On the heels of two frustrating road losses, the Revolution head back home Saturday for their first meeting of the season against Orlando City SC.
The Revolution and Lions originally were slated to meet in March in New England’s home opener, but frigid and blustery conditions forced a postponement to Labor Day weekend.
Outside of the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium, the Revolution have been hapless, failing to win a single match all season, and blowing late leads several times. With nine games remaining this season, five at home, New England is taking it one game at a time.
“We understand how important every single game is,” said Revolution striker Juan Agudelo. “I feel like we’ve been saying this the past month, but this is really, really important now.
“We haven’t been able to get an away win. That we pick up points any way possible and not just ties — ties would be all right, but in the situation that we’re in right now, we’ve just got to win games.”
New England remains in 10th place of the Eastern Conference following a loss at D.C. United last weekend. The league’s worst offense needed just one goal to top the Revolution, as D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid kept New England at bay.
Though struggles continue on both sides of the ball, New England has remained within sight of a playoff berth, sitting 7 points back of sixth-place Atlanta. Six of the nine remaining games are against teams the Revolution are battling for a postseason position — two each against Orlando, Montreal, and Atlanta.
Orlando has slipped considerably in the past several weeks, going winless through July and August. Despite the slide, its offensive unit remains one of the most fierce in MLS with Carlos Rivas, Dom Dwyer, and Kaka patrolling up front.
“They’re really good,” said Revolution defender Andrew Farrell. “Got a really good attack, special players, and it’s matchups. I think we’ve just got to roll up our sleeves and battle those guys.
“Obviously, in certain games they’re going to get opportunities. We’ve just got to limit those and defend as well as possible.”
The game will be a test of the Revolution’s depth, as defenders Antonio Delamea and Je-Vaughn Watson are away on international duty. This is an opportunity for a player such as Claude Dielna to step into a leadership role, something the newest Revolution DP is embracing.
“Yeah, he’s a very vocal, physical presence,” Farrell said. “I think he leads in practice and in the locker room and in games. It’s something that I think we need more of and I’m glad to have that.”