fully acclimated to it. Whether Heaps sticks with the four-man midfield, or reverts back to a five-man look, all depends upon who mans the six spot. If it’s Caldwell, expect the Revolution to return to the 4-1-4-1. If it’s Farrell, the 4-4-2 may get another look on Saturday.

Keeping the right perspective: A six-game losing streak isn’t exactly a confidence booster by any means, but to say that the season is doomed for the Revolution is a stretch. Despite their recent woes, the Revolution remain above the red playoff line. Plus, with plenty of parity in the East this year, the conference standings have remained in flux for much of the season. Sure, the Revolution haven’t exactly performed like contenders in recent weeks. But it’s far too early to start making funeral arrangements.

“There’s a lot of games left to play, so you just have to stay positive,” Nguyen told the media on Friday. “You just have to keep pushing through and know that you just have to keep fighting.”

Formation shift didn't help Revs in L.A.

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
Jay Heaps had to do something to turn the tide on his squad's five-game losing streak going into Wednesday's clash against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

With Andy Dorman sidelined for the next 10-12 weeks, and New England's offense struggling to score since late May, the Revolution coach scrapped the 4-1-4-1 formation in favor of a 4-4-2 against one of the hottest teams in the league -- and at their home park.

But even though the tactical switch yielded a handful of chances in the first half, the second half proved to be another story for the Revolution, who were forced to stomach a 5-1 loss at the StubHub Center.

"We practice it and thought it was a good time to try a 4-4-2 with a diamond shape," Heaps told the media after the match. "With the personnel we had, we thought there were times in the game early on where we had chances in the run of play."

The first opportunity the Revolution found came in the eighth minute when Lee Nguyen played it quick off a restart inside the Galaxy end, finding Teal Bunbury, who chipped Jaime Penedo before A.J. DeLaGarza cleared it off the line.

But after Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes tallied in the 10th and 18th minutes, respectively, the game was quickly slipping out of the Revolution's grasp. Making matters worse: a 29th-minute red card to AJ Soares left the guests with 10 men.

With nothing to lose, the Revolution caught the Galaxy on their back heel in the 36th minute. Diego Fagundez guided a perfect ball into the path of Bunbury, who briefly corralled it inside the box before he was brought down by Dan Gargan. A penalty was awarded, and Gargan was sent off, giving the Revolution new life.

After Nguyen converted the penalty, the Revolution had to feel good about their chances for the second half. Sure, Soares' ejection sealed the new formation's fate before the half-hour mark. But according to Kelyn Rowe, the squad's spirits were high going into halftime.

"There was a little momentum swing at the end of the first half," Rowe told the media after the match. "We came in here thinking we can put some tactics together of where we want to play, and how we want to play with 10 men, 10-on-10, and we looked to go find another goal, because we needed to."

But dialing up the appropriate shape for the second half proved to be elusive. Three minutes after the break, Zardes scored his second goal to reclaim his team's two-goal lead in the 48th minute. And it didn't get much better for the guests from there.

The Revolution searched for answers, but they were nowhere to be found. Stefan Ishizaki's 75th-minute strike padded the lead, while Keane's second in the 78th minute only served to humiliate the Revolution further.

"We tried to find that first goal coming out of the second half and it didn't happen," Rowe said, "and from there you are chasing the game again, further and further, and pushing numbers. Obviously when you push numbers, you are susceptible to the counter, and they took advantage of that and put five on us."

While the first-half red cards posed an unexpected challenge for both coaches, Heaps said that the revamped formation wasn't the reason behind his team's poor showing on Wednesday.

"Our forwards did a good job battling," Heaps said. "But defensively, if you are going to leak goals, it doesn't matter what formation you are in."

Slumping Revs routed by Galaxy

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
The fresh start the New England Revolution were seeking in their first game of the second half of the season was nowhere to be seen in a humbling 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy at the StubHub Center on Wednesday.

