While sting of playoff loss will linger, Revs already looking forward to 2014

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The sting of an Eastern Conference Semifinal loss to Sporting Kansas City will linger with the New England Revolution throughout the offseason. Playoff defeats have a way of hanging around.

But there’s hope it will be a beneficial pain; a feeling which could ultimately serve the young Revolution well as the club already begins looking forward to 2014 and an even brighter future.

“First of all, you keep in mind this feeling of losing. That sucks,” said third-year center back A.J. Soares, who reached the postseason for the first time as a pro this year. “You don’t want to feel that again. It’s not fun. Everyone feels terrible about not getting the result.

“But we know how to win. We know how to win crucial games on the road. We showed that. Everybody’s young on this team and we can go forward learning having been in a playoff series now. Just that experience is always huge going forward.”

That players and coaches alike immediately pointed to the future just minutes after falling to Sporting KC in heartbreaking fashion speaks volumes of the Revolution’s mindset. New England was disappointed not to make a deeper run in 2013, to be sure, but the promise of 2014 and beyond is enough to keep spirits high.

Jay Heaps, in his second year as a head coach, guided the Revs to their first postseason berth since 2009, and did so in impressive fashion, going 4-0-2 down the stretch to finish third in the Eastern Conference. Through a series of must-win games in September and October, New England’s youthful group defied the “experts” and continuously found different ways to grind out victories.

That’s something the Revs can take forward as they reflect on another season gone by, one which in many ways surpassed expectations, and at the same time, raised the bar for the future.

“It’s another (year) in the books,” said Darrius Barnes, who completed his fifth season with the Revs. “I’m extremely proud of this team. At the beginning of the season, nobody thought this team would be here. This team showed a lot of resiliency, a lot of character.

“I don’t think this is the last you’re going to see of this team. I think this team’s going to be back here next year in a more dominant position, ready to make a run for this thing, because the sky’s the limit for this team. I know it’s a little bit cliché, but with the talent and the young guys and the experience we have on this team right now, I think next year could be a big year for this team.”