After winning five of their final seven games and creating 25 shots in a season-ending 3-0 win over the Montreal Impact on Sunday, the New England Revolution couldn’t help but feel that they squandered an opportunity to make a playoff run in 2016.
“It’s disappointing that we waited too long to really find ourselves, and express ourselves throughout the last part of the season,” Revs coach Jay Heaps said. “Five of seven is really good, but we just didn’t do enough earlier.”
The Revs’ five victories in September and October all came against playoff squads as they beat the Colorado Rapids, New York City FC, Sporting Kansas City and the Montreal Impact twice.
However, in that same stretch, the Revolution came out toothless twice in losses to the Columbus Crew and last weekend against the Chicago Fire in a must-win game.
“It’s just things that we have to sit down and realize,” said Juan Agudelo, who scored a 60th-minute goal on Sunday. “Our season was relying on the Chicago game and we didn’t do well that game. Our season ended today on a positive note, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t the game we needed to win.”
“We expected better and we need to be better,” Heaps added. “Unfortunately, last week, to put it all on that one game is probably harsh, but I think it’s a collection of letting some moments get away.”
With little to play for on Sunday, the Revs looked like the team they could have been, as Lee Nguyen created seven offensive chances, Kei Kamara created five shots and supporting pieces such as Agudelo and Diego Fagundez lived up to their potential by both scoring goals.
“It’s crazy,” Fagundez said. “I think the talent on this roster is really good.”
Heaps and several players felt the season got away from the Revs much earlier than last weekend’s 2-1 defeat against the Fire.
The Revolution struggled through a four-game losing streak late in the summer that dropped them outside of playoff position, as the offense failed to score in any of those games. Overall, the Revs scored the second-fewest goals in the Eastern Conference this season with 44, ahead of only the Fire.
On Sunday, the Revs displayed that they could have, and maybe should have, been one of the better offensive teams in the league, with five legitimate scoring threats on the field.
“The thing that I was thinking during the whole game was, wow, we’re such a good team, we could have gone so far, and it’s very disappointing that it all has come to an end,” Agudelo said. “I love this group of guys and everybody worked hard today, but it is disappointing.”
New England technically wasn’t eliminated from the playoffs until Sunday, but entered the day needing to make up a 14-goal differential to break a tiebreaker with the Philadelphia Union for the sixth seed. In hindsight, it didn’t help that the Revolution lost twice to the Union by a combined score of 7-0.
“When we show up, we can be one of the best teams in the league, but too many times we didn’t do that,” right back Andrew Farrell said. “We have a good group of guys. It depends on who they bring back and who doesn’t come back. This lineup that we just played, I think, is good enough to be in the playoffs, but obviously throughout the season we weren’t good enough.”