Following a dominant six-match stretch across all competitions, the New England Revolution haven't had it so easy as of late.
Perhaps they can regroup back on their home field, where they haven't lost in almost two months going into Saturday night's matchup with a short-handed San Jose Earthquakes team that has struggled on the road.
New England (5-5-6) had outscored opponents 18-3 during a 5-0-1 run that included a pair of U.S. Open Cup victories before suffering two losses and a draw in its last three matches.
The Revolution dropped consecutive matches for the first time all season, losing 4-3 at Vancouver on June 15 and getting eliminated from U.S. Open Cup play with a 3-1 loss at D.C. on June 26.
They came dangerously close to a third straight defeat before Chad Barrett's goal in the 88th minute salvaged a 1-all draw at Western Conference-worst Chivas USA last Saturday.
"I don't think it's been a real bad slide," Barrett told the team's website. "We've definitely dropped points."
Barrett, who has two goals and an assist in his last three matches, will likely see more action in this contest with forward Juan Agudelo expected to miss a second consecutive game with a right knee sprain.
The Revolution may have to tighten things up on the defensive end. They've allowed 10 goals in their last four matches in all competitions after giving up that same amount over their first 15.
Since posting four consecutive shutouts in league matches, goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth has surrendered five goals in his last two. He hasn't allowed a goal at Gillette Stadium since May 11, recording three consecutive shutouts there.
New England has gone 3-0-2 during its home unbeaten streak, including a 4-2 U.S. Open Cup win over New York at Harvard Stadium on June 26. The Revolution haven't lost as the host team since a 2-1 defeat to MLS-best Real Salt Lake on May 8.
Midfielder Diego Fagundez has scored four of his team-leading five goals at home.
New England will try to continue its home success against the Earthquakes, who have been outscored 20-7 while going 1-8-2 on the road in all competitions.
After finishing with the league's best record last season, San Jose (5-8-6) sits second-to-last in the Western Conference.
The Earthquakes have played better lately, splitting four matches since Mark Watson replaced longtime coach Frank Yallop on an interim basis.
Reigning league MVP Chris Wondolowski has scored four times as San Jose has gone 4-0-1 in the last five meetings with the Revolution, though he'll be on duty with the U.S. national team.
San Jose also will be without top defender Victor Bernardez (suspension) and forward Steven Lenhart (head contusion).
"We are lucky we have a good team that has guys that can fill those holes," defender Jason Hernandez said. "But it's a battle. It's going to take another strong effort mentally and physically in Boston and we're going to have to keep grinding and push for a win because time is running short."
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