In recent seasons the New England Revolution have defined summer struggles. The weather gets warm and a losing streak is not far behind. Even during the Revolution’s 2014 MLS Cup final run, they overcame an eight-game midsummer swoon. How bad have they been recently? In the last three seasons, the Revolution have gone 13-21-3 from June to August.
While this form has not been catastrophic it has historically been paired with a slow start. It’s left the Revolution sprinting to the finish to try and make the playoffs. This has both been incredibly successful (Cup Runs in 2002 and 2014) and heartbreakingly dismal (failing to make the playoffs the last two seasons).
A Look at the New England Revolution Summer Struggles in Recent Years
The summer months can be particularly challenging for even the strongest MLS clubs. Major national team tournaments run throughout, taking some of the best players from their squads. While the USA’s failure to qualify for this year’s World Cup mitigates this somewhat, many players are being called up for the tournament that starts in 10 days.
The US Open Cup also begins in June which even with squad rotation can contribute to significant fixture congestion. MLS is also having a 13-day break during the first round of the World Cup which leaves two fewer weeks to squeeze in the 34-game regular season. Some clubs have also scheduled international friendlies during the summer as well. All these can contribute to team’s summer struggles.
Summer Road Trip
The biggest challenge for the Revolution, however, will probably be their number of road games. The Revolution have had seven home games and only three road games in the past two months. This reverses aggressively through the summer: only four home games while they will travel seven times. Given the Revolution’s recent away form, fans are right to be wary.
All the above meant the Revolution’s game this past Saturday had extra importance. It was against a high-flying New York Red Bulls side. It would also be their first and only home game until the final day of the month. Two draws and a loss had seen the Revolution fall off the pace in recent weeks. Three points would not only breed confidence but give the squad wiggle room to stumble slightly over the summer.
Reasons for Optimism
A come from behind 2-1 victory gives many reasons for optimism. They showed resilience in defeating a strong Eastern Conference opponent. Teal Bunbury is one of the hottest strikers in MLS and Matt Turner is more than living up to his Twitter handle. The two players are surely locks for the All-Star game.
New coach Brad Friedel continues to put out a squad that while flawed, believes in itself. They have not lost two games in a row all season. Saturday’s win puts them firmly in the driver’s seat of a playoff spot. Now three road games in eight days begins the summer onslaught. While the past offers little hope, recent form gives supporters hope that this is the year the Revolution will jettison their summer struggles and qualify for the playoffs confidently.