Robbie Keane opened the scoring in the 10th minute and capped it in the 78th minute, while Gyasi Zardes also found the back of the net twice, in the 18th and 48th minutes. Stefan Ishizaki joined Keane and Zardes on the scoresheet with a goal of his own in the 75th minute. The lone measure of success from the guests came on a Lee Nguyen 38th-minute strike from the spot after Teal Bunbury was brought down inside the box by Dan Gargan.

A.J. Soares was sent off in the 29th minute, while Gargan was issued a red card of his own in the 37th minute for denying Bunbury of a goal-scoring opportunity in the play that led to Nguyen’s penalty strike. As a result, both sides finished with 10 men.

Robbie Keane
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsThe Revolution's Lee Nguyen tries to keep up with Robbie Keane, who scored twice,

With the loss, the Revolution remain stuck on 23 points (7-9-2), where they’ve been since late May, while the Galaxy ran their mark to 7-3-6 and extended their unbeaten streak to eight (5-0-3).

What it means: The first-half gremlins that have haunted the Revolution since late May were back on Wednesday, with two goals falling into New England’s net before the 20th minute. Nguyen’s goal gave his squad a dose of hope going into halftime, but Zardes’ second goal of the game put the Galaxy back in command, with Ishizaki and Keane piling it on late. Prior to the match, the Revolution spoke about approaching Wednesday’s match with a clean slate, as it coincided with the start of the second half of the regular season. Yet it’s safe to say that the Revolution are going to need much more than a renewed mindset to shake off their slumping form, which has seen them drop from the top of the conference to teetering on the red playoff line.

Stat of the match: The 5-1 loss marked the second time this season the Revolution have suffered a four-goal margin of defeat. In the season opener, the Houston Dynamo handed the Revolution a 4-0 loss.

New-look Revolution: After watching his squad’s offense produce only two goals in their last five games, Revolution coach Jay Heaps decided to switch to a 4-4-2 formation against the Galaxy. The most notable changes within the formation: a diamond midfield that featured Diego Fagundez as the central attacking midfielder, while Patrick Mullins as paired with Teal Bunbury up top.

Soares takes over for Dorman at D-Mid: With Andy Dorman shelved for at least the next 10-12 weeks with an MCL sprain, A.J. Soares filled in at defensive midfielder for the second time in the Revolution’s last three games. The fourth-year center back earned his first start in the midfield on July 4 at Salt Lake, a game that Dorman was forced to sit out due to suspension. But Soares’ night came to a premature end after he was red carded for a studs-up challenge on Juninho in the 29th minute.

Nguyen returns and scores: Revolution leading scorer Lee Nguyen was back in the lineup on Wednesday after missing last week’s match against the Fire while serving a one-game suspension. Nguyen was suspended for stomping on John Stertzer during the Revolution’s 2-1 loss to Salt Lake on July 4. But in his first game back from the ban, Nguyen collected his team-leading sixth goal of the season.

On to Big D: The Revolution will look to get back in the saddle on Saturday against FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET. The interconference clash will mark the only time the MLS originals will meet during the regular season. Last year, the Revolution dropped a 1-0 home loss to Dallas on March 30.

W2W4: Revs-Galaxy, Wed., 10:30 p.m.

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
With the first half of the regular season behind them, the New England Revolution will attempt to get the second half started on the right foot against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the StubHub Center on Wednesday. Kickoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET.

The Revolution enter the match reeling from a five-game losing streak, with their latest setback coming in a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire last Saturday. The loss not only prolonged the Revolution’s misery, but also brought their mark below .500 (7-8-2, 23 points).

While the Revolution find themselves in choppy waters, it’s been smooth sailing for the Galaxy, who enter Wednesday’s match unbeaten in their last seven (4-0-3). Last Saturday, they edged Salt Lake 1-0 in a game that saw Marcelo Sarvas score the winner in the 20th minute.

The midweek match will mark the first time since last June that the MLS originals have met. Revolution supporters remember the match fondly, as their squad blasted the defending champions 5-0 at Gillette Stadium.

