News & Notes: Revs head to Houston

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With a berth in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs already in hand, the New England Revolution head south to Texas for their final road game of the season on Thursday night against the Houston Dynamo. The match, which will be shown live nationally on ESPN2, is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. WUFC 1510AM will have the call of the game on the radio.

With a 7-1-1 record in their last nine games, the Revs (15-11-4, 49 pts.) enter Thursday’s contest in a tie with Sporting Kansas City for second place in the Eastern Conference, though ahead on tiebreakers. New York and Columbus are two and three points behind New England, respectively, while D.C. United are six points ahead of the Revs. With the congestion in the East, the Revolution can finish anywhere from first to fifth in the conference, depending on results during the final two weeks of the season. While the Revolution are headed back to the playoffs, the Dynamo saw their postseason aspirations end with a 3-1 home loss to D.C. United on Sunday afternoon.

New England and Houston met at BBVA Compass Stadium in the teams’ season opener on March 8, with the Dynamo jumping out to a 3-0 lead inside the game’s opening 25 minutes en route to a 4-0 defeat. Just more than a month later, on April 12, Kevin Alston and Jerry Bengtson scored second-half goals to give the Revs a 2-0 home win over Houston.

After Thursday night’s game, the Revs will return home to begin preparations for next week’s regular-season finale against Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, October 25.


Saturday’s 2-2 draw in Montreal clinch the Revolution’s second consecutive postseason berth ... this is the first time that New England has made the playoffs in consecutive seasons since qualifying eight straight years from 2002 to 2009, reaching MLS Cup four times in that span (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007) ... this is the 12th time in club history the Revolution has qualified for the postseason ... the Revs are 14-14-8 in 36 previous MLS Cup Playoffs matches.

With two weeks to play in the season, four of the Eastern Conference’s five playoff berths have been claimed ... the Revs (15-13-4, 49 pts.) will be joined in the postseason by D.C. United, Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls ... the Columbus Crew and Toronto FC battling for the fifth and final berth ... New England, New York and Sporting KC are all returning to playoffs, while last year’s fourth and fifth seeds – Houston and Montreal – have already been eliminated from contention ... D.C. United, who had the league’s worst record in 2013, returns to the postseason after a one-year absence.

While New England has clinched its postseason berth, the club’s seeding is still to be determined ... heading into the week, New England can finish anywhere from first to fifth in the final standings as no Eastern seed has been guaranteed yet:

  • two wins and two D.C. losses would give the Revs first place in the East
  • one win in their last two games will guarantee the Revs at least a third-place finish
  • taking one point out of the last two games will guarantee the Revs finish no lower than fourth

Wins is the first postseason tiebreaker to determine seedings, and the Revolution have an advantage in that category ... the Revs have collected 15 wins so far this season, with only Seattle (19 wins), Galaxy (17) and D.C. (16) earning more victories than the Revolution so far this year ... in the East, only Sporting KC (14 wins) can pass the Revs on wins as New York (12), Columbus (12) and Toronto (11) all have fewer this season ... with both New England and Kansas City tied on 49 points, the Revs’ win total is keeping the team in second ahead of SKC.

Currently sitting in second place, if the Revs maintain second place – or surpass D.C. United for first – it would be the first time New England finishes higher than third place in the East since 2007 when the club went 14-8-8 (50 pts.) ... that season, the Revs finished second and reached MLS Cup for a third consecutive season ... the Revs have only finished first or second in the East four times in club history: 2002 (first), 2005 (first), 2006 (second) and 2007 (second).

Entering the team’s home match against the Colorado Rapids on July 30, the Revolution were tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference and mired in an eight-game losing streak, one loss away from matching the longest losing streak in club history … however, the 3-0 win that night ignited an 12-game run in which the club has gone 8-2-2 since … in those 12 games, New England has claimed 26 of a possible 36 points after taking only 23 points from the 60 available in the season’s first 20 games … in the last 10 games, only the LA Galaxy (7-1-2, 23 pts.) has equaled the Revs’ performance (7-1-2, 23 pts.).

