New England Soccer Today

That Bitter Feeling

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Days after his team’s playoff hopes officially met their demise in Sunday’s regular season finale, Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe was still bitter about the way the season unfolded.

Rowe, who was a significant part of the Revolution’s three-straight postseason berths from 2013-2015, took a dejected tone during the team’s final media scrum of the season on Thursday.

“It’s a feeling that no one likes,” Rowe told the media on Thursday. “I don’t want to feel this feeling again, because it’s almost like the season’s just been nothing, it’s for nothing, all the hard work we’ve put in is for nothing.”

Of course, missing the postseason isn’t new development for Rowe. The former first round pick was a part of the 2012 squad that missed the playoffs by a wide margin during what was, by all accounts, a rebuilding year with Jay Heaps taking the reins the previous winter.

But this season had little in common during Rowe’s rookie campaign. The Revolution were supposed to be contenders in 2016. They were supposed to be among the top sides in the Eastern Conference with Rowe, Diego Fagundez, Juan Agudelo and Lee Nguyen in tow. The midseason addition of Kei Kamara did nothing to temper those expectations.

New England’s arch-nemesis proved to be consistency, especially in the rear. The club spent much of the season at the top of the goals allowed charts.

Converted center back Andrew Farrell returned to his original right back spot after it became obvious he and Jose Goncalves weren’t gelling after a season-and-half together in the heart of the defense. Instability between the sticks – where Bobby Shuttleworth and Brad Knighton shared minutes – left the club without a true no. 1.

“We obviously felt like we underachieved our potential,” Nguyen told the media on Thursday. “Obviously, again, now watching the teams in the playoffs, it hurts a little bit, because we feel like we should be there, but we didn’t do enough early on in the season to give us a chance.”

It wasn’t just the early part of the season that doomed the Revolution. After it took five games to clinch their first win of the season, the club suffered not one, but two six-game winless streaks before finally catching their form in September.

“We can’t go on streaks like that,” Nguyen said. “The summers have been what has killed us, so we have got to focus on that. I think we have to come in with a mentality next year that, you know, we’re not just a team that’s going to compete to make it into the playoffs.”

If those sentiments sound eerily similar to last year’s offseason assessments, it’s because the Revolution still can’t seem to escape the clenches of the summertime swoon. And while the players are fully aware of the problem, it is, ultimately, the job of the coaching staff to keep the squad from repeating the same mistakes.

Heaps will be back for 2017, per a report from the Boston Globe. But unless the squad puts the skids on a regression that’s spanned the last two seasons, it might be his final year at the helm.

In the meantime, players like Nguyen and Rowe are wholly focused on a strong offseason if only to avoid another autumn without a playoff game to prepare for.

“I’m going to come back as good as I can and as fit as I can,” Rowe said, “because this offseason is going to be too long for me mentally, and I can’t wait to get back.”

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