Here’s what to watch for in a contest that’ll pit two squads currently traveling on opposite routes within their respective conferences:

Putting the past behind them. How does a team that’s lost its last five overcome its struggles? Well, one approach is to focus on the future, which is exactly what the Revolution are doing in their preparations for Wednesday’s contest. With the second half of the season upon them, their clash against the Galaxy is being viewed in the same light as a season opener rather than a run-of-the-mill midseason battle.

“Obviously, we’ve had some results that we’re not proud of,” Revolution forward Patrick Mullins told revolutionsoccer.net on Monday. “But I think we’re going to scratch and claw to make sure that we get the results that we need going into the last half of the season.”

Life without Dorman. One of the keys to the Revolution’s success prior to their recent struggles was the stout play of Andy Dorman, who brought much-needed bite to the six spot this season. But after suffering a potential season-ending MCL sprain during last weekend’s match, the Revolution have no choice but to make due without their steady veteran. Sophomore midfielder Scott Caldwell is the favorite to slide into Dorman’s spot, while center backs A.J. Soares and Andrew Farrell may both figure into the equation as well. Regardless of who steps in at holding midfielder, Dorman’s performance during the first half will be a tough act to follow.

Galaxy a clear and present danger. For all the talk about Galaxy poster boys Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, the fact is that Bruce Arena’s club is one of the most balanced sides in the west. Sure, Keane and Donovan have combined for 10 goals and 8 assists so far this season. But don’t overlook the Galaxy defense, which is allowing less than a goal per game this season. With solid contributions coming from both ends of the pitch, it should come as no surprise that their plus-7 goal differential is second only to the plus-11 number owned by first-place Seattle.

“They’re a quality team,” Mullins said. “They’ve got great attacking players that can hit you all over the field, with Keane up top obviously is the main guy you’d focus on.”

Will Bengston be back for more? Not a whole lot went right for the Revolution during their 1-0 loss to the Fire last weekend, but there were positives to be drawn. One of the most notable was the performance of high-priced, yet rarely-used striker Jerry Bengtson, who came on in the 65th minute to help spur the offense. And that’s precisely what he did. Lurking in the final third, the Honduran created opportunities for his teammates in the waning stages, not the least of which was drawing an 84th-minute penalty. Though the Revolution failed to convert from the spot, Bengtson nevertheless made a strong case for additional minutes.

Embracing the underdog role. Prior to the season, the Revolution were the trendy pick for playoff success. With plenty of young talent and a system that played to their strengths, many were predicting big things for the local XI this season. To no one’s surprise, the club’s five-game losing streak has quieted the praise, which is just fine for the club’s youngest player, Diego Fagundez.

“Nobody’s talking about us right now,” Fagundez told revolutionsoccer.net on Monday. “But we just have to go out there, play our hardest, make sure we’re there to play and make sure we get some points from there.”

Burns looking for help, not tipping hand

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- If Revolution general manager Michael Burns was a contestant on the World Poker Tour, it’s quite likely he’d be the one at the table adorned in a hat, sunglasses and headphones, all of which would go perfect with a full beard.

Four days after the MLS summer transfer window opened, Burns spoke about the possibility of adding to the roster, which currently has two open spots. To no one’s surprise, Burns kept his cards close to the vest -- or to complete the metaphor, the oversized hooded sweatshirt.

“We’re looking at a player, or possibly two, in this window,” Burns said prior to Saturday’s Revolution-Fire match. “We’ve had some discussions to this point, but there are a couple of areas on the field that we’re looking to strengthen.”

If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because, well, Burns essentially said the same thing during the winter window. And what he said during the winter window mirrored what he said the previous summer, which is what he ostensibly detailed -- well, you get the idea.

A particular area of concern for the Revolution this summer is up top, where rookie Patrick Mullins has shown promise, but hasn’t always answered the bell. Another spot Burns may look to bolster is the right side of the midfield, where the Revolution haven’t gotten nearly enough from Teal Bunbury.

