MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. New England Revolution 

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Wednesday, June 24 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Columbus Crew 19/20 – Draw 5/2 – New England Revolution 11/4

Match Preview

Columbus Crew host New England Revolution in their midweek clash as they look to win their first game in six regular season ties.

Despite the Crew’s winless run they are still sitting in a playoff spot but will need to turn things around if they are to avoid dropping out the top six.

They come into this one off the back of a 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy, which isn’t a bad result as they equalised in the second half through Federico Higuain.

Gregg Barhalter‘s side need to tighten up at the back, having conceded ten goals in their last five regular season outings.

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Kei Kamara hasn’t netted in his last three regular season games and will be hoping to rediscover his golden touch in front of goal which has seen him bag 10 in 15 appearances.

New England Revolution have struggled lately, winning just once in their last eight regular season games. They are still sitting in second place but last weekend’s loss to DC United has made their chances of finishing at the top of the pile much harder, as they are now seven points adrift.

Jay Heaps will be hoping a win in this one could be the start of a revitalisation for his side, as they have Orlando City bearing down on them in third.

They come into the game off the back of that defeat to DC United, which was bitterly disappointing as they threw the game away after being a goal to the good at halftime and need to ensure the players stay focused for longer here.

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Charlie Davies has had a bright start to the season, netting seven in 16 appearances and he will be hoping to build on that in this game.

The Revs thumped Columbus in last season’s playoffs but the two sides played out a 0-0 draw at Gillette Stadium in the first meeting between the two this year.

Team News

Columbus Crew could be without up to three players as Matt Lampson, Will Trapp and Chris Klute are all doubtful. We can expect to see Federico Higuain in the thick of the action, as he has scored in his last two games.

New England Revolution will be without Darrius Barnes and Jermaine Jones, who both remain sidelined.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: D/D/L/L/D

New England Revolution’s last five: D/D/L/W/L

Key Stat: New England have conceded at least two goals in their last four regular season games and have lost their last three away from home.

Key Player: Federico Higuain – The playmaker has been in good form of late. He has netted four so far this season and registered one assist. Expect him to be involved.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-2 New England Revolution – Another tight affair expected, with neither side doing enough to take all three points. There should be more goals than the earlier meeting as neither side has been good defensively.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. New England Revolution 

Venue: RFK Stadium – Sunday, June 21 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – June 21)

Match Odds: DC United 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – New England Revolution 9/5

Match Preview

DC United entertain New England Revolution in one of the stand out fixtures of the weekend as top play second in the Eastern Conference.

The home side have lost their last two regular season games but picked up a 3-1 win in midweek over Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the US Open Cup.

Ben Olsen‘s side have lost just once at home so far this season and this is a huge tie as they could increase the gap to seven points ahead of The Revs, but they have a game in hand.

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DC are currently on 28 points, while New England have 24, and these two sides will feel they should be battling it out for top spot in the Eastern Conference.

New England Revolution come into the game off the back of their poor midweek performance against Charlotte Independence in the US Open Cup. The 1-0 home loss is a bad result which they will want to improve upon quickly.

Jay Heaps will be concerned with his sides recent form, having won just one in their last seven games. A win in this weekend’s game would be a huge result.

Their 2-0 home win against Chicago Fire ensured they cannot fall down to third this weekend, as Orlando City are just four points behind. Heaps cannot afford for a lacklustre performance as they will be picked apart by DC.

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Team News

DC United will be without the injured Michael Farfan, Eddie Johnson and Collin Martin. Chris Pontius and Sean Franklin are doubts for this one, while Davy Arnaud and Perry Kitchen are both one yellow away from a suspension.

New England Revolution have just two injury concerns; Darrius Barnes and Jermaine Jones will be sidelined.

Key Points

DC United’s last five in MLS: L/W/W/L/L

New England Revolution’s last five in MLS: L/D/D/L/W

Key Stat: Leaky – New England have conceded at least two goals in their last three MLS games.

Key Player: Jairo Arrieta – The DC forward has netted five so far this season and will be hoping to impress this weekend.

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Score Prediction

DC United 2-1 New England Revolution – A tight game with DC coming out on top. They cannot afford to lose this one and can get back to winning ways in a huge fixture for both sides.

