If there’s one thing that Revolution head coach Jay Heaps is paying particular attention to ahead of Saturday’s match against Toronto FC, it’s his team’s attitude out on the training pitch and in the workout room.
Last week, the Revolution parlayed their hard work behind the scenes into a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
"It was a good week leading up to that (win),” Heaps told the media on Wednesday. “We went in there with confidence, and it's important for us to use the positives."
One of the positives that sprang from their surprising win in Houston was a lively attack, which punctured the Dynamo’s backline for two goals -- the most the Revs have collected on the road this season.
It’s no secret that Heaps wants to see more of that same attacking soccer on Saturday, and there’s no denying that newly-acquired Juan Agudelo, who’s expected to make his home debut on Saturday, will be counted upon to spear the offense.
“He shows that he can hold the ball,” Heaps said of his 20-year-old forward, who joined the team via trade from Chivas USA earlier this month. “He can play in the channels, he can play back to goal, or facing up. He's just a pretty dynamic player, and we're excited to have him."
While the attack received the bulk of the praise for last week’s win, the defense also played an important role in preserving the rare road victory.
The win gave the Revolution defense its sixth shutout of the season, a remarkable stat considering the recent rash of injuries that have hit the back four.
According to center back Jose Goncalves, the lone defender who hasn’t missed a game this season, it all starts with the same competitive spirit that Heaps demands from his players out on the training pitch.
"I think (it’s) because everyone is very focused,” Goncalves told the media on Wednesday. “So, if someone gets a red card or injured, then the next one steps in. (This week), it will be pretty (much) the same because everyone is focused and everyone has the hunger to play."
It’ll be interesting to see how hungry the Revolution are come Saturday. Unlike last week, the team isn't up against a wall on the road facing one of the best teams in the league. Rather, it's hosting a downtrodden Toronto side that hasn’t sniffed a win since its shocking 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City on March 9.
Incidentally, the last time Toronto came to town was right after the Revolution reeled off a morale-boosting 2-0 win over New York on July 8, 2012. But an early Luis Silva goal led the Revolution to a 1-0 loss, setting in motion a club-record 10-game winless streak that essentially ended their playoff hopes.
Clearly, the Revolution would like to avoid any such hangover with Toronto back in town.
“Saturday will be a very important game,” Goncalves said. “We must make sure we perform with the same attitude that we went with on the pitch in Houston."