MONTREAL – One look at the Eastern Conference table provided the New England Revolution with all of the necessary information heading into Saturday's 1-0 victory at Montreal.
By just about every practical measure, the continued quest for a first playoff berth since 2009 hinged on collecting all three points at Stade Saputo. The performance on the field reflected the Revs' desire to sustain their pursuit through the season-ending home-and-home with Columbus over the next fortnight.
“When we came to Montreal, we came to take the three points,” Revolution defender Jose Goncalves told MLSsoccer.com. “We knew that if we failed, it's going to be very difficult to keep looking for the playoffs. We just worked hard today as a team for 90 minutes. We made it through with the three points.”
Concentration and diligence constituted the primary tools for triumph on an exacting day physically and emotionally. The team first endured a graphic injury to Saër Sène, who sustained a dislocated left ankle and a broken left tibia early in the first half, and then withstood Montreal's second-half pressure in the final half-hour in search of the equalizer required to claim a result.
In the face of those threats, the Revs responded with the sort of resolve required to thrive at this time of year. The lessons from the heartbreaking draws against Houston and New York took hold. Their defiant display – bright in the first half, committed and organized in the second – revealed the depth of their commitment to the cause.
“It was a must-win, a win or go home thing for us with the playoffs,” Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe told MLSsoccer.com. “We played it that way. You saw the fight the guys had throughout the whole 90 minutes.”
It showed in the way the Revs trudged joyfully to the locker room after the final whistle. Their dogged work yielded the desired result and left them utterly spent as they prepared to return home to continue their playoff fight against Columbus next weekend.
“It's another week where I have to say I'm really proud of our guys,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “We came to a tough place to play. We've had a tough little schedule. I thought our guys came out with the right mentality. The second half wasn't the greatest, but we dug in and we made up for some mistakes. We went over it and did it right this week, where we didn't do it right last week.”
Kyle McCarthy covers the New England Revolution for MLSsoccer.com.