FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Jay Heaps was quick to downplay the notion that his New England Revolution side made any kind of statement with Sunday afternoon’s emphatic 5-0 win over the two-time defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy.
“There’s no statement; it’s just a game,” Heaps said after the Revolution matched the largest margin of victory in club history. “We had to take it, we had to prepare ourselves and I thought we did a good job of doing that.”
The Revs ran rampant in the closing stages, tacking on three goals after the 85th minute to turn what was a 2-0 game into an apparent shellacking in the blink of an eye. Second-half substitute Kelyn Rowe was involved in all three late goals, setting up Diego Fagundez and Chad Barrett before tacking on one of his own. That after Saer Sene opened the scoring in the first half and Lee Nguyen added some insurance in the 71st minute.
In a way the late offensive explosion deflected attention from yet another sterling defensive performance as the Revs – guided by goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and captain Jose Goncalves – kept their third straight clean sheet to bring their league-leading total up to eight on the season.
But even after a 5-0 victory, Heaps was just as quick to point out the areas in which New England still needs improvement, insisting that the Revs are learning lessons one game at a time as they continue to try to claw their way up the Eastern Conference standings.
“We’re still in the middle of the pack trying to fight away,” Heaps said as the Revs drew level with the Philadelphia Union for fifth place in the East. “Every game is a grind for us … We have five wins now and it’s important for us to use this as a learning experience, because like I said, there was some really good stuff that we did, but there were some things that we have to get better at.”
The Revs will look to continue making improvements next weekend when they host D.C. United in the finale of a three-game homestand, and that match will be the Revolution’s sole focus as they prepare throughout the week. But even as the Revs make sure not to get too far ahead of themselves, the prospect of being in the thick of the playoff hunt as the calendar turns toward summer is something the club can’t ignore.
“We just beat the champs,” said Rowe. “We went to Houston and beat them at their home. We’ve had some good games. If we keep this run up, we’re going to have something. We want to make the playoffs. We’re saying one game at a time, but we’re looking down the road for that playoff spot.”