By Matthew Fairburn
Special to CSNNE.com
FOXBORO -- The Revolution might be feeling a bit of deja vu after Saturday night's 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo.
The loss was the first game of the second half of New England's schedule, a stretch of games that was not kind to the team last season.
In 2012, the Revolution started off the season hot, going undefeated in the month of June. But when the schedule flipped to the second half, the team went without a win for 10 straight games and quickly fell out of playoff contention.
The Revs have started off even better in 2013. They entered the second half of their schedule above the .500 mark for the first time since 2008 and have shown signs of being a playoff contender. A win on Saturday would have put the Revolution in fifth place of the Eastern Conference, which made the loss hurt a bit more.
“We didn’t play well enough when we had a chance,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said after the game.
Despite the loss and last season’s late-season collapse, the team is confident that it won’t suffer a similar letdown this season. Captain Chris Tierney, one of the few Revolution players that has experienced postseason play, thinks there’s something different about this year’s team.
“I think we have better depth this year, which is going to help us,” Tierney said. “There’s more guys that can step up, bring some competition and some energy and fresh legs.”
New England will need those fresh legs, as they hit the road for a three-game road trip beginning Wednesday in Colorado. Tierney knows it will be a challenge for the team to put a tough loss behind them and prepare for a challenging stretch of games.
“We all need to stay focused and realize that it is a long season,” Tierney said. “We're just passed halfway.
“If we go on the road and get a few results, we’re right back in the mix.”
Even with the Revolution’s early-season success, the team thinks it’s capable of elevating its game to another level. With just five points separating New England from the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and half the season to play, the Revolution aren’t panicking just yet.
“We still don't feel like we're playing at full go,” Tierney said. “If we start to play the way we know we're capable of and get on a roll, I'm confident we'll be in a good position come season's end.”
After what happened in 2012, Tierney and the Revolution know what can happen if they don’t find their game soon.