Yet, when pressed for specifics, Burns showed no inclination to reveal which positions he felt needed to be strengthened. Instead, he stayed behind the sunglasses and hat, which he’ll likely keep for the time being, or until a target signs on the dotted line.

“I’d rather not say publicly,” Burns said. “We’ve identified a couple of positions that we’re looking to strengthen is the best I can say.”

But Burns did offer some insight into the club’s player acquisition plans for the summer window, which will remain open until Aug. 6.

For starters, Burns said that none of the players who have trialed with the team at various points during the season are being targeted at this point.

Another nugget Burns was willing to share: The players in question are both well-known to the front office and coaching staff.

“We have a couple of different scenarios right now that we’re looking at,” Burns said. “But they are players that we’ve monitored for a while.”

Whether the Revolution acquire one or two players, or leave the roster completely untouched, one thing that Burns hopes to see, above all else, is a steadier performance during the second half of the season.

“We’ve played really well, and times, we’ve struggled a little bit,” Burns said. “So we’re looking to add a guy that can come in, and hopefully can help us find a little more consistency because we’re going need that in the second half of the year.”

But even if negotiations break down with a prospective target or two between now and early August, Burns still has faith in the players already on the roster.

“There’s enough confidence within this group that we’re good enough and can compete with any team, but we haven’t shown it week in and week out,” Burns said. “That’ll be what we hope to address and change for the second half of the season, whether it’s just with the guys we have, or whether we bring in some guys that hopefully can add to that.”

Bad start dooms Revs to fifth straight loss

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Soccer can be the cruelest of games, and for evidence of that, look no further than Saturday's match between the Revolution and Fire.

In match dominated by the hosts, who put together nearly 500 passes, fired 23 shots and gathered 62.5 percent of the possession, the only number that mattered was the one posted on the scoreboard, which favored the opportunistic Fire 1-0 when the final whistle sounded.

Bobby Shuttleworth
Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY SportsRevolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth shouts instructions to his teammates Saturday.

"It's really frustrating," Revolution right back Andrew Farrell said. "You think you have the momentum and the flow of the game, and you think you're going to get something."

All signs seemed to point the Revolution getting something -- anything -- from Saturday's conference clash. An argument could be made that they deserved three points, but given the four-game losing streak the Revolution were tethered to entering the match, a single point would've sufficed.

But what prevented the Revolution from collecting points for the fifth straight game is purely attributable to an ongoing problem. Namely, another poor start.

Less than three minutes into the match, Jeff Larentowicz regained possession for the Fire in the midfield, and played it forward to Mike Magee. The Fire forward dribbled ahead before releasing Quincy Amarikwa in the box, where he fought off Farrell and chipped it through to put the Revolution into another early deficit.

"The backline and the team as a whole have been giving up some sloppy goals and that just puts us behind," Farrell said. "Once you make a mental mistake like that, (it) puts the whole team behind, and I'll take the blame for that."

Farrell may have stepped up to take responsibility for Amarikwa's goal, but he and his teammates didn't let their misfortune get in the way of recommitting themselves to the attack.

Even without leading scorer Lee Nguyen, who was suspended for Saturday's game, the Revolution uncovered plenty of chances -- chances that showcased the Revolution's firepower even without Nguyen.

In the 35th minute, Diego Fagundez played a cross intended for Teal Bunbury at the near post. But even though Bunbury couldn't reach it, the ball fell to the far post, where Daigo Kobayashi poked it just wide.

The second half saw the Revolution uncover more chances to put the match on level terms. Kelyn Rowe sent a corner kick near post for Patrick Mullins, who sent his header just over the bar. Not long after, Chris Tierney stepped up and sent a free kick from 20 yards that Sean Johnson left his feet to deny in the 65th minute.

Undaunted, the Revolution continued to improve their chances as the game progressed. The addition of substitutes Jerry Bengtson and Steve Neumann bolstered the attack, as the Fire did all they could to hang on for dear life.

