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Their goal is simple: score

Revolution look for breakthrough

By Nate Taylor
Globe Correspondent / July 10, 2010

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The Revolution need to score, and soon.

That’s become the task for tonight’s match pitting the Revolution, tied for the bottom spot in the Eastern Conference, against the Los Angeles Galaxy, the best team in the MLS, at Gillette Stadium at 7:30.

The Revolution have had trouble finding the net this year. Of their 14 matches, they have failed to score in eight, seven resulting in losses. The Revolution last scored May 29 in a 3-2 win over the New York Red Bulls. Since then, New England has been shut out three consecutive matches, including the most recent — a 5-0 loss from Real Salt Lake last Saturday.

“Everyone was [ticked] off about last week,’’ said midfielder Jason Griffiths. “We’re at home and we need a good result. We need to start pushing forward now.’’

Even if the Revolution are going to become more offensive-minded, they have a challenge awaiting them against the Galaxy.

Los Angeles has become one of the best defensive teams, producing 10 shutouts while conceding a league-low five goals.

New England coach Steve Nicol said the Revolution could put pressure on the Galaxy if they are able to score first. It would be a change from the Revolution having to respond to being put in the hole early, as seen in the loss to Real Salt Lake. Once the Revolution were down, they pressed to find an equalizer.

“We set out to play the way we did,’’ said Nicol about New England’s strategy last week. “We did it successfully right up until the [first] goal, and a goal changes everything in a game. Then you have to start gambling and taking chances.’’

Which is exactly what the Revolution did and it backfired. Soon the game went from a 2-0 Salt Lake lead at halftime to a 4-0 match early in the second half. The Revolution know they cannot duplicate that performance against the Galaxy, second in the league with 25 goals.

“It’s difficult when you know you’re not scoring goals, especially in the back because you have to play the perfect game,’’ said goalkeeper Matt Reis. “That’s very hard to do, but an early goal would help.’’

The Revolution have already gotten some help against the Galaxy, courtesy of the World Cup.

Midfielder Landon Donovan, Los Angeles’s best player, did not make the trip East, preferring to take a break after his participation on the US team in the World Cup. But US teammate Edson Buddle, the MLS’s leading scorer with 10 goals, will play.

Even if the Revolution fall behind the Galaxy tonight, Nicol doesn’t want his team to panic.

“Whether it’s going ahead or behind, much of your success is how you react,’’ Nicol said. “We’ve just made mental errors individually. If guys make mistakes at the wrong time you’re going to get punished.’’

This week the Revolution watched the first 20 minutes of the match against Real Salt Lake. Griffiths said New England looked like the better team. The Revolution had their chances, but they couldn’t score. With an early goal, the results may have been different.

That philosophy drives the Revolution, who lost to the Galaxy in the season opener March 27 when Buddle scored the match’s only goal in the sixth minute. Since then, the two teams have gone in different directions.

“It’s really up to us to not make the same mistake,’’ Reis said. “A win might be just the thing we need to turn our season around.’’

Nate Taylor can be reached at ntaylor@globe.com

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