Monday, July 7, 2008

Halting the Revs

So far this season, New England has been all but unbeatable. Chicago routed the Revs twice early this season but since starting off with two losses in their first four games, New England has been hands down the best team in the league. New England's run for a fourth consecutive MLS Cup appearance is alive and well as the Revs are seemingly the favorites to not only reach the game but win the whole thing.

So what, if anything, can stop New England?

Well, the schedule for one.

New England has been consistently piling up the results this season. The Revs were 3-1-1 in both May and June and actually have more road wins (six) than home wins (four).

But now, the Revs must take their focus on the league entirely. On Tuesday, the Revs will host USL-2 side Crystal Palace Baltimore in a US Open Cup quarterfinal. Sunday, the Revs will play Santos in a SuperLiga match and will play three all total in a spain of eight days. By the time the Revs play their next league game (Aug. 9 vs Chicago), the Revs may have played six non-league games.

After Friday's 2-1 win over the Galaxy, Revs boss Steve Nicol said "it's a shame we don't have any league games the next month."

How New England fares in SuperLiga remains to be seen. Playing Mexican teams is always a challenge even if it's a friendly competition because, as Steve Ralston told me "there's never a friendly when you're playing against a Mexican team. It seems like it's always a competitive game." New England will face two of the best Mexican sides in Santos and Pachuca.

But nobody knows just how the Revs will look like once they do return to league. If they can maintain their form, the Revs will be just fine. But even if they do fall off a bit, they'll have a few games to get back in shape before their next big challenge: the CONCACAF Champions League.

From Aug. 16 to the end of the MLS regular season, the Revs could play up to 20 games in five different countries. That's 20 games in roughly 70 days, or about one game every three or four days.

Maybe that "MLS Cup favorite" tag doesn't fit the Revs after all.

1 comment:

RobertTheBruce said...

Come on LB. The core of this team has been there, lost that. Repeatedly. Until NE wins the Cup, I don't care how well they fare in the regular season. The Supporters Shield would be nice but the ultimate focus is still that Sunday in mid-November. They're not very good at it, yet.