New England Soccer Today

Desperation Time

In a league where over half the teams make the playoffs, it’s not often a team finds itself in a must-win situation with 11 games remaining. The New England Revolution has reached that point.

Sure, the Revs could lose to the Columbus Crew on Saturday and still make the playoffs, but the margin of error is becoming frighteningly small. According to Sports Club Stats, the Revs will need 23 out of a possible 33 points in their remaining matches just to have a greater than 50% chance of reaching the postseason.

That means a loss or a draw on Saturday and the Revs can afford at most two more defeats in their final 10 games. With two of the league’s hottest teams in the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas – not to mention the best in the East in the Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls and the Crew for a second time – still on the schedule, that’s quite the tough ask.

Of course winning at Crew Stadium on Saturday still leaves the Revs in need of quite the run, but at least their chances become slightly more realistic.

But getting three points from the Crew appears a formidable task. Columbus leads the East and has lost just once in 11 home games.

The Crew will likely be without several players, including midfielders Eddie Gaven and Rich Balchan and veteran striker Jeff Cunningham, due to injury, possibly aiding the Revs cause. Those same three players were missing in the Crew’s poor performance in their 2-0 loss at Colorado on Friday.

The Revs, meanwhile, see the return of rookie center back A.J. Soares from suspension, providing a big boost to a defense that looked porous in a 3-2 loss to Chivas USA on Saturday. Striker Rajko Lekic is still out – and midfielder Sainey Nyassi will miss the match due to injury – but new Designated Player Milton Caraglio should be in better shape after playing his first competitive match in a year last weekend.

The hero of Saturday, 16-year-old Diego Fagundez, should be available to play, but is unlikely to start after making is MLS debut off the bench against Chivas. The youngster could make another late appearance depending on the situation.

Regardless of who is called upon to play up top, they’ll need to be at the top of their game to score against a Columbus team that has allowed less than goal a game this season. Shutting down the Crew’s offense, which has just two more goals than the struggling Revs, is far from an impossible task, but finding the back of the net themselves will likely be the visitor’s problem.

Saturday’s match in Columbus kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and can be seen live on Comcast Sports Net New England. The game can also be followed here on New England Soccer Today’s live blog.

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