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Revolution up to no good

Lack of scoring remains concern

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / June 17, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH — Lack of scoring is an obvious problem for the Revolution. After a 0-0 tie with Toronto FC Wednesday night, the Revolution have been blanked seven times and have the lowest goal total (11) in MLS.

But goals are usually a byproduct of other soccer functions. Since a 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City April 23, Revolution scoring chances have become few and far between. They have been struggling with possession, and though they were defending well, they had almost no counterattacking ability.

Things improved in the Toronto match, with the Revolution creating several chances, partly because of a switch to a 4-4-2 alignment. Finishing, though, was missing. So if they can continue to produce opportunities, all they might need to do is find an effective forward combination.

The Rajko Lekic-Kenny Mansally pairing has shown promise, starting in the second half of last week’s visit to New York, but might need time. Since joining the team six games into the season, Lekic has mostly been isolated, whether the Revolution were aligned in a 4-5-1 or a 4-3-3. Now that Lekic is being partnered in attack, adjustments are being made on the fly.

But the Revolution could be running out of time. These matches against Toronto and Chicago (tomorrow) in a four-day span were expected to provide a springboard to vault the Revolution into contention. If they can continue to improve, help could be on the way, as management has committed financially to bringing in a high-profile forward.

“I’d love to tell you we’re almost done, but we’re not,’’ coach Steve Nicol said of recruiting prospects. “We’ve spoken to three players who we felt we would get something done with, but for all kinds of reasons, we haven’t. We’re still looking, we’re still trying as hard as we can to bring an extra front player in.’’

Last season, the Revolution set a team record for fewest goals (32), and they are behind that pace. And that is a discouraging trend, since they fell out of playoff contention early last season and had their worst record (9-16-5) in nine years.

This year, the Revolution have improved defensively and have the potential to present several attacking options should Benny Feilhaber (ankle) and/or Ousmane Dabo (adductor) recover or newcomer Ryan Guy adds a spark.

“We’ve got to stay hungry,’’ said Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph. “Against Chicago, there’s no doubt we’ve got to go for it.

“It’s halfway through the season, and we’re still at the bottom of the league, so Saturday there’s going to be a little more desperation. We’ve got to take the game to Chicago and try to put them under our heel and just try and get that first goal.

“It’s very important that we score first, with the young team we have. It’s going to help our confidence if we can get that goal and it’s going to be like a huge monkey off our back, you could say.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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