With 49 points, the Revs are just one point shy of recording 50 points for the fourth time in team history … a win over the Dynamo on Thursday would lift the Revs past 2013’s 51-point total ahead of the season’s final game … New England can finish with a maximum of 55 points, four points shy of the club-record 59 points, which they set in 2005 with a 17-7-8 record ... that year, the Revs had a first-place finish in the East and made the first of three straight appearances in MLS Cup.

In 2005, the New England Revolution set the club record with 17 victories in 32 regular-season games … the 17 wins broke the previous record of 15, which was set in 1996 and matched in 1997 … with 15 wins already and two games remaining on the schedule, the Revs could still match their record win total this season.

On Saturday in Montreal, Jay Heaps coached his 100th game, all coming in charge of the Revolution … a New England native, Heaps became the 30th coach to coach 100 or more games in the league, with FC Dallas’ Oscar Pareja became the 31st a day later… with a 38-41-21 regular-season record, he is already the second-longest tenured coach in Revolution history, trailing only Steve Nicol who led the club for 301 regular-season games … Heaps replaced Nicol after the 2011 season and is currently the sixth-longest tenured active coach in the league … .only LA’s Bruce Arena, Seattle’s Sigi Schmid, Houston’s Dominic Kinnear, Sporting Kansas City’s Peter Vermes and D.C’s Ben Olsen have led their clubs continuously longer than Heaps.

Jay Heaps played in 243 regular-season games for the Revs from 2001 to 2009 and has now coached the club 100 times ... he is just the third coach in MLS history to coach 100 or more games for the same team that he played at least 100 times for … Heaps is joined in the exclusive club by former Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha who played 160 games with the Crew (1996-2002) and then coached them 170 times (2009-13) and current D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen ... Olsen played 221 games for United  from 1998-2009 and has now coached them 146 times since taking charge of the club midway through the 2010 season

Jay Heaps is the only New England coach – other than Steve Nicol – to lead multiple Revolution teams to the postseason ... after bringing the club back to the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2013, he has qualified the club again this season ... Fernando Clavijo (2000) and Thomas Rongen (1997) each reached the playoffs once while Nicol achieved the feat eight times (2002 through 2009).

With two games remaining in the schedule and the Eastern Conference playoff picture still tightly-packed, the Revs will be looking to close out the season on a high note as past Jay Heaps-coached teams have done ... in each of the last two seasons, the Revs have closed out the regular season going 2-0-0 ... last season, the Revs beat Columbus in back-to-back games to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009 ... in 2012, Heaps’ first season as head coach when the team went 9-17-8 overall, the Revs also won their final two games of the season, beating Chicago at home and Montreal on the road.

Just two games remain for the Revolution before they begin play in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs ... the club is set to play their road finale on Thursday in Houston before closing out the regular season against Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium on October 25 ... this season the Revs are:

  • 3-1-0 against the clubs remaining on their schedule (1-0-0 at home, 2-1-0 on the road)
  • 10-4-2 at home and 5-9-2 on the road, overall
  • 11-10-2 against fellow Eastern Conference clubs

If the MLS season ended today, neither of the Revs’ remaining opponents would make the playoffs ... Houston, who were eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday following a home loss to D.C. United, and Toronto FC, who need to win each of their final two games and have Columbus lose their final two games in order to make the playoffs, are a combined 22-29-13 (.445 winning percentage) … however, the Dynamo have been strong at BBVA Compass Stadium this season, going 8-4-4 at home, including a 4-0 win over the Revs in the season opener ... TFC, who lost twice at home to New England this season, are just 4-7-5 away from BMO Field this season.

