So far, so good.
It wasnt a win to open the season, but the New England Revolution began the 2011 campaign on Sunday with the next best thing: a draw on the road against one of the leagues best teams.
In fact, the Revs got off to their second-fastest start in club history, when Shalrie Josephs header in the third minute of Sundays 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy gave the Revs an early 1-0 lead, even though Steve Nicols squad began the game in a 4-5-1 formation, which stressed an early defensive stand.
But Marko Perovics second-effort on a corner kick that never made it to the goal, found Joseph at the back post, who used his head to put New England up 1-0.
Because Perovic the Revs leading goal scorer from 2010 left the season-opener in the 22nd minute with a hamstring injury, New England focused strictly on defense for the rest of the game. And while allowing the tying goal in the 39th minute, the Revolution were happy to leave Los Angeles with a point to open the 2011 campaign.
It feels good starting the first game of the season getting a point on the road against a huge team like L.A., said Joseph.
The draw snapped a six-game losing skid for the Revs in the Pacific and Mountain time zones, as they went 0-6-0 last season on the West Coast. And even though they werent able to hold onto a 1-0 lead in some nasty weather on Sunday night, the vibe in the locker room is still a positive one.
I think the manner in which we did it was a team effort, said Nicol. We were in good shape, we defended well, we picked good spots. We are unlucky not to score more than one goal.
Nicol believes his team got what they deserved on Sunday. Thats not necessarily a bad thing. And everybody will agree, Josephs early goal was huge for the teams confidence. But also, finishing with a tie against a team like the Galaxy, in L.A.s home, is even bigger for the teams psyche to start a year in which the Revs are trying to get back to the playoffs, after missing out on the postseason last year.
Its always good to get a point on the road, said goaltender Matt Reis, who made six saves in Sundays season opener. If you look at it at the end of the year, if you get a point out of every road game, that is great.
The Revolution will look to build on that confidence with two consecutive home games, beginning with their home opener on Saturday against the D.C. United, followed by a game against the expansion Portland Timbers on Saturday, April 2.
New England enters Saturdays match with a four-game unbeaten streak against United, a streak that last over the last two seasons.
This time around, the Revs will have to face a United club that opened their season on an even more positive note, as they scored three second-half goals over the weekend to defeat the Columbus Crew in D.C.
While injuries are still preventing Nicol to play certain impact players at their usual positions, if the players that are available were good enough to earn a point in Los Angeles over the weekend, it should be enough to at least do the same at home, and build off of the second-fastest start in club history.
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.