Jay Heaps SLAMS soft penalty in Revs defeat to Sporting Kansas City

New England Revolution manager Jay Heaps slammed the penalty decision in the 4-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night as he watched his side lose for the first time in ten games.

During an attack in the 42nd minute, Dom Dwyer was supposedly fouled inside the area by Revolution defender Jose Goncalves, leading to referee Allen Chapman awarding a penalty.

When approached about the penalty kick after the game Heaps couldn’t hide his disappointment: “I’m always in a disagreement with a penalty-kick call. I thought it was really soft, but I haven’t seen it on film. I just didn’t like the way the momentum swung. That’s probably where I was most upset, not just one call.” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com.

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The penalty decision changed the course of the game, as the Revolution were still in the match at 2-1.

However, Heaps was quick to comment on a disappointing display from his side: “I think we all kind of sensed that you’ve got to put your chances away against Kansas City, especially here.

“I think tonight we lacked the composure. We’ve got to get back to where we’re playing at our best and we’re composed. In the end we learn from it.”

New England must now regroup as they play DC United in a key Eastern Conference game at the weekend.

Should Sporting Kansas City have been awarded a penalty, and did it have a huge affect on the result?

Evolution not Revolution the catalyst for success in New England

By Sandy Beeson – Twitter: @Sandy_Beeson

With a quarter of the season already gone we’re beginning to see how the contenders are faring in MLS. Alongside early front-runners FC Dallas, Vancouver Whitecaps and DC United are last season’s MLS Cup runners-up New England Revolution. Having bounced back from an injury-ravaged start to the season, head coach Jay Heaps has been quietly building one of the best teams in the league.

New England were the surprise package of the 2014 MLS season. A promising start had been wiped out by a franchise record eight losses in a row but, despite being sixth in the Eastern Conference in late July, the Revolution stormed the league in the second half of the campaign eventually winning their way to the MLS Cup final.

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They lost out to LA Galaxy on that occasion but current form suggests they might not be waiting too long to have another crack at the MLS Cup. Winning the trophy this year would represent only the second piece of silverware lifted in the club’s history, having been one of the founding members of MLS in 1996.

Their first trophy was the US Open Cup in 2007 during the team’s golden years when they finished MLS Cup runners-up three years on the bounce. Heaps was a mainstay in the Revolution’s defence during that time but, as he came to the end of his career, the foundations of the current side were beginning to be laid.

The 2009 MLS SuperDraft provided a number of future stars for the league with the likes of Omar Gonzalez, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler joining. New England picked up defensive duo Kevin Alston and Darrius Barnes, who both featured frequently alongside Heaps in his final year before retiring. Young goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was signed on a free transfer while versatile midfielder/defender Chris Tierney had been brought in the season before.

With previous coach Steve Nicol’s 10-year reign unravelling, New England turned to Heaps to oversee the team’s transformation. From the start, Heaps recruited wisely with future stalwarts AJ Soares, Stephen McCarthy, Andrew Farrell and Kelyn Rowe coming in successive SuperDrafts. Even more encouraging was the emergence of academy prospects Diego Fagundez and Scott Caldwell.

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In his first season, the Revolution finished bottom of the Eastern Conference just as they had done under Nicols the year before. In 2013 however, with a teenage Fagundez firing 13 goals, they finished 7th overall in MLS and reached the playoffs for the first time since Heaps’ last season as a player.

Another improvement last season, 5th overall as well as the playoff success, has seen New England emerge as one of the best sides in the league.

A squad that has been gradually built up over the course of several seasons, capped off by the signing of Designated Player Jermaine Jones last summer, has proven to be greater than the sum of it’s parts. The loss of Soares, McCarthy and 2014 MLS SuperDraft pick-up Patrick Mullins has done little to slow the progress of the Revolution, whose strength in depth has come to the fore after a rocky start.

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Losses in the season openers away at Seattle Sounders and New York City, combined with a disappointing 0-0 draw with Montreal Impact, gave New England a poor start to the season, albeit without the talismanic Jones. Five wins in their next seven matches has emphatically answered any critics with Heaps’ well-balanced side and options off the bench proving a formidable challenge for any side in the league.

Jones has been paired up with youngster Farrell at the heart of a sturdy defence with the team conceding just four goals since the US international came back into the side, having missed the start of the campaign with injury. In front of them, a midfield engine consisting of any two from Caldwell, Andy Dorman and Jose Goncalves provides protection whilst allowing the array of attacking talents Revolution have to go forward with freedom.

