New England Soccer Today

Roundtable: What’s Ailing the Attack?

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

After they were shut out in Colorado and held to four shots in Dallas, there’s no escaping the fact the Revolution offense has struggled out of the gate yet again this season.

With the scoring woes a prominent storyline this spring, our writers give their takes on what they think is ailing the offense.

Don’t forget – we also want to hear from you! What do you think is holding back the Revs attack?

Sean Donahue: One word: Schedule. Look, I hate excuses, but if you told me you thought the Revolution would come away with any points from road matches at Colorado and FC Dallas, I’d have told you you’re being unrealistic. The struggles have been both offensive and defensive, but there are reasons it’s too soon to panic on both. Offensively, the Revolution faced two of the top three teams in goals against in 2016 to start the season, on the road. Add that to the Revolution’s frequent struggles offensively to open the year, and while disappointing, it’s no shock. That Lee Nguyen was much more active in the second game is an encouraging sign there that things will turn around. Defensively, you have got two new center backs with no MLS experience, a goalkeeper with one MLS appearance entering the year and a new defensive midfielder – to expect mistake-free performances by game two would be crazy. If we are seeing some of the same mistakes by the end of April, I would start to worry.

Greg Johnstone: Sometimes the best defense is a good offense, and in the first two weeks, almost by choice, there’s been no offense generated by the Revs. The Revolution tried (and failed) at keeping their opponent’s off the board by keeping everyone behind the ball and parking the bus. I don’t think it’s a long-term problem with this team, as they should play stronger offensively at home and against weaker opponents. However, if New England wants to be competitive, they need a better showing that their 2016 record of 2-10-5 with a -17 goal differential and they won’t achieve that playing for one point. I blame the Revolution’s early season’s struggles on their inability to counterattack and play offensively on the road.

Brian O’Connell: I think two things are hurting the offense: predictability and personnel. On the former, you can count on one hand how many crosses the squad has completed so far this season. Quite simply, the over reliance on Chris Tierney to open up the offense is something the opposition is keying on particularly well. On the latter, it’s curious that Lee Nguyen has featured as the secondary forward when you have a healthy Juan Agudelo at your disposal. Yes, the physical forward is technically sound enough to get the job done as the no. 10. And that’s great. But, um, he’s a forward. A pretty good one, at that. The assignment calls to mind the Andrew Farrell-at-center back experiment. Until the Revolution sort these issues out, they’ll continue to hit the same speed bumps seen during the first 180 minutes of the season.


  1. Mohammed

    March 23, 2017 at 6:39 am

    It’s all Heaps’ fault he makes them park the bus and then people wonder why we don’t score goals. Yes I understand the 2 teams we faced are very good and they were away games but still. Secondly we saw what Juan Agudelo can do when healthy and when he has the ball at his feet infront of goal, why is he playing CAM and not ST. Lee Nyugen is a play maker the offense goes through him so playing him at CAM is much smarter. Defensively I think we will be ok moving forward. Once we piece together the offense we should be good.

  2. Rick Sewall

    March 24, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    I agree with Greg that the Revs are not scoring counter attacking – type goals , and this is because Kamara, Agudela, and Nguyen don’t have it in them to do the necessary running-forechecking (like hockey) – to win a ball in their offensive end to create chances. Meeting the opposition at midfield , or close to it, will never do the job. There is too much standing around.

    Look at Leicester City- they have inferior talent , but are successful because they simply outwork the opposition, especially the forwards. The Revs, who are probably in a similar situation in that they may not be as talented as the opposition, should look more closely at this strategy. Good forechecking creates chances, and doing this often results in goals.

    The Revs need a winger who can effectively challenge opposing backs. The only one who even tries to do this is Bunbury. Effective wing play really upsets a defense. The short passing style the Revs are currently relying on is too easy to defend. Other scoring methods are needed.

  3. Rick Sewall

    March 25, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Brian- agreed that the Agudelo- Nguyen roles should be reversed.

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