New England Soccer Today

Five Things We Learned: #DCvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

A famous football coach in Foxboro once said it best: you are what your record says you are. To that end, the Revolution’s 1-2-5 mark is an accurate measure of how good – or how not-so-good, in this instance – the local XI is right now.

Some have tried to spin that mark as a positive – that getting points from six of your first eight is a good thing. And it would be if we lived in a world in which picking up draws was the key to being a contender. But as we learned from the 18-draw Chicago Fire in 2014, we do not live in that world.

If the eight points in eight games argument speaks to anything, it’s the dreaded “I” word: inconsistency. And that might be too kind a term given that the Revolution still needed an ill-timed Kemar Lawrence injury just to get their lone victory of the season.

Granted, the Revolution aren’t as bad as they looked in DC. Then again, they’re not much better, either. With the season a quarter of the way complete, you can start to form sound judgments on this squad. Judgments on the coaching, the offense, the defense, and everything in between.

While there’s plenty of blame to go around for the one-win Revolution, let’s take a gander at what we gleamed from Saturday’s meltdown in the nation’s capital.

1. The offense continues to undermine the Revolution’s fortunes. Yes, the two late DC goals weren’t exactly shining moments for the defense. But let’s be honest: the real reason why the hosts were able to take advantage was purely due to the fact that the squad was in crisis mode down a goal. And why were they down a goal? Because the offense couldn’t capitalize when opportunities arose both early on and shortly after the 80th minute mark. Whether it was Teal Bunbury hitting the bar, or Charlie Davies’ inability to stay onside late and finish, the real issue with the Revolution on Saturday had everything to do with the offense, which has shown itself steamboat engine efficient for much of the young season.

2. The referees are not the problem. Based on what you’re hearing from the local broadcast and seeing from the sideline, the Revolution are definitely the only squad to feel the fire from the officials this year. Bad refereeing is what’s keeping the Revolution, and the Revolution alone, down this year. Yeah, that’s it. That’s totally it. There’s just one problem with that argument: that’s not it. When the locals finally decide to put together something that passes for a complete performance on a regular basis, and the officiating is superlative in every other match across the league, then it’s a legit talking point. Until then, let’s put away mannequins and take a break from the window dressing.

3. The attack is in serious need of changes. We’ve often heard about the Revolution’s so-called “talented core,” and how it’s made them one of the most exciting teams in the east. While that group has certainly provided some honest-to-goodness entertainment over the last three years, it’s now become predictable. And when people on Twitter are noticing it, that usually means opposing coaches have probably made note, as well. Look at the way DC defended on Saturday. If it reminded you of their approach in week 2’s 0-0 draw, it’s because it was pretty much a carbon copy. And it worked. We’re not saying that the vaunted core needs to be torn down and rebuilt. What we are saying is that, well, it might behoove the brain trust to add a couple of first-team quality attackers to the mix. Preferably before the season’s over.

4. Leadership is in short supply for the post-Jermaine Jones Revolution. “The intangibles.” That was the phrase most commonly dropped after the Revolution went out and signed Jermaine Jones two summers ago. While the superstar midfielder undoubtedly delivered a certain level of class and savviness to a young New England squad, the fact is he also brought a much-needed dose of leadership. Hence, it was no surprise that he was granted the captainship less than year after his arrival. With Jones now in Colorado, it’s become evident that the Revolution have reverted the side they were before the Jones billboards went up: a meddling, middle-of-the-pack bunch. Jose Goncalves and Chris Tierney are both good locker room guys, and good leaders. But no one on the roster has the stature or resume to demand the same level accountability that Jones required from his teammates.

5. Daigo Kobayashi continues to be a bright spot. It may have seemed like Saturday’s match was all sad and mad emojis for the guests, but that would ignore the fact that one player, in particular, had himself a strong performance. As we’ve seen on more than one occasion this spring, the introduction of Daigo Kobayashi sparked the attack in the latter stages. The veteran midfielder not only completed all seven of his passes but helped steer the attack toward a couple of dangerous chances before the tent collapsed. He may not be the spry chicken he once was, but the 33-year-old continues to showcase the skill and precision that his younger teammates have collectively lacked on a consistent basis this spring.

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