FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Head coach Jay Heaps acknowledged prior to last weekend’s meeting with the Houston Dynamo that one victory wouldn’t immediately set the New England Revolution on track. Instead, Heaps said, it would take a string of positive results for the Revs to firmly put their inconsistent start to the 2014 season in the rearview mirror.
Following a 2-0 win over the Dynamo, the Revs have the start they needed to do just that. Now they have the opportunity to turn one victory into a positive stretch when they visit the Chicago Fire in a nationally-televised (NBC Sports Network, 4 p.m. ET) contest on Saturday afternoon.
“I think it’s kind of a mini turning point in the season for us, just trying to hopefully springboard us forward,” said center back A.J. Soares, one of three Revolution players to have played every minute through the first six games. “It shows that we can win against good teams. Hopefully we’ll take the momentum forward and put together more results that we should be putting together.”
At times this season the Revs have shown the form which earned them a return to the MLS Cup Playoffs last year, but it’s been sporadic. After a dramatic 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes to close out the month of March, the Revs opened April with a disappointing 2-0 loss at D.C. United.
That was followed up by last weekend’s win over Houston – which may well have the Revs back on the right track – but Heaps knows there’s much more to come from his developing side.
“I think our performances have been – the actual play and what we’re striving for – there’s some good stuff in there,” said Heaps. “I think we still have another gear, and we’ve got to find that gear right now.”
The Revs will no doubt be tested by a hungry Fire team still searching for its first win of the season after playing to five consecutive draws. The task will be particularly difficult at Toyota Park, where Chicago went 10-4-3 last season and has yet to lose in two matches this year.
But if the Revs are to establish themselves as contenders in the Eastern Conference – and throughout the entire league – Darrius Barnes knows they’ll need to prove they can win anywhere.
“We need to start putting some win streaks together,” he said. “It’s not enough just to go and get a win here, then next game take a couple steps back and lose. To prove that you’re a championship-caliber team, you have to go and put three, four wins together. The game against Houston was the start of that, and hopefully in Chicago we can build on that.”