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Arguably the signing of the close season was the capture of Juan Agudelo after his failed European adventure and the US international striker has teamed up effectively with a rejuvenated Charlie Davies. That’s not to mention 2014 MLS MVP candidate Lee Nguyen, who has yet to hit his sensational heights this season, and the fast-improving Rowe, who has relished the chance to take on a more attacking role.

A steely defence combined with a productive attack makes New England one of the most formidable teams in the league. They are the joint third highest-scoring side with 14 goals, and boast seven different goalscorers. They already have ten different players with an assist to their name too. The ominous signs for the rest of MLS are that for Heaps’ well-built team the best is yet to come.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City SC vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City SC vs. New England Revolution

Venue: Orlando Citrus Bowl – Friday, May 8th – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Orlando 7/5 – Draw 23/10 – New England Revolution 15/8

Match Preview

Orlando City host New England Revolution in the opening fixture of the weekend at the Citrus Bowl on Friday night.

The Lions are still yet to win at home in MLS and this will no doubt be adding pressure on Adrian Heath with every passing home game without a victory. His side have now lost two on the bounce, including last weekend’s home defeat to Toronto, and they are going to have to put that winless run at home to bed sooner rather than later.

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Orlando have only scored six goals this season and worryingly only found the net once at home in four games. They desperately need Kaka to lead the side and if they can get a positive result here it could spur them on their way to better things in their debut campaign.

New England Revolution are really showing their class and have extended their unbeaten run to seven games after last weekend’s 2-1 home victory against the New York Red Bulls. They sit at the top of the Eastern Conference, racking up 17 points from their opening nine games.

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Jay Heaps and his side inflicted the Red Bulls with their first loss of the season and they will not be taking any prisoners in this tie as he will expect nothing less than three points.

Charlie Davies will be hoping he can kick on after last weekend’s strike which was his third of the season. Goals have been easy to come by for the Revs, with five coming from midfield and seven from the forward line already.

Team News

Orlando City will be without Tally Hall, Pedro Ribeiro, Martin Paterson, Lewis Neal and Tony Cascio through injury. Kevin Molino is out for the season after tearing his ACL, though Rafael Ramos will return after serving his ban. Amobi Okugo is one booking away from a suspension and given Heath’s injury woes he will be hoping he can avoid another caution.

New England Revolution have a near fully fit squad and no suspensions to worry about. Darrius Barnes is sidelined while Daigo Kobayashi could be set to miss out again. Andy Dorman is one booking away from a suspension. Heaps will be hoping for a straightforward win here as the confidence continues to build.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: D/L/W/L/L

New England Revolution’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Orlando’s dreadful home start to their inaugural MLS campaign cannot be ignored, scoring just once and yet to notch a win. It is only a matter of time before their fans will be calling for things to change.

Key Player: Charlie Davies – The in-form forward could be in for a game full of chances if the Revs dominate this one.
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Score Prediction

Orlando City 0-2 New England Revolution – The Revs should come away with all three points but nothing can be ruled out as we have seen on so many occasions already this season. Orlando have struggled to produce at home and a game against the league leader’s will be a real test.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs New York Red Bulls

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. New York Red Bulls 

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, May 2nd – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: New England Revolution 23/20 – Draw 23/10 – New York Red Bulls 23/10

Match Preview

New England Revolution face New York Red Bulls on Saturday in one of this weekend’s standout fixtures. The Eastern Conference rivals are just separated by a point with the Revs leading the conference after eight weeks.

Jay Heaps’ side have had a strong start to the season and will be challenged here against a Red Bulls side that remain the only unbeaten team in MLS.

The Revs come into this one off back-to-back wins in a six-game unbeaten streak and look in a strong position ahead of the game.

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Goals have been coming from all over the field for New England, five from midfield and five from the forward line, with seven different scorers netting those ten goals. Charlie Davies has bagged two in his last two outings and will be hoping he can prove himself to be a big game player in this one.

New York Red Bulls remain unbeaten but have drawn four of their opening seven games. With back-to-back home draws, they will hope for better success on the road but will need to try and stop conceding the first goal to improve their chances.

It seems as if they are missing out on opportunities to be leading the Eastern Conference but if they can continue this unbeaten form it will give them a great chance of competing for top spot.

