FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – What a difference two weeks has made for the New England Revolution.
A scoreless draw against Vancouver in Week 3, followed by a win at San Jose, and the Revs look to be rounding into that 2013 form that earned the club its first playoff berth in four years.
Two weeks ago coach Jay Heaps' team had just been shut out for the second straight game to start the season, compounded by the controversy that encompassed the exclusion of captain José Gonçalves vs. the Philadelphia Union.
The return of the reigning MLS Defender of the Year in week three has seemingly put things back on track for New England.
“José is our captain and we needed him, big-time,” Lee Nguyen told reporters on Tuesday. “With him back there, and with the same back four as last year, the chemistry is there.”
Health has been a factor over the first month of the season, as Heaps has been forced to field a different starting lineup in each match.
Once the backline's core four finally logged time together as a unit against Vancouver, the chemistry seemed to trickle up into the midfield, which in turn sprung numerous opportunities for an attack that had been looking for their first goal of the season prior to Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Earthquakes.
- Catch the latest Revs news at RevolutionSoccer.net
“Our main thing is to keep the back four on defense strong, which they had been all last seen,” said Nguyen. “You see that it’s starting to get strong again with the shutout against Vancouver and another strong showing against San Jose. That’s only going to help our offense, because when our defense is strong, our offense has more chances to create.”
Although Heaps isn’t ready to give a full assessment of the season to date – he prefers to wait until after five games to do such – he continues to be most pleased by his club’s execution of the game plan.
“I think our mindset was really good,” said Heaps on Tuesday. “Guys did an excellent job at following what we wanted to do tactically.”