New England Soccer Today

Best Yet to Come for Revs?

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The numbers don’t lie: after going unbeaten in 10 of their last 11, the Revolution are one of the hottest clubs in the league right now. But according fullback Darrius Barnes, one of the team’s most tenured veterans, they could be even better.

Barnes, who assisted on Lee Nguyen’s game-winner in Thursday’s 2-1 victory over the Dynamo, told the media after the match that he believes that the Revolution are capable of reaching greater heights.

“I don’t think we’re at our peak performance yet,” Barnes said. “I think this team still has tons of potential to reach, and I think we’re going to work week in and week out to achieve that.”

Few will argue that the Revolution have become one of the most formidable sides in MLS down the stretch. After making a statement win over Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park three weeks ago, some pundits are starting to call the Revolution the most dangerous team in the east going into the postseason.

But Barnes isn’t off the mark in his assessment that the Revolution haven’t reached their peak. Yes, Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones have done wonders for the attack, and players like A.J. Soares, Scott Caldwell and Charlie Davies have all made an impact. But team defense remains an area of improvement. In each of their last three contests, they’ve conceded the opening goal. And at time of the year in which low-scoring games often become the norm, the Revolution haven’t collected a clean sheet since August 30.

Despite their second half success in Thursday, Nguyen wasn’t afraid to admit that his team’s performance hit a few speed bumps in the first half, with the biggest one being Giles Barnes’ 37th minute goal.

“We had the better of it in the first half, but we just couldn’t put it away in those first 10-15 minutes,” Nguyen told the media after the match. “We let them in the game, and they kind of punished us there with that one ball (in the 37th minute), and then from there, we were playing catch up.”

Another area where the Revolution will be aiming to improve: passing accuracy. Over their last three games, their pass success number has dipped below 70 percent, with an abysmal 50 percent clip in Montreal the most glaring of example within that sample.

Mind you, the Revolution aren’t the only playoff-bound team hoping to improve. First-place D.C. has been blanked twice in their last five, and must figure out a way to fortify their offense without Luis Silva, who’ll miss the next 4-6 weeks with a hamstring injury. Third-place Sporting K.C.’s home form (6-4-6) has shown they’re no longer untouchable at Sporting Park, and they’ve struggled with consistency. Fourth-place New York has been terrible on the road (2-7-7), while fifth-place Columbus must address some of the cracks in its defense.

That said, the Revolution have shown themselves particularly resilient in recent weeks. While they’ve made mistakes, they’ve shown the mental strength to overcome them on nearly every occasion. With coach Jay Heaps making a slew of smart substitutions down the stretch, and the attack looking dangerous every week, Barnes may be right: a few tweaks could make the Revolution the team to beat in the Eastern Conference once the postseason arrives.

“I think this team has the quality to make a deep run into the playoffs,” Barnes said. “So we’re going to get ready for Toronto next weekend and then move on to the playoffs.”

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