By Danny Picard
To say its been a long season for the New England Revolution is an understatement. And last Saturdays 2-2 draw with the Columbus Crew sealed the deal on what seemed like an inevitable conclusion to the Revs season. In other words, the Revolution have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
It marks the first time since 2001, that New England will not be a part of the MLS Cup Playoffs, snapping a streak of eight consecutive postseason appearances for the organization.
So now, the Revs have four regular-season games left; four games in which you can bet heavily on coach Steve Nicol testing out new strategies in preparation for the 2011 season.
And that road to 2011 officially begins on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, as the Revolution host Real Salt Lake in their second-to-last home game of the year.
Real Salt Lake enters the game as the second-place team in the Western Conference, with 48 points. And in case youre taking tabs, the Revs enter the game as the seventh-place team (out of eight) in the Eastern Conference, with 26 points.
New England finishes the regular season with games at Houston, against Kansas City at home, and in New York.
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Lee Nguyen and Kei Kamara scored late goals and the New England Revolution, with a 2-1 win, denied Toronto FC an opportunity to clinch the Supporters' Shield on Saturday.
Kamara scored the go-ahead goal in the 87th minute with a header off Nguyen's cross. The Revs (11-14-5) avoided playoff elimination and extended their undefeated streak at home against Toronto FC (18-5-8) to six games. Toronto has three matches remaining to clinch the Shield with a magic number of three points.
Nguyen opened the scoring for New England in the 82nd minute with his 50th career goal, taking Chris Tierney's lead pass from midfield and finishing through a defensive deflection.
Toronto FC's Nicolas Hasler answered two minutes later with a right-footed volley of Michael Bradley's diagonal cross.
Forwards Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore missed the match for Toronto FC, both due to lower body tightness.
Tom Soehn will take over as interim coach of the New England Revolution for the remaining five matches of the MLS season after the team confirmed the firing of Jay Heaps with an announcement on Tuesday.
Ives Galarcep of Goal USA was first to report Heaps’ firing on Monday.
The decision to move on from Heaps comes after two back-to-back losses, one of which was a 7-0 defeat at the hands of Atlanta United. New England is 10-14-5 and in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Revs next play Saturday at 5 p.m. against Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium.
Heaps had been the Revs head coach since 2011, the longest tenure in team history, and was 75-81-43 in the regular season. He also led the Revs to the MLS Cup Final in 2014 where they lost to the LA Galaxy.
“Jay has done a great deal for the club over the years and had considerable achievements. I have great respect for him and wish him well in the next steps of his career,” said Revs general manager Michael Burns. “This decision has not been taken lightly, however, we need to do better than the results have shown from the last couple of seasons and this season left us convinced we need to go in a different direction.”
Heaps has been a central figure in 15 of the Revolution's 22 seasons in MLS, including nine years as a defender for the team from 2001-09. He played a part in all five of the Revolution's Eastern Conference championships, four as a player, and helped lead them to the U.S. Open Cup Final on three occasions, including the club's victory in 2007.
“Jay gave the club his all as a player and coach, and we are thankful to him for all his passion and hard work,” said Revs team president Brian Bilello. “We will always be grateful for his efforts in bringing us back to both an MLS Cup final and a U.S. Open Cup Final and wish nothing but the best for him moving forward.”
Soehn was in his fourth season as an assistant coach after joining Heaps’ staff in January 2014. Soehn has been an MLS player, assistant coach, head coach, and team executive. He began his pro playing career in 1988 and has 13 years of MLS coaching experience as both a head coach and assistant, including three seasons with the Chicago Fire and six seasons with D.C. United.