Once again, the Revolution are stuck in another summer swoon, losing five of their last six games in all competitions.
They will look to get back on track with their next two matches coming at home. On Saturday, New England receives its biennial visit from the Los Angeles Galaxy, who have lost four in a row in MLS play.
“I think we understand that we’re fighting for our lives here as we have [our next] two games at home,” said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. “Each of them is going to be more important than the next, because we just have to get points at home. We’re going to be mindful of what we’re doing, but we’re going to be ready for anything.”
New England’s struggles have coincided with the absence of one of its pivotal players — defensive midfielder Xavier Kouassi. Since fighting through injury to score an equalizer against New York City FC on May 31, the Ivorian has been sidelined with a quadriceps injury. In his absence, the Revolution are 1-4-0 in MLS play, including two one-goal losses at Gillette Stadium.
Kouassi participated in full training the last two weeks and came on as a substitute last Thursday in the Revolution’s loss to the New York Red Bulls in the US Open Cup quarterfinals. Along with Kouassi, Kelyn Rowe will return to the Revolution lineup after representing the United States at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“Those are two starters that we’ve missed,” said midfielder Lee Nguyen. “They’re going to add a big push for us going forward this weekend and hopefully we’ll get that win.”
Under first-year coach Curt Onalfo, the Galaxy are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. They have managed just 22 points in 19 games and only one win in 10 home matches.
However, the Galaxy are filled with talented players, including a lethal midfield that features All-Star Giovani dos Santos and MLS newcomer Romain Alessandrini, who have combined for 14 of LA’s 28 goals this season.
And with former Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones potentially suiting up for LA on Saturday, New England will have its hands full with the Galaxy’s midfield arsenal.
“We have to play at our best to out-beat these guys,” said Revolution defender Antonio Delamea. “I believe in this team and I hope we won’t disappoint our fans, who have been amazing this season. We feel really sorry for everything that’s going on right now, but football is like that. We all need to stay positive and come out of this together.”