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Bradley Wright-Phillips and Lloyd Sam have started the season in brilliant form, scoring six between them. Wright-Phillips netted again midweek and his form in front of goal will be pivotal to how his side fare in the big games.

Red Bulls will have had just three days between this and their 1-1 draw against Colorado Rapids. They would have been expecting to win that game and cannot afford any complacency this weekend.

Team News

New England Revolution could be without four as Darrius Barnes, Jose Goncalves, Daigo Kobayashi and Lee Nguyen are carrying injuries. Nguyen would be a huge miss in the middle of the park but the Revs have coped well without key players already this season so Heaps should be able to rejig his midfield to cater for any potential absentees.

New York Red Bulls have just one injury concern to defender Ronald Zubar. Other than that Jesse Marsch has a full squad at his disposal. He will again be hoping for Wright-Phillips and Sam to combine but knows this is going to be a tough test.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s last five: W/W/D/W/W

New York Red Bulls’ last five: W/D/W/D/D

Key Stat: Goals – There have been 16 goals in the last five meetings between the sides so if that is anything to go by we could have an end-to-end tie.

Key Player: Lloyd Sam – The Red Bulls forward has really stepped up so far this season and is a real threat, he can be key to unlocking the Revs defence.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 2-2 New York Red Bulls – Another close tie with action like usual. The Red Bulls to continue their unbeaten run in possibly their toughest challenge so far.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, March 28 – 15:00 ET (19:00 GMT)

Match Odds: New England Revolution 10/11 – Draw 12/5 – San Jose Earthquakes 3/1

New England Revolution take on San Jose Earthquakes at Gillette Stadium on Saturday in what is a huge MLS match for the Revs after they’ve lost two of their opening three and are yet to score a goal.

San Jose Earthquakes, by contrast, have had a great start, picking up two wins on the bounce and have responded well following their opening day defeat to FC Dallas.

The Quakes have scored five goals in their last two games, including three in an excellent away win against the Seattle Sounders two weeks ago.

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New England are on a poor run of form after a 3-0 drubbing on the opening day against Seattle Sounders followed by a 2-0 defeat to New York City FC.

The Revs took a point from a Montreal Impact side that played with ten men for the final 30 minutes last time out, and they’ve really struggled to hit the back of the net.

New England can take confidence from the fact that they’ve beaten San Jose in their last two meetings though, and a win is much needed in order to take some pressure off head coach Jay Heaps.

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San Jose Earthquakes are in a rich vein of form and are currently second in the Western Conference, level on points with the Vancouver Whitecaps going into this weekend’s fixtures.

The Quakes will fancy their chances over a vulnerable New England side that are languishing in ninth place in the Eastern Conference above only Chicago Fire – the side that San Jose beat 2-1 last weekend.

Team News

New England Revolution will still be without influential midfielder Jermaine Jones who is recovering from his hernia surgery. Donnie Smith and Kevin Alston are both unavailable while Teal Bunbury remains a doubt. Playmaker Lee Nguyen has question marks over whether he will play.

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As for San Jose Earthquakes, Mark Sherrod remains out with a knee injury, as does Steven Lenhart. Defender Paulo Renato is out with a hamstring injury. Fatai Alashe will miss out as he is with the US U23 squad while Tommy Thompson is with the U20 side.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s form: L/L/D

San Jose Earthquakes’ form: L/W/W

Key Stat: New England Revolution are unbeaten in their last 11 Major League Soccer games at Gillette Stadium.

Key Player: Ty Harden – The Quakes defender notched a goal and an assist against Chicago last weekend and will look to build on that performance this weekend.

Score Prediction

New England Revolution 1-3 San Jose Earthquakes – New England will break their goalscoring duck, but the Quakes are in good form and will pick up another three points away from home this week.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs Montreal Impact

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, March 21 – 15:00 ET (19:00 GMT )

Match Odds: New England Revolution 17/20 – Draw 5/2 – Montreal Impact 16/5

Match Preview

New England Revolution host Montreal Impact at the Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening in their first MLS home game of the 2015 campaign.

The Revs have had a poor start to the season with two defeats from two games, and they find themselves rooted to the foot of the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings.

