Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Revs get closer to making a statement
By Brian O'Connell
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Don’t call Sunday’s 5-1 Revolution win over the Union a statement game. Not with more than a quarter of the season to go, and plenty of hurdles to clear.
Despite the fact that they staked an emphatic win over a strong conference foe and climbed into fifth place, Revolution coach Jay Heaps downplayed the notion that it meant anything more than three points.
“I’ve got to be honest with you, we need points,” Heaps said after Sunday’s game. “(A) statement is when you make the playoffs, and do well in the playoffs. So for us, we are trying to get points.”
It is with good reason that Heaps is cautious to categorize any win -- even a classic six-pointer -- as a declaration of his club’s current strength.
Until last week’s 2-0 win over Chicago, the Revs were a team in dire need of points. They’d lost back-to-back games to lowly Toronto FC and first-place Sporting Kansas City, and hadn’t won a home game since early July. In fact, they sported a disappointed 2-4-0 record in their last six games leading up to their showdown against Chicago.
While that victory seemed to ease supporters' fears, Sunday’s clash against fourth-place Philadelphia presented a formidable test -- a test of whether the Revolution, who entered the contest in seventh place, was a legitimate contender.
“This (was) a huge game, an in-conference game,” Revolution keeper Matt Reis said afterward. “We knew all these games have playoff implications for us now. We’re kind of trying to climb the ladder. We did a great job of responding tonight.”
It was the kind of response Heaps will need to see more often from his team, especially down the stretch. With a conference race that was blown wide open after a series of seismic victories this past weekend, the Revs must continue to collect points in their final nine games.
And while there were plenty of smiles to go around in the Revolution locker room following Sunday’s offensive explosion, Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe doesn’t believe he and his teammates will allow themselves to get carried away by a solitary, midsummer win.
“For us, it’s more about making a run for the playoffs. We’re not just going to drop off,” Rowe said. “I already think we’ve made our statement throughout the year that we’re better than (we’ve been) during the past few years.”
Rowe is spot on in that assessment. Sunday’s win -- the Revolution’s 10th of the season -- not only eclipsed last year’s total (9), but also marked the first time since 2009 that the team has reached double-digit wins. Incidentally, 2009 was also the last time the Revolution reached the postseason.
But the playoffs are probably the furthest thing from Heaps’ mind at the moment. Never one to think too far ahead, the Revolution boss is focused only on the task at hand.
“We need to continue to get points at home and right the record at home,” Heaps said. “We’ve felt like we let games slip away here, and we need to right that ship.”