When your league-leading offense cannot get started, your team has to find another way to earn the victory.
Enter the role of graft in the Revolution's 1-0 victory over D.C. United on Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Struggling to break down a resolute United defense in the center of the pitch, the Revolution stuck with the task through impressive work rate and steely determination to achieve a sixth consecutive victory.
"You just need to keep running, keep passing, keep talking," said Revolution midfielder Andy Dorman. "You have to win the first ball and the second ball. You need to keep your act together."
The Revolution maintained that effort by winning the first and second balls for most of the afternoon.
"We were just battling for any 50-50 balls," said Revolution defender Michael Parkhurst.
The rookie enjoyed perhaps his finest outing in a Revolution jersey, saving a goal-bound Mike Petke header off the line and maintaining his role as lynchpin at the rear.
Fellow defender Jay Heaps noted that the constant commitment to getting stuck in is not a new trend for coach Steve Nicol's side.
"That's the kind of soccer we play," said Heaps. "We'd like to go out and win every game 4-0. We come out and we play safe and smart."
Parkhurst heaped praise on match-winner Taylor Twellman, who scored his 59th minute winner with an emphatic second effort, and Pat Noonan for starting the defensive work with their pressure on United's backline.
"Taylor and Pat really worked their butts off up there," said Parkhurst. "We really appreciate it. It helps us if their backs can't send the ball into the box."
Twellman deflected any praise back onto the effort the rearguard did in keeping the United forwards adrift.
"It's a team effort," said Twellman. "Defending starts up top with Pat and I. Give our defense credit. They're doing a great job."
Dorman believes that the graft shown in dispatching United will prove helpful as the Revs attempt to maintain their strong start.
"When you grind out results like that, it's a good thing," said Dorman.
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.