Depending on where they were playing, this season was either great or awful for the New England Revolution.
The Revolution finished 7th in the Eastern Conference, only five points off the final playoff spot, with a record of 13-15-6. They boasted an impressive home record of 12-2-3 which was sullied by an abysmal road record of 1-13-3. In the end, it was their poor road form that ended up being the downfall for the Revolution this season.
One game that stands out in particular is the 3-3 draw against the Seattle Sounders on April 29. The Revolution went up 3-0 within 54 minutes thanks to a goal from Diago Kobayashi and a brace from Juan Agudelo. This lead did not last, and the Revolution imploded defensively, allowing three goals in the final 15 minutes to Nicolas Lodiero, Will Bruin, and Osvaldo Alonso.
This complete breakdown robbed the Revolution of what would have been three vital points away from home, and helped set the tone for their continuous struggles away from Gillette Stadium.
In reality, if the Revolution had won two more games on the road, they would be playing in the playoffs instead of watching from their couches for the second year in a row.
If the Revolution want to improve for next season, whoever takes over as the new manager needs to make sure that the team is ready to play in away games, because this year they certainly were not.
One big change that came this season came when the Revolution fired long time manager Jay Heaps. This may not have come as a surprise to many at the time, as the Revolution had just come off back to back humiliating road losses that saw the Revs lose 10-1 and have three players sent off in both games combined. While some criticized the move, claiming that majority of the blame was on the players, this was ultimately the right move.
While it’s harder to play away from the comfort of your home fans, it is the manager’s job to make sure that the players are ready to take on that challenge, and Heaps failed at that. Heaps also made many questionable lineup selections, including playing midfielder Kelyn Rowe at left back for most of the year over Chris Tierney, who was a natural leftback.
However, it truly was time for Heaps to go. His tactics were having little to no impact in helping the team away from Gillette Stadium, which is where they suffered the most, and his poor team selection often set up the team to fail.
Interim Manager Tim Soehn did a commendable job at the helm to close out the season, as they stayed in the playoff hunt much longer than many anticipated, and managed to get wins against good teams like Toronto FC and NYCFC. He also managed the Revolution to their first away win of the season.
Going into the season, the Revolution had an incomplete roster, with only three defenders on the roster as they headed into the preseason. They made some key signings this season, bringing in the likes of Antonio Delamea, Benjamin Anguoa, Claude Dielna, Gershon Koffie, and Krisztian Nemeth.
While some players like Dielna and Nemeth didn’t have enough time to make a sizable impact on the season, they certainly showed promise going forward. Delamea and Koffie were the standout signings of the season, both establishing themselves as key players in the Revolution side(in the case of Koffie it is technically re-establishing himself).
The Revolution are at an important crossroads in their history this offseason. With expansion teams like Atlanta United and LAFC getting big names to join their teams, and many young promising talents as well as already developed talents coming to the league, the Revolution must take advantage.
If they appoint a big name manager who could potentially bring in some top talents like Sebastian Giovinco, David Villa, or Josef Martínez, then the Revolution could be set to be back into the hunt for an MLS Cup. If they botch their managerial appointment and fail to bring in any key players in the offseason, the Revolution will find themselves continuing to fade off into obscurity.
To quote Thomas Paine, a famous figure of the American Revolution (see what I did there), “These are the times that try men’s souls.”