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Cochrane, Joseph return

Revolution seek to end slump

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / July 20, 2011

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The Revolution’s attempt to add new players had not succeeded as of yesterday. But help is on the way for tonight’s visit to D.C. United, as defender Ryan Cochrane and captain Shalrie Joseph return from suspension.

But the Revolution need even more reinforcements, judging by their 3-0 loss to Philadelphia Sunday.

The result extended their MLS winless streak to nine games, tying a team record. Defensive breakdowns, a chaotic offensive approach, and the second-half ejection of midfielder Benny Feilhaber indicated a lack of direction and leadership, which partly could be solved by the return of Cochrane and Joseph.

“Shalrie sets the tempo in the center of the field, he’s a leader on the field and guys follow his example,’’ Revolution vice president of player personnel Michael Burns said. “But, at the same time, considering the overall performance on Sunday, I’m not sure one guy can be held accountable. Even with Shalrie playing, that would have been difficult to overcome.’’

The last Revolution nine-game winless streak was in 2003. But this slump might be part of a larger trend. Last season, the Revolution had a seven-game (0-5-2) winless streak, and a 1-6-2 record from August through early October. Also last season, though, the team was competing successfully in the SuperLiga tournament and compiled a shutout streak of 390 consecutive minutes in all competitions.

Though the Revolution’s defensive performances were inconsistent and the ball distribution from the back was mediocre last season, the back line often compensated for offensive deficiencies. This season, New England has blanked only three opponents.

The Revolution (3-9-7, 16 points) had been hoping for home success, but last month were held to ties by Toronto FC and Chicago. They have not won a home match since May 14 and have not won away from home in MLS this season.

A strong showing at Real Salt Lake resulted in a 3-3 tie July 4. And the Revolution seemed focused during a scoreless first half, but lost, 4-1, to Manchester United in an exhibition. Then, the Revolution collapsed against the Union.

“All the players and coaching staff said it after the game, everyone feels like their backs are up against the wall,’’ Burns said. “We have a difficult three-game road trip. You can either bury your head in the sand or look at it the other way, like it’s an opportunity to go out and get points.

“You can’t quit. You have to keep playing. And we didn’t do a good enough job of that in the first half [against Philadelphia]. We competed better in the second half. But the players were embarrassed by their effort in the Philly game and this is an opportunity to put that behind and get points in D.C.’’

The Revolution play at Colorado Saturday and Sporting Kansas City July 30. Their next home match is against Chivas USA Aug. 6 . . . Burns said the Revolution have made offers to two prospective players. “We’re still waiting on a couple of things,’’ he said.

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

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