Montreal Impact have only played one MLS game so far and that ended in a 1-0 defeat away at DC United on March 7, however they are in with a great chance of reaching the CONCACAF Champions League final after a 2-0 semifinal first-leg win over Alajuelense on Wednesday thanks to goals from Ignacio Piatti and Victor Cabrera.

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The strong form the Impact have shown in that competition will fill them with confidence and they will be hoping to pounce on New England’s slow start on Saturday night.

Frank Klopas has only had two days to recover and prepare his Montreal side following their midweek victory, and a trip to New England could take its toll, so he will be hoping fatigue doesn’t affect their performance on the day.

New England have failed to score in their opening two games for the second consecutive season and they’re experiencing a case of déjà vu as their stats read as played two, lost two, scored none, conceded five – the exact same situation they were in one year ago.

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Although it’s obviously a major disappointment for head coach Jay Heaps, he knows how much quality the Revs have in their squad and will point to last season as an example of what can be achieved despite being slow out of the blocks.

The absence of Jermaine Jones has been a clear problem, but once he returns they will be fully confident of turning it around in the long term. In the short term, this game presents the perfect opportunity to kick-start the 2015 campaign.

The head-to-head record between these two Eastern Conference sides in MLS is very tight with New England coming out on top in three of the previous eight encounters compared to Montreal’s four victories, while the most recent clash ended in a 2-2 draw back in October 2014.

Team News

New England Revolution’s defensive mainstay Jose Goncalves will miss the game through suspension following his red card against New York City last time out. The Revs are still without the injured Jermaine Jones and Teal Bunbury is also a doubt as he recovers from a shoulder injury. Defenders Kevin Alston (hamstring) and Donnie Smith (groin) are both unavailable.

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Montreal impact will be without midfielder Andres Romero and defender Adrian Lopez. Goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau is unavailable due to a shoulder problem and Justin Mapp remains a long term absentee with an elbow injury.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s form: L/L

Montreal Impact’s form: L

Key Stat: New England Revolution failed to score in the opening three games of the 2014 season and history is on course to repeat itself unless they can pull themselves together here.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – He is the playmaker for the Revs and he really hasn’t got going yet. If he can start performing to the best of his ability then the results will come.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 1-1 Montreal Impact – Both sides will desperate for their first point of the new season and we could see a tightly contested affair.

2014 MLS Season Review: New England Revolution

Eastern Conference Final Position: 2nd

Eastern Conference Playoffs: Winners

MLS Cup Runner-up

Review

The 2014 campaign was a hugely successful one for the New England Revolution in many ways. They won more games in a season than ever before, and saw the highest ever attendances during their MLS Playoff run to the MLS Cup Final. The Revs might have lost in the final but the franchise will be delighted with the progress made and things look very good for 2015 and beyond.

Lee Nguyen was inspirational all season and the arrival of USMNT star Jermaine Jones transformed the Revs season at the perfect time. Next year should see the team improve further.

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Best Moment

Winning the Eastern Conference Championship against the New York Red Bulls has to go down as the best moment for the Revs in 2014. Their sublime playoff run saw them destroy the Columbus Crew and beating the Red Bulls over two legs saw them deservedly crowned Eastern Conference Champions.

Worst Moment

Losing in the MLS Cup Final was disappointing but not the worst moment of the season by any stretch. Losing eight games in a row in the middle of the season was a real bad spell for the club and they did well to turn things around later on.

Player of the Year

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Lee Nguyen – Sensational. Anyone who watched the Revs this season does not need to be told how good the playmaker was. He ended the season with a staggering 20 goals, including those scored in the playoffs and missed just two games all season. Nguyen was rewarded for his efforts with a call-up to the USMNT squad for the friendly against Colombia in London and he looks set for another huge campaign next time around.

Biggest Win

New England Revolution 5-0 Seattle Sounders (May 11 2014)

Biggest Defeat

LA Galaxy 5-1 New England Revolution (July 17 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

There is not much that needs to be drastically changed in New England for next season. The way they ended the 2014 regular season and approached the playoffs deserves great credit and if they can pick up where they left off they will quickly be labelled as MLS Cup favourites for 2015. Jay Heaps has his side set up well, and has the right personnel in to make another charge at the MLS Cup next term.

They will be disappointed with the mid-season slump and consistency will be important this time around. They only won one of their opening five last season so it will be vital that they hit the ground running and make it last.