Don’t call it a rebuilding season. At least not yet.
With a new and inexperienced coach at the helm, and a plenty of question marks across the pitch, many predicted a tumultuous year for the New England Revolution. But through its first four, the squad has already picked up seven points (2-1-1), and are riding a three-game unbeaten streak.
“It’s always nice to get points on the board,” Revolution coach Brad Friedel told the media earlier this week. “We’ve said it before – it’s always a better training week when you’ve had a good result and a good performance under your belt. But the thing about this is you have to throw those away now and move on to the next one.”
It’s a shorter week than usual for Friedel’s side with a rare Friday night matchup against Montreal on tap. But no one in New England’s locker room is complaining with the team in good form.
One of the players who’s contributed to the team’s early-season success is none other than midfielder Diego Fagundez. The original Revolution Homegrown Signing has two goals through four games already, and is a major cog in an offense that’s looked lively.
“Our momentum is definitely there,” Fagundez told the media earlier this week. “I think after we come home, we play games, we do well, and then we go away and we get our first win, I think that is something off our backs, now that we can just keep playing, and play free.”
Last week’s win at Houston – a momentous result for a team that collected only a single road victory last year – was certainly a shot in the arm. After beating a capable Dynamo side with plenty of swagger, the Revolution will need more of the same against a similarly-surprising Impact (2-2-0, 6 points).
With the perennially-dangerous Ignacio Piatti and early-season sensation Jeisson Vargas in tow, Montreal certainly poses a threat against New England’s defensive corps, which survived by the skin of its teeth against a relentless 10-man Houston side to see out a 2-0 win.
Despite that, Fagundez believes the squad is still rounding into form, and that improvement is expected.
“But, I think the team, the way we are playing now and the way we want to play, we’re going to be a lot better. I think this year is definitely – we’ve shown that we’re going to be a different team and that’s what we want.”
No doubt 2018 has been different for the Revolution, who regularly struggled out of the gate under former boss Jay Heaps. And if the schedule is any indication, their current form could continue beyond Friday’s match.
“We have two home games in front of us, and we’ll be looking to try to get maximum points,” Friedel said. “If we get that, then the confidence can still build. We know that you have to earn the right to win every game and we’re going to have to put in monumental efforts again against both Montreal and Dallas.”
By Brian O’Connell of ProstAmerika