FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Back in the lineup and back to form on Saturday, Jose Gonçalves and the New England Revolution went a long way in squashing any lingering resentment from the previous week’s benching of the reigning MLS Defender of the Year.
Alongside A.J. Soares at centerback, and with Andrew Farrell back on the right and Chris Tierney manning the left side, New England got its regular starting back line together for the first time this year, resulting in the team’s first shutout of the season.
“I think it’s a good start,” said Gonçalves after Saturday’s scoreless draw versus Vancouver. “Everyone knows each other very well, so there was no problem.”
“Having that partnership with A.J. and Jose and Chris, like we did last season, we knew that was going to gel well,” Farrell told the media. “It was good that we got the shutout.”
Moments before Saturday's kick-off, team GM Mike Burns addressed the media regarding the Gonçalves controversy which reportedly stems from a contract dispute.
“There were many conversations that took place and we feel that we’re all in a much better spot now,” Burns said. “We think he’s very happy [in New England] and we hope he’s very happy and we hope he’s going to be here for a while.”
Gonçalves’ hard work during training not only earned him his starting spot back, but also the captain’s armband, and he led his unit with 13 clearances as the back line allowed just one Whitecaps shot on goal in each half.
“I did my job all week and I try to be a professional every day,” Gonçalves said. “All of the stuff outside, it can be a lot of speculation.”
Speculation aside, the team is content with where things currently stand, which is easy to understand after watching the play of the back unit on Saturday.
“Sometimes you need to work through some things and get back to a better place,” added Burns. “We feel that we’re back there and he is back to the Jose that we know and we are used to. For us, it’s in the past and we move on.”