History not on Revolution side
The MLS schedule does not provide many breathers, though established teams should be able to capitalize against expansion teams.
But playing against newcomers has not been advantageous for the Revolution. Since the league first added teams in 1998, the Revolution have compiled winning records against only two expansion franchises — 4-2-3 against Toronto and 3-1-0 vs. Seattle. And that trend continued last week as the Revolution were held to a 1-1 tie at home by Portland, just the third game for the Timbers since beginning play.
The Revolution will confront another difficult expansion test when they visit Vancouver tonight. The Whitecaps defeated Toronto in their MLS debut last month, thanks to two goals by French striker Eric Hassli. Vancouver then lost Hassli to a red card in a loss at Philadelphia, but rallied to tie Sporting Kansas City Saturday.
Hassli is set to return for this game, adding firepower to a forward line that includes Brazilian Camilo, who converted twice in added time against Kansas City, and Atiba Harris, who has two goals this season.
Revolution players let down after squandering the lead against Portland, many of them expressing disappointment in their play Saturday night. The Revolution failed to control possession, allowing the pace to get out of control in the second half.
“We’re still chasing points so that makes [tonight’s] game even more important,’’ Revolution forward Zack Schilawski said after the match. “It would be nice to have gotten 3 points so we could go into [this game] with a little bit more of a cushion. But now we’re going to have to keep fighting. We can’t dwell on it too long.’’
Though the Revolution have failed to establish an attacking rhythm, they appear to have bolstered the defense. The team has yet to trail in 270 minutes of play and has a 1-0-2 record, its third three-game unbeaten streak to start a season since 1996.
But the Revolution defense could face a difficult test from the Whitecaps, who have scored seven goals in three games. Bobby Shuttleworth is set to replace Matt Reis (adductor strain) in goal for the Revolution and Ryan Cochrane likely will make his second straight start in central defense in place of Franco Coria (hamstring).
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.