FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Charlie Davies helped the New England Revolution sink the San Jose Earthquakes in his first action of the year on Saturday, sparking the attack in a frantic 28 minutes that was capped by Lee Nguyen's injury-time winner for the Revs' first victory of 2014.
Now Davies is eager to build on that season debut, even as he takes on the challenge of a new role in the Revs' system.
Having missed much of the preseason with a lingering calf injury, Davies was added to the 18-man game-day roster in San Jose for the first time and made a large enough impression as a substitute to warrant some more consideration moving forward.
"Charlie had a tough preseason with an injury," said New England coach Jay Heaps on Tuesday. "It's been a progression. I thought Charlie did an excellent job at coming in and adding a different element."
Although Heaps did not indicate if Davies was ready for a full-time role, he said he feels the fleet-footed Davies still needs to make adjustments to his wide game. That speed, however, makes Davies a threat from any forward position.
“We played him a little bit out wide and up top,” said Heaps. “I think he's a little bit more comfortable tactically up top than he is on the flank. He has the pace to get behind defenders, and there's nothing worse than when a guy can still get behind you in the 70th, 80th minute."
It has taken effort and preparation for Davies to return to the field, and it paid off when he showed signs that he could once again reach the form that saw him score 11 goals for D.C. United in 2011.
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“Hard work, that's what it comes down to,” Davies told the media on Tuesday. “Everything I’ve been through has helped me prepare for situations like this.”
Davies joined the Revolution last August and logged 23 minutes in four appearances as a sub. His work on Saturday was a much larger showcase of his capabilities, and with injuries in the Revolution midfield and a so-far lagging offense, a sparkplug off the bench might be just what New England need right now.
"I'm hungry,” said Davies. “What I’m hoping happens is that we continue to get better as a team and I continue to get better as a player."