Lee Nguyen continues to enjoy an MVP-caliber season for the Revolution ... his attacking output this year is one of the top efforts in MLS, and Nguyen’s influence in the game has been unmatched in the Eastern Conference:

  • he scored his 15th goal of the season at Montreal on Saturday
  • he is the top goal-scoring midfielder in MLS this year
  • he’s tied for sixth in scoring in MLS
  • his seven game-winning goals lead MLS
  • the Revs are now 12-1-2 this season when he scores a goal or registers an assist
  • in the last 12 games, Nguyen has scored nine goals and added four assists with the Revs going 8-2-2
  • he has factored in 43 percent of the Revolution’s goal they’ve scored this season (20 of 46)

Lee Nguyen is putting together one of the most memorable goal-scoring seasons by a Revolution player in club history ... joining a club that includes goal-scoring legends like Taylor Twellman and Joe-Max Moore, Nguyen has etched his name among some of the most prominent goal-scorers in league history:

  • his 15 goals are the most by a NE player since Taylor Twellman scored 16 goals in 2007
  • he is the fifth different Revs player to score 15+ goals in a season, joining Raul Diaz Arce (18 in 1998), Joe-Max Moore (15 in 1999), Wolde Harris (15 in 2000) and Twellman (23 in 2002, 15 in 2003, 17 in 2005 and 16 in 2007) 
  • his 15 goals are tied for the fifth-best single-season tally in club history
  • his 15 goals has extended his own club record for goals by a midfielder in a season

Lee Nguyen has scored seven game-winning goals and added one game-winning assist this season, helping lead New England to eight of its 15 victories … his seven game-winning goals are the most in MLS (one more than SKC’s Dom Dwyer and LA’s Gyasi Zardes) and are tied for the fifth-best single-season tally in MLS history … additionally, Nguyen has set a new club record for game-winning goals, previously set by Taylor Twellman in 2005 with six ... Nguyen now has nine game-winning goals as a member of the Revolution, and only Twellman (28), Joe-Max Moore (13), Steve Ralston (12) and Shalrie Joseph (10) have more … San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski holds the MLS record for game-winning goals in a season with 11 (set in 2012) … in MLS history, other than Wondolowski, the only other player to score more than seven game-winning goals in a single season is Carlos Ruiz (9, LA Galaxy, 2002).

Lee Nguyen has been fouled 71 times this season, the fourth-highest total in MLS ... only Chicago’s Quincy Amarikwa (95), Portland’s Darlington Nagbe (87) and Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber (73) have been fouled more than Nguyen, who is averaging 2.4 fouls suffered per game ... Nguyen is four fouls shy of matching the Revs’ single-season record for fouls suffered, set by Alberto Naveda in 1997 when he was fouled 75 times in 29 games ... on Saturday at Montreal, Nguyen became the fifth Rev to be fouled 70 or more times in a season, joining Naveda, Jose Cancela (73 in 2004), Clint Dempsey (71 in 2005) and Feilhaber (71 in 2011) ... last season, Nguyen was fouled a team-high 64 times.

Kelyn Rowe had one of the most impressive sophomore seasons in MLS history last year, with seven goals and eight assists as a 21-year old ... however, his 2014 campaign was derailed early on when he missed almost two months of action because of hamstring injuries ... however, since starting against Columbus (July 26) Rowe has turned back the clock ... in the last 13 games, Rowe has five goals and four assists to help lead the Revs to a 8-3-2 mark in that span ... after playing exclusively at on the right wing or in the central midfield since the start of 2013, Rowe has started each of the last eight games out on the left wing, helping the Revs take 19 of 24 available points in that time.

Following his goal at Montreal on Saturday, Kelyn Rowe is now tied with Diego Fagundez for second on the team with five goals ... he has also added five assists, which is tied for the team’s second-best mark ... since being selected by the Revolution third overall in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, Rowe has 15 goals and 18 assists ... he is the only player drafted in 2012 who has scored at least 15 goals and recorded 15 assists combined in his first three professional seasons.

With 18 assists in the last three seasons, Kelyn Rowe has recorded more assists than any other player in his 2012 draft class ... in terms of goals, only SKC’s Dom Dwyer (23 goals), D.C.’s Luis Silva (19) and VAN’s Darren Mattocks (16) have scored more among the rookies of 2012 ... at the club level in the same time period, only Lee Nguyen (24 goals) and Diego Fagundez (20 goals) and have scored more goals for New England ... having led or tied for the club lead in assists each of the last two seasons, Rowe can become the first player in Revolution history to sit atop the club’s assist chart three straight seasons if he finishes at least in a tie for team’s assist lead this year.

