The New England Revolution and the Vancouver Whitecaps battled to a scoreless draw in New England’s home opener on Saturday.
The Revolution headed into the match with two big questions. What was the mindset of captain Jose Goncalves and who would replace the goals scored by the departed Juan Agudelo?
Goncalves was brilliant last season for New England but has been clearly frustrated this year by his contract situation. In the team’s opener against Houston, Goncalves was poor and was dropped by Revs boss Jay Heaps for last weeks trip to Philadelphia.
Goncalves was back in the starting line-up against Vancouver and he responded with a dominating performance. The Revs with a happy Goncalves in the line-up are a much different team than when he is missing. Now that his contract situation is cleared up, per Revs GM Mike Burns, New England fans will be hoping that Goncalves can get back to being one of the best defenders in MLS.
The Revolution has now failed to score in their opening three games, and while they have created chances in all three games, they have lacked the clinical touch that Agudero gave them last year
So while Jay Heaps will be happy with the clean sheet, the 270 minute scoreless streak has to be really worrying him. Against Vancouver, the play and possession was good at times, but in the final third New England appeared to be devoid of ideas, frequently trying to pass their way through the middle of the Vancouver defence, instead of stretching it by using the wings.
Looking at the New England roster, you wonder where the goals will come from? Deigo Fagundez is miskicking chances that he buried last season while Teal Bunbury works hard, but he is not a 15 goal striker.
Unless GM Mike Burns can unearth another striker via a trade or overseas signing, this is already shaping up a difficult season for NE. The eastern conference has some of the best strikers in MLS, and without one, New England will find it difficult to make the post season.