After two weeks off, the Revolution return to action Saturday with a trip to Orlando.
The Revolution have dropped three consecutive games and went 0-3-1 in July. The bye week came at a less-than-perfect time for a team looking to put that trio of frustrating losses in the past quickly.
“I said it after the Galaxy game, it’s always good to have a game straight away to try to rectify your mistakes and your loss,” said coach Brad Friedel. “We took it in stride and we’ll be well and truly prepared for the Orlando game.”
The Revolution’s slump is minor compared with an Orlando team that has lost 12 of its last 13. Overall, Orlando City has 14 losses, 51 goals allowed, and a minus-19 goal differential, all league worsts.
The Lions underwent a coaching change recently, turning to Louisville City’s James O’Connor. O’Connor led Louisville, a United Soccer League team, to a 3-2 victory over New England in the US Open Cup back in June.
“When you look at the intensity the guys are training at and the level we’re trying to get to, we feel as if we’re making progress,” said O’Connor. “Especially for me, because I lack so much patience, it’s trying to manage my own expectations, which can be frustrating at times.”
Both clubs made lineup changes over the past week as well. Orlando lost a valuable offensive asset as Justin Meram’s short, tumultuous tenure in central Florida came to an end with his trade back to Columbus.
New England, meanwhile, added versatile Bolivian midfielder/defender Cristhian Machado and most recently defender Michael Mancienne.
The 28-year-old Machado is heralded for his impressive work ethic and ability to play at either central midfield or all four positions in defense.
“He’s assimilated himself very well so far,” said Friedel. “Bubbly character, good guy, hard worker. He’ll take no time at all settling in.”
Mancienne, 30, was a mainstay in the back line for English team Nottingham Forest over the past four seasons, amassing more than 2,200 minutes each year and totaling 135 first-team appearances in all competitions.
“We believe his experience will help him make immediate contributions to the club and allow him to become a leader on and off the field,” said Revolution general manager Mike Burns.
Saturday’s game provides New England with a chance to produce some offense against a team that has struggled defensively. The Revolution have not scored from open play in more than 225 minutes. The lone goal in that stretch was a penalty converted by Diego Fagundez.
The lack of goals, however, is not from a lack of chances. New England has outshot its opponents in each of the last three games, with 43 total shot attempts, 15 on target.
Creating chances has not been the problem; being clinical and finishing them off has plagued New England.
“They’ve conceded an awful lot of goals this season,” said Friedel. “Hopefully we can take advantage of some of the situations that I’m sure we’ll be in to finish them off. There are a lot of positives from the [last] three games with the exception of the result.
“The spirit is high and I know the boys are raring to go.”