FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Saturday's rematch of the New England Revolution's season opener against the Houston Dynamo provides New England with a timely chance to see just how far they have progressed since their 4-0 defeat at Houston back on March 8 (highlights above).
Despite having picked up only four points in the four games since, a vastly improved Revolution defense (allowed one goal per game since the Houston match) has been a catalyst for offensive opportunity.
“The team defending, overall, has gotten a lot better, and that’s really what it is,” said center back A.J. Soares to the media on Tuesday. “The league is at the point now where if you don’t have 11 guys defending and 11 guys attacking, you can’t win. It doesn’t matter who it is.”
On the attacking front, the Revolution have scored just two goals to this point, but coach Jay Heaps said there are even some positives that can be taken away from that initial meeting in Houston.
“The game itself was not approached properly to start,” said Heaps, whose club took 19 shots that day. “But as the game went on, we created our chances.”
The chances may not come as easily this Saturday, as the Dynamo – who will be without center backs David Horst (suspension) and Eric Brunner (injury) – will likely put defense first after allowing six goals in their last two matches.
“Houston is a very good team, very physical,” Heaps said. “I think they’re difficult to beat no matter where you’re playing them.”
One thing this game will not be is a call for redemption, with New England having already put that initial loss in their rearview mirror. The Revolution insist it is just another shot at points, and as has been the case each week, they remain confident that they can take all three.
“No redemption, nothing like that,” said Soares. “I don’t really care if it’s Houston or Vancouver or whoever it is. We’re at home, and we want to get three points. Obviously we learned from [the first game versus Houston]. We watched the film, but it’s a totally new game, different set of circumstances, different field, and I think we’re going to go out there and win.”