Revs show they're for real vs. defending champs

Revs show they're for real vs. defending champs
June 2, 2013, 8:45 pm
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FOXBORO -- Whatever the New England Revolution tell you, Sunday's 5-0 win over the defending MLS Cup champs at Gillette Stadium made a statement.

A four-goal, second-half surge on national television that showcased a sit-down post-game interview with an up-and-coming star like Diego Fagundez, isn't something that happens without grabbing the attention of the rest of the league.

The Revolution entered Sunday's match with the Los Angeles Galaxy having won their previous two MLS games, both in 2-0 fashion, in Houston and at home against Toronto.

Now, with Sunday's 5-0 win over the Galaxy, the Revs have won three straight. Or four straight, if you want to include Tuesday's 5-1 Open Cup win over Rochester.

They are tied with the Philadelphia Union for the last Eastern Conference playoff spot with 19 points and a 5-5-4 record.

Two of their last three wins have come against elite competition. Houston is the third-place team in the East, and LA is the fourth-place team in the West.

So it's not just a three-game winning streak. It's a three-game winning streak against some of the best, and after Sunday, the rest of the MLS has been put on notice, regardless of what they'll tell you.

"It's three points," said Heaps after Sunday's win. "I think, for us, we're still in the middle of the pack, trying to fight away. Every game is a grind for us. And for me, we wanted to get three points at home. We started talking about this game right after we played in the Open Cup [on Tuesday]. So, we have a good focus right now. And right now, we're going to talk about this game, learn from it, and then our focus is on D.C. next week.

"Again, we're still grinding. We just got to .500. We have five wins now. It's important for us to use this as a learning experience. There was some really good stuff that we did, and there were some things that we have to get better at, that we just can't let a game get so wide open when we have a two-goal lead. But right now, we're trying to focus on the game at hand.

"So tonight was LA," added Heaps. "We'll learn from it. We usually take two days to do video, and then we're on to D.C. So, we don't have time to really analyze how big a statement -- there's no statement. It's just a game, and we had to take it, and we had to prepare ourselves. And I thought we did a good job doing that."

Fagundez displayed his impressive skill set on national television, finishing with a goal and an assist. His goal put the Revs up 3-0 in the 87th minute. But it was his one-touch give-and-go pass to Saer Sene in the 33rd minute that made the difference, leading to New England's eventual game-winner.

"You see him, and he's got excellent body control," said Heaps. "We see it all the time in training, but it's tough to find that all the time on field. But today he really had it. You could see, he was putting the ball exactly where he wanted, sliding off defenders, and he created the first two goals. That touch to Saer, to me, was one of the best touches of the game."

The Revolution showed that they're able to score. Or at least, they have the weapons to do so. With five goals and a shutout against the defending champs, a statement was in fact made at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.

"We have so many good attacking players on this squad now," said Chris Tierney. "Bringing guys into the game late. That can change a game like Chad [Barrett] did, Kelyn Rowe as well. The depth of this squad is such a bonus. We have so many players that can hurt you, especially coming on fresh like that. So, I'm not surprised that we scored five. It's always a possibility with the squad that we have this year."

The playoffs are also a possibility. And as good as this latest stretch has been, they'll all tell you that making the postseason will be the ultimate "statement."

"We want to keep that run going as long as possible," said Kelyn Rowe. "We just beat the champs. We went to Houston and beat them at their home. We've had some good games, so I think if we keep this run up, we're going to have something. We want to get that playoff spot. We're saying 'one game at a time' but we're looking down the road at that playoff."

After Sunday, the rest of the league now sees them coming.