A Wholly Underwhelming MLS Season in New England!

Tommy McNamara this MLS season in New England

The international break is behind us now. Two games remain for most teams in this MLS season. Many have had their fates decided already whilst, for overs, it all still hangs in the balance. The New England Revolution fit into the latter category, although qualifying for the playoffs would be a miracle. Here is a look ahead to their clash with Atlanta United.

Is This MLS Season Over?

New England Versus Atlanta United Preview

It all comes down these two final outings for the Revolution and Atlanta. They are both currently below the line and the teams around them have a game in hand, so it’s not looking good.

The approach from head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena is as follows. “We’re trying to win on Saturday. We’re not yet eliminated mathematically, so we have to put everything we have into this game and try to get three points and hope that there’s still slim hope of being able to make the playoffs as we go to Chicago. That simple.”

Earlier in the season, an Adam Buksa brace helped secure a point for the Revs. Thiago Almada and Luis Araujo were on the score sheet for Atlanta and they’ll certainly be dangerous once again. Arena says that “They can attack you from different positions. They’re very aggressive going forward.”

Flipping the script to New England’s opponents and they themselves are rather unlikely to jump above the line. Major injuries to the likes of Josef Martinez, Brad Guzan and Miles Robinson amongst others has derailed the Five Stripes’ season.

That being said, they still have a lot of quality, as is highlighted here by Revs midfielder Tommy McNamara. “They have a lot of pieces in the attacking half of the field that we need to be aware of. We need to try to limit their space, limit their opportunities to get in transition moments, and just kind of constantly be aware of where they are.”

Atlanta beat Toronto FC and rivals Orlando City earlier in September before crossing paths with Philadelphia. The Union are of course hunting down another Supporters’ Shield in Jim Curtin’s tenure, and so surely they would come out on top. It wasn’t to be though as Gonzalo Pineda’s men held them to a goalless draw at the Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Read More: Talking Points- An Underwhelming New England Side Fall Short Once Again

A General Overview of the MLS Season

It is difficult, even with the slight chances remaining of a playoff berth, to view this season in anything other than a negative light. A lot of things have gone wrong both on and off of the field so even with the injury crisis which has been a hinderance, it just hasn’t been good enough.

“There’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes that you guys generally are not aware of, but we’re aware of it and I don’t want to make things public. We’ll handle any matters in terms of getting our team better inside our team. There’s a number of things we could do better.” This is what Arena said to the media ahead of the clash with Atlanta- it is refreshingly honest and also raises a lot of eyebrows as to what potential friction and issues he could be referring too.

There haven’t been a whole lot of positives to shout from the rooftop about in this MLS season for the Revs. One man in particular has certainly shone since arriving though, this of course being Djordje Petrovic. The Serbian shot-stopper has seamlessly transitioned into the side and filled the Matt Turner-shaped void, which is easier said than done.

He is a shoe-in for New England MVP this term, and Arena must be praised for this pickup. McNamara echoed the sentiments of everyone else who has spoken to the media about Petrovic. “We’re really happy to have him. He’s transitioned into the locker room and into the country very well. The saves that he’s able to make are incredible. He’s kept us in a lot of games. He’s been a wonderful addition to our team, a big positive for us.”

Atlanta are an imperious attacking force on their day and New England have been susceptible to shambolic defensive performances. These are two teams who will most likely watch the playoffs from the comfort of their own homes, but this game is still one worth watching!

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