The cruel summer that appeared to be crushing the New England Revolution has turned around before its conclusion.
With their 3-0 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday, the Revs find themselves back on the good side of the "red line" in the Eastern Conference. After suffering a nine-game losing streak between May 31 and July 26, Jay Heaps's side has gone 3-1-1, picking up 13 of a possible 17 points.
“This is the time when you want to be going forward, you want to be catching the stride,” said midfielder Kelyn Rowe following the Revs first road win since May 17th.
Beyond the points, there were a lot of positives to take away from Saturday’s win.
To begin with, New England’s high-pressured attack helped them dominate play across the middle and into the attacking third of the pitch, turning Toronto's mistakes into opportunities. Lee Nguyen's 2nd-minute goal, his team-leading 10th goal of the season, came after a TFC giveaway in back. Rowe then struck in the 20th minute after another lazy pass in the Toronto midfield, and Teal Bunbury’s second-half score was the result of a quick counter-attack.
“We took advantage of some mistakes that they had,” said Rowe. “Lee’s first goal was amazing and it started us off. Charlie [Davies] made some good runs, he held the ball up nicely.”
Davies put in his first 90-minute shift since October 2, 2011, and he contributed with an assist on Bunbury's goal. He has now put his name on scoresheet with a goal or an assist in four of the last five games.
Further back, the defense put together another solid performance, keeping Toronto from getting any shots on target in the first half en route to their third clean sheet in five games and second in a row.
And when TFC did get a shot on goal, goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was there to stop them. He made three saves in his seventh shutout of the season.
“We have to give credit to our defense as they have done very well the past couple games,” said Nguyen of a unit that has allowed just three goals in the last five games. “Offensively, we put away our chances and we were able to get a big three points.”
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The run of good form, coupled with the addition of Jermaine Jones, has New England back in the playoff mix ahead of a vital week in which they host defending MLS champions Sporting KC on Wednesday and Eastern Conference rivals Chicago Fire on Sunday.
“Every game matters,” said coach Jay Heaps. “We have a group of guys that did this last year, we had to fight for every point come the stretch. We just have to continue to put one game at a time.”