New England Revolution attacker Giacomo Vrioni (9) scores a goal as New York Red Bulls defender Hassan Ndam (98) slides to defend the shot. (Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis Editor

Life is not looking good for the goal-starved Red Bulls these days.

Margins are so thin that can’t even afford to surrender one goal.

Case in point:

Their 1-0 loss at the New England Revolution in Foxborough, Mass. on Wednesday night.

Their MLS Cup Playoffs hopes are fading fast. With eight games remaining in the regular season, the Red Bulls (7-11-8, 29 points) are tied with New York City FC for 12th place in the 15-team Eastern Conference, three points behind the Chicago Fire for the ninth and final playoff berth.

That might seem like not much, but they will have to climb through two other teams to reach that spot and their prospects don’t look very good.

The Red Bulls must find ways to put the ball into the net or their season will be dead in the water.

“There’s a lot of set pieces that we’ve had and myself and other guys on the team could get our heads on the end of these things,” captain Sean Nealis said. “That’s what good teams do. They find a way to win and find a way to win any way. We’ve got eight games left. It’s a big opportunity for us to get as many points as we can.”

Added head coach Troy Lesesne: “We have eight matches to go, and we have a lot of work to do. But there’s also a lot of points out there.”

Meanwhile, the second-place Revs kept their home unbeaten record intact at 10-0-3 as they improved to 13-5-7 with 46 points.

The hosts needed only one goal to decide this encounter, which came in the 30th minute.

Giacomo Vrioni latched onto a Mark-Anthony Kaye pass and raced down the left flank before beating goalkeeper Carlos Coronel from 12 yards.

“It was kind of a stop-start game,” Nealis said. “They had that one big chance in the first half, and they capitalized on and I think that’s the story of our season. We just, we just let one chance slip and teams bury us. So it’s unfortunate, but it’s something that we have to correct and it’s we know it’s in our hands to kind of correct it.”

Goalkeeper Earl Edwards, Jr. backstopped the clean sheet for the Revs.

New England outshot the Red Bulls, 15-10, placing six attempts on target, compared to a pair by the visitors.

The Red Bulls, who have scored only once in their last three MLS matches and only 23 times in 26 games, need to find the net or their hopes of reaching the playoffs for a record 14th consecutive season will go down the drain.

It certainly won’t be easy as they will play five of their remaining eight matches on the road.

Next up is the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park in Chester, Pa. on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The Red Bulls, who were eliminated by Philly in the Leagues Cup earlier this month, have had a habit of falling short against the Union in recent years.

“I think that can be kind of a momentum changing game,” Nealis said. “We struggled playing there, playing against them the last couple of years and I think a big result against them could kind of swing things back in the right direction. Like you said, unfortunate result for us tonight. But the games keep coming and nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. So, we got to pick ourselves up and keep going and like you said, it’s a big one against Philly.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at at