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Revolution still have something to prove

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / October 8, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH - The Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes have been eliminated from playoff contention. So, there will be little at stake when the teams meet tonight.

But Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber expects the intensity to be high as coaches and players attempt to prove their worth.

“I think everybody’s got to be professional about it,’’ Feilhaber said after practice yesterday. “This is what you do, what you do for a living. You get paid to do it, that’s motivation enough.

“You need to go out and play and do your best and that’s what you’re getting paid for. Some people are playing for jobs, everybody wants to have a spot on the team next year. I’m sure coaches are looking to next season and in these next few games to see what pieces we want to keep for next season and what pieces we need to pick up in the offseason. That’s motivation enough.’’

Feilhaber joined the Revolution in April after competing in Europe, where the price for team failure is high.

“Obviously, it’s disappointing not being able to fight to get into the playoffs,’’ Feilhaber said. “But we haven’t really performed at that level throughout the year. So, that’s how it works.

“We should be so lucky that there’s no relegation. I’ve been in situations like the one we’re in right now - but we were fighting for our lives in relegation. There’s so much pressure on your back in that situation. And we don’t have that kind of pressure here.’’

The Revolution defeated Sporting Kansas City in Feilhaber’s debut April 23, but have won only three games since. This was not the situation Feilhaber envisioned when he decided to leave AGF Aarhus in Denmark. The Revolution’s low standing also appears to have cost Feilhaber a spot on the US national team.

But Feilhaber is optimistic about the Revolution’s future.

“I definitely want to be here next year,’’ he said. “I want this team to improve, I want to help the team be a playoff team next year.

“I do think that we have some positive things that have happened throughout the year, we have some really good players on the team. But of course there’s no doubt about it, there’s some things that need to be changed.

“No, no one wants to go through another year like this. I definitely don’t want to go through another year like this. I’ve been pretty adamant with the coaches and management we need to better ourselves as a team to really be competitive next season.

“We have some positives, but some things need to be altered so we can have a better opportunity to make the playoffs next year. But that’s what the coaches are there for, that’s what management is there for. I’m sure they see the same things we as players see and they’re going to do everything they can to implement those changes so we can have a better opportunity next season.’’

The Revolution and Earthquakes faded from postseason contention while enduring lengthy slumps.

The Revolution are 1-5-5 since July 20. San Jose endured a 13-game winless streak and has a 1-7-10 mark since June 11.

“It doesn’t change anything,’’ Revolution coach Steve Nicol said of the team’s circumstances. “It shouldn’t change the attitude to winning the game. We’ve always gone out every Saturday to win the game and we’ll do the same [tonight].

“Our job is to make sure the attitude’s right, but that shouldn’t be too difficult. We’ve always had a bunch of guys who do want to do well, as much as we haven’t done as well as we’ve wanted to. My job is to make sure we get after it right from the get-go, because we have supporters coming here to watch us.’’

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

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