The Revolution needed to capitalize on their current three-game homestand to gain an advantage in the MLS playoff race.
Through two games, they have not.
After a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy on Aug. 28 and a scoreless draw against the Chicago Fire Wednesday, the Revolution face their toughest opponent of the stretch Sunday in New York City FC. Every point counts with six games left in the regular season.
“Like any other game, we’re going to approach it to obviously try and win,” coach Bruce Arena said Friday. “We’re in a battle for the playoffs with, what I would estimate, eight teams at this point. Everyone has challenges, but the bottom line is we need to get 3 points.”
The Revolution have fallen to ninth in the Eastern Conference standings but with 35 points are within reach of the last postseason spot, currently held by Inter Miami (36 points). NYC FC (45 points) is fourth in the conference and beat New England in their other match this season.
One change from that match: Valentín Castellanos is no longer with NYC. The dynamic forward, who had 13 goals in 17 games, was loaned for the season on July 25 to Spanish La Liga club Girona FC. NYC is 1-5-1 since.
“He was the best goal scorer in the league, so that certainly changes [New York City FC] a bit,” Arena said. “They still have a good team and they are dealing with some injuries as well, but they have a good group of attacking players.”
Goals also have been a precious commodity for the Revolution, with just one in their last three games. Arena says injuries to Dylan Borrero, Giacomo Vrioni, and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi have played a part in the drought. Defender Brandon Bye believes that as long as the team keeps generating opportunities, goals will follow.
“I think it’s everybody just committing to getting numbers forward, getting numbers in the box,” Bye said. “Our service needs to be better, me included, and then trying to get on the end of things. Set pieces can be an answer to that ... I think the goals will come. We just need to keep creating the chances.”
Arena had no injury updates on Borrero, Vrioni, and Wilfrid Kaptoum.
If there’s been a recent bright spot, it’s goaltender Djordje Petrovic. The 22-year-old has six shutouts since replacing Matt Turner in June.
“We thought [Petrovic] had the potential to be a very good goalkeeper and he’s proving that. He’s been very good since he’s been here, so we are real pleased with that,” Arena said.
Eight teams are separated by just 8 points with two Eastern Conference playoff spots seemingly up for grabs. The pressure is on for the Revolution to right the ship as points grow more valuable. Bye wants to put a positive spin on the situation.
“It’s an opportunity. Everybody is so negative,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot of negative things in the media and whatever. But at the end of the day, it’s six games left to make something happen. We’re 1 point out with six games left and it will be a fun run.”