Friday, May 17, 2013
Revs head to Houston to face Dynamo
By Brian O'Connell
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In a sense, the Revolution couldn’t have picked a better time than this weekend to go down to Houston to face the Dynamo.
Last week, the Dynamo saw their historic unbeaten run at home come to a crashing halt at 36 straight after they fell 1-0 to Sporting Kansas City at BBVA Compass Stadium. It marked the first home loss for the defending conference champions since June 2011.
But even though the Dynamo (6-3-2, 20 points) are by no means a team on the skids, the possibility exists that the fallout from the surprising loss could carry over into Saturday’s contest against the Revolution.
“We're hoping that it does have some effect,” Revolution midfielder Ryan Guy said. “I think we'd like to continue that snap and hopefully they have a run of difficult form at home just like we're having at home. We want to take advantage of anything we can at this point."
Although Houston may be licking their wounds from last week’s disappointing loss -- one which saw them miss on a slew of opportunities to score late -- it’s been anything but a disappointing season for the second place squad.
Prior to last weekend, they reeled off a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2), and sit only one point behind New York, even with two games in hand.
New England (2-4-4, 10 points) currently sits in the seventh spot, largely due its anemic offense, which only produced two goals in its first five games.
Designated player Jerry Bengtson hasn’t scored since the season opener, and there’s no question his confidence has eroded in recent weeks.
"I think he's pressing a little bit,” Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. “There's difference between pressing and trying to work your way out of it. He's putting in effort -- it's just a matter of the decision making. And when you press, you don't make the right decisions.”
Despite Bengston’s struggles, the pieces have slowly started to fall into place for Heaps’ side in their last five. They’ve their tripled their goal total, and the attacking chances that once evaded them are finally arriving.
“I feel like we're coming together as a group now,” Heaps said. “It's a process. It's unfortunate that we're not taking our chances as well as I would like. We're creating more, but we have to be more clinical on those chances. And you know how it is: the more chances you get, the more goals you get.”
The Revolution figure to get more chances with the addition of Juan Agudelo. The 20-year-old forward, who has spent the past month recovering from a hamstring injury, appears to be ready to make his Revolution debut after participating in full training this week.
“He's obviously also got some skill,” Guy said. “(Now) it's just about getting him to gel with the guys, getting his personality involved and in the mix.”
Getting Agudelo on board with his new teammates will be crucial against the Dynamo. The Revolution have leaned heavily on their defense in the early going, and Guy mentioned that it’s about time the offense held up their end of the bargain.
“We do feel the pressure, as the attacking force, to make up for what our defense is doing really well," Guy said. “I was talking to a couple of guys on the team and the (phrase) we use is ‘when it clicks.’ I think we're just one, maybe two, clicks away from getting it just right."
The attack will need to get it just right to put Houston on its heels. Against a side as strong as the Dynamo, the Revolution can’t afford any wasted chances in front of the net.
“I think that Houston, no matter what the situation is, is a tough team,” Heaps said. “You have to go in there with a tight game plan and great energy. You have to make sure that you don't just take it on the chin from those guys, because they'll punish you.”