An exciting young roster, a passionate head coach and a long-awaited return to the MLS Cup Playoffs have New England Revolution fans looking toward the future. And rightly so.
But while 2013 will hopefully serve as a stepping stone on the road to the ultimate goal of an MLS Cup championship, it stands on its own as a season chock full of memorable moments and storylines. From trading up to select Andrew Farrell with the first overall pick at the MLS SuperDraft in January to a late-season playoff surge through September and October, the past 10 months have been pretty special.
Throughout the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a look back at some of the most memorable stories from 2013, reliving them through the words, video and pictures which brought them to life in a series we’re calling Revolution Rewind.
We’ll kick things off with a goal explosion … or, more accurately, three goal explosions.
“Oh, it’s five! They are obliterating the champions!”
Entering the 2013 campaign, it had been a long time since the Revs had scored as many as five goals in a single game in any competition. Like, almost nine years long; not since Pat Noonan, Steve Ralston and Taylor Twellman tore up the nets in a 6-1 win over the Colorado Rapids on Sept. 18, 2004.
Through the season’s first two months, New England’s 2013 side seemed an unlikely crew to break that duck. Through six games, the Revs managed just two goals, one of which was an own goal. It was a rough start.
But by season’s end, the Revs had racked up 49 goals, their best offensive output since 2007. The attack was steady – shut out just three times in the final 31 games in all competitions – but the young Revs also showed an ability to open the floodgates, which they did to the tune of five goals on three separate occasions.
It started in late May at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, where Kelyn Rowe’s two-goal, one-assist performance lifted the Revs to a 5-1 victory over the USL PRO affiliate Rochester Rhinos in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. Also on the scoresheet that night were Chad Barrett, Jerry Bengtson and Andy Dorman – although you’ll have to take our word for it, as technical difficulties with the online stream means there’s no highlight package. We do, however, have pictures and our own postgame recap featuring reaction from head coach Jay Heaps and his players.
PHOTOS: Revolution 5, Rochester Rhinos 1
Thankfully there is a highlight package from the game which took place just five days later, and I highly suggest you watch it … over and over again. In front of a national television audience on NBC Sports Network, the Revs picked apart the two-time defending champion LA Galaxy in an emphatic 5-0 win.
Five different players scored for the Revs on that memorable Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, but it wasn’t just the volume of New England’s goals, it was the artistry. From Diego Fagundez’s pinpoint pass on Saer Sene’s opener, to Rowe’s threaded service on Fagundez’s strike, to the incredible swerve on Rowe’s own long-distance blast, the Revs put on a 90-minute show for the entire country.
HIGHLIGHTS: Revolution 5, LA Galaxy 0
FAN PHOTOS: Revolution 5, LA Galaxy 0
Back-to-back five-goal performances proved the offensive explosion wasn’t a fluke, but just for good measure, the Revs put up another five-spot in a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Union in late August. Rowe was again the showstopper (are you sensing a pattern here?) with a pair of long-range blasts, including a 30-yard rocket into the upper corner which earned him MLS Goal of the Week honors.
One quite remarkable stat which stood out as I went back through these three games – of the Revolution’s 15 goals, Rowe was involved in more than half, scoring five times while assisting on three others. What makes it even more remarkable is that Rowe didn’t even start the 5-0 win over the Galaxy; he entered as a 57th-minute substitute before factoring into three goals in the late stages. Not a bad haul.
HIGHLIGHTS: Revolution 5, Philadelphia Union 1
FAN PHOTOS: Revolution 5, Philadelphia Union 1
Will the Revs hit for five – or more – goals during the 2014 season? It remains to be seen. But we know they accomplished the feat three separate times in 2013, and watching the highlights is a great way to kill time as we wait for another season to begin.