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Revolution have decisions to make

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / October 3, 2011

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This has been a long and difficult season for the Revolution. And after a 2-1 loss to Seattle Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, they will have plenty of time to prepare for next year.

The Revolution had been on the verge of playoff elimination for weeks before the defeat made it official that they would not be participating in the postseason for the second successive season.

“It’s really discouraging and frustrating we can’t put 90 minutes together,’’ captain Shalrie Joseph said after the match. “Whether it be inexperience or mental mistakes - we make two mistakes and it costs us.’’

Defensive errors by Ryan Cochrane and A.J. Soares led to goals by Fredy Montero in the 36th and 47th minutes, after Diego Fagundez had provided the Revolution with the lead.

“That’s the story of the game, just two mistakes and we lose the game,’’ Joseph said. “Hopefully, they’ll get stronger from that. They’ll bounce back and we’ll bounce back and be better next week.’’

The Revolution (5-14-12, 27 points), who host San Jose Saturday, have surrendered 51 goals, their worst defensive record since Steve Nicol became coach in 2002. But they have developed an effective style of play recently, the addition of Fagundez providing an active, technical complement to Milton Caraglio’s strength at striker.

Fagundez, 16, converted a goal in his first MLS appearance in August and scored in his first start against the Sounders.

The emergence of Fagundez is an encouraging sign for the Revolution. But they must start getting things in place for next season or risk falling farther behind the competition.

Nicol has started planning ahead by bringing in prospective players on trial, but his contract expires after this season and his future has not been clarified by the team.

Joseph is the Revolution’s leading scorer and is on track to tie Jay Heaps as the team’s all-time appearance leader, but he also will be without a contract.

“It’s going to be a long offseason,’’ Joseph said. “We’ve still got a couple games left and we have to finish the season strong.’’

Asked how he deals with the uncertainty, Joseph said, “I don’t really worry about it. It’s in the back of everybody’s head, in terms of who’s going to be here, who’s not going to be here. Right now, we’ve just got three games left and whoever ends up here and wants to stay here at the end of the season, they’re going to make that decision.

“There’s definitely going to be some changes in terms of personnel. Right now, I’m just worried about, frustrated about the loss - trying to keep my head up and keep the boys positive for next weekend. We’ve got to give our fans 100 percent effort. They come every weekend, whether it be cold weather, and the worst thing we can do is not give 110 percent. We have to play our heart out and just leave it on the field.’’

The seeds for this season’s problems were sown by flawed planning and management of personnel. By the time the Revolution adjusted, it was too late. The team’s defense performed well earlier in the season but vulnerabilities have been exposed recently. The Revolution’s possession game and finishing have been lacking for most of the season but have been effective lately with the addition of Caraglio and Monsef Zerka, plus the development of the Joseph-Benny Feilhaber pairing in midfield.

“We just can’t put a total 90 minutes together,’’ Joseph said. “You can look at all the games we lost or tied, it’s just mental mistakes. It’s not teams cutting us up or embarrassing us.’’

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


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