FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – There’s something different about the 2013 New England Revolution.
After following up a string of eight consecutive postseason appearances with a three-year drought, the Revs are on the brink of returning to the MLS Cup Playoffs as they cling to fifth place in the East entering the final weekend. The turnaround is largely due to the club’s improvement on the field, but there are other factors at play.
“We haven’t been in the postseason my first two years here, so it’s a different feeling; the locker room’s got a different vibe,” said third-year center back A.J. Soares. “Everyone’s fresh, we’ve got a lot of energy. It’s a great group of guys this year.”
New England’s roster balances a perfect blend of industrious youngsters and crafty veterans, always willing to work together toward a common cause. From the youngest player on the roster (leading scorer Diego Fagundez – 18) to the oldest (starting goalkeeper Matt Reis – 38), everyone does their part.
Their overwhelming determination was on full display last weekend in a critical 3-2 win over the Columbus Crew. After twice seeing second-half leads slip away in a back-and-forth affair, Fagundez popped up with the game-winning goal after 76 minutes and the Revs dug in to close the game out under tense circumstances.
“Everyone’s resilient; everyone works hard for the group,” said Soares. “No one has a bad attitude and it’s pretty incredible to be in the locker room with that kind of group.”
That camaraderie in the locker room translates to the field, where the Revs have gone 3-0-2 in their last five to put themselves in position to clinch a postseason berth with a win on Sunday afternoon at Crew Stadium.
According to Soares, it would be a just reward for a team which has battled to earn this opportunity.
“It’s the kind of group that deserves to be pushing for the playoffs,” he said. “We’ve got to go to Columbus next week and win, so we’re focused again. That’s it.”