"I thought we definitely had more chances, so it was a little bit of a change to a 3-5-2 (formation)," Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. "It helped out our attack and it would've been nice to punch one in there."

Late in the match, it appeared the Revolution were about to do just that. Bengtson chased down a long pass from Tierney into the box, and was felled by defender Gonzalo Segares. A penalty was awarded and, at last, it appeared that the Revolution would get the goal that eluded them all night.

"I thought it was well-deserved," Heaps said. "I thought it was earned and we were trying and we were doing everything we could."

Tierney uncorked a powerful shot from the spot toward the left post that was ticketed for the back of the net. But Sean Johnson made an acrobatic save to deny it, then quickly grabbed the rebound right off the line to seal the Revolution's fate, as cruel as it was.

But even though the Revolution ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard for the fifth straight game, Heaps credited his players' efforts, which nearly led them to their first point since May.

"No one gave up and that's for darn sure," Heaps said. "To earn a penalty kick in the 86th minute with a team that's bunkered in, it's not easy. You're trying to probe and pick teams apart, and it's unfortunate."

Rapid Reaction: Fire 1, Revolution 0

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For the fifth straight game, the New England Revolution fell into an early hole they couldn't climb out of, losing 1-0 to the Chicago Fire on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

Quincy Amarikwa scored in the third minute to put the Revolution on their back heel early, while Sean Johnson collected his second clean sheet of the season. The Revolution found a prime opportunity to equalize from the spot in the 85th minute, but Chris Tierney's shot was denied by Johnson, who preserved the win for his side.

The loss marked the Revolution's fifth in a row, while their record fell below .500 (7-8-2, 23 points). The win allowed the Fire to put the skids on a six-game winless streak (0-2-4), while boosting their mark to 3-4-10 (19 points).

What it means: While Tierney certainly shouldn't be scapegoated for the Revolution's fifth straight loss, his penalty miss was indicative of his team's fortunes on Saturday. After conceding another early goal, they looked keen to equalize in the second half, with opportunities falling to Patrick Mullins and Teal Bunbury. But the Revolution's inability to finish their chances -- an ongoing issue during their five-game losing streak -- once again undermined them against the Fire, who collected only their third win of the season in the process. At some point, the Revolution will figure it out, and find a way to break out of their scoring woes. But conceding early, which put the burden on the offense to respond, certainly didn't work to their advantage for the fifth straight week.

Stat of the match: The third-minute goal from Amarikwa was the sixth first-half goal conceded by the Revolution in their last five. During that span, the Revolution have scored only a single first-half goal.

Dorman returns, but exits early: After serving his one-game suspension against Real Salt Lake, holding midfielder Andy Dorman was back in the lineup. But his night ended prematurely after he suffered a right knee injury midway through the first half. The incident occurred when Bakary Soumare barreled into him just as he was attempting to take a shot from outside the area in the 25th minute. He initially tried to play through the pain, but four minutes later, he had to be helped off the field, with Scott Caldwell taking his spot.

Nguyen's suspension opens door for Rowe: With Lee Nguyen serving a one-game suspension for stomping on John Stertzer in last week's game at Salt Lake, Kelyn Rowe started at Nguyen's spot in the central midfield, and went 65 minutes before giving way to Jerry Bengtson. Last week, Rowe started on the right side of the midfield against Salt Lake.

Bengtson's back: Revolution striker Jerry Bengtson, back from World Cup duty with Honduras, made his first appearance in MLS action since April 27 vs. Sporting Kansas City. Bengtson came on in the 65th minute for Rowe, but failed to register a shot.

Going back to Cali: The Revolution hit the road for a midweek match against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the StubHub Center on Wednesday. Kickoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET. Wednesday's contest will be the sole meeting between the MLS originals. The last time they met, the Revolution thrashed the Galaxy 5-0 on June 2, 2013 at Gillette Stadium.