Kelyn Rowe’s five goals have come in five separate games  this season ... in four of those games, Lee Nguyen has also scored for the Revs ... Nguyen and Rowe each scored in the 3-0 win over Colorado (July 30), the 3-0 win at Toronto FC (August 30), the 2-1 win over Montreal (Sept. 13) and Saturday’s 2-2 draw at the Impact ... prior to this season, Nguyen and Rowe had scored in the same game just once: the Revs’ 5-0 win over LA on June 2, 2013.

Since joining the Revolution in late August, Jermaine Jones has spurred the Revolution up the Eastern Conference chart ... upon his arrival in New England on August 25, the Revs were tied for sixth in the East ... since then, the Revolution have gone 6-1-1 and moved into a tied for second place ... Jones’ impact is even more pronounced in games in which he’s started, as the Revs are 5-0-1 in those matches ... even more impressive, Jones’ two goals have both been game-winning goals, while two of his three assists have been game-winning assists and the third a game-tying assist.

It is a busy week for Jermaine Jones who played the full 90 minutes on Saturday against Montreal before jumping on a plane the next morning to join up with the U.S. National Team in Fort Lauderdale, Florida … Jones is one of 21 players in Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad for Tuesday’s friendly against Honduras in Boca Raton … on Wednesday morning, he is scheduled to re-join the Revolution in Houston ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Dynamo … all totaled, Jones could play as many as 270 minutes in three games in six days, all while having to travel nearly 2,500 miles … since joining the Revs in late August, Jones has appeared in eight games for the club, making six starts while tallying two goals and three assists … the club is 6-1-1 in the eight games that he has played, including 5-0-1 in his six starts.

Scott Caldwell was credited with his second assist of the season on Saturday at Montreal, intercepting a Montreal pass and setting up Lee Nguyen’s game-tying goal in the second half ... both of Caldwell’s assists this season have come on Nguyen second-half goals as the Braintree, Massachusetts native set up Nguyen’s game-winner in San Jose (March 29), which gave the Revs their first win of the season ... Caldwell came off the bench in each of those games, replacing Daigo Kobayashi each time.

FOUR 30-30 MEN
The Revolution head into Thursday night’s game with four players who have appeared in and started 30 games this season ... Andrew Farrell, Lee Nguyen, Bobby Shuttleworth and A.J. Soares have each missed two games this season, all missing one because of injury and one for either suspension (Nguyen, Soares) or as a coach’s decision (Farrell, Shuttleworth) ... those four players also compose the team’s top four in minutes played with Farrell and Shuttleworth each playing 2,700 minutes ... Soares is third with 2,626 and Nguyen fourth with 2,598.

Fourteen different players have scored a regular-season goal for the Revolution this season ... that number is tied for the most goal scorers among all MLS teams with Colorado and Philadelphia also having 14 different scorers ... after Lee Nguyen’s team-leading 15 goals, Diego Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe have five, Teal Bunbury and Patrick Mullins each have four, Charlie Davies has three while Jermaine Jones and A.J. Soares have two each ... six different players have scored once with the Revs also benefiting from own goals by Victor Bernardez (at San Jose on March 29) and Chad Marshall (vs. Seattle on May 11) ... three teams have had 13 different players score goals (Chicago, Portland and Real Salt Lake), while Houston’s eight different scorers are the lowest total in MLS.

Daigo Kobayashi is the only Revolution player to have appeared in all 32 of the club’s regular-season matches this year ... currently in his first season with the club after being acquired from Vancouver in late February, Kobayashi has four assists in 1,776 minutes of play while also collecting four yellow cards ... while his 32 appearances are the most on the club, his 22 starts rank eighth and his 1,776 minutes are ninth ... the Revs are 12-8-2 when Kobayashi starts ... all four of his assists, including his first in a New England shirt against Houston on April 12, came in games that he started ... the former Japanese international also played in two of the Revs’ three U.S. Open Cup games this year and leads the club with 33 appearances in all competitions.

Andrew Farrell was given a well-deserved rest on Saturday as he did not accompany the team to Montreal for the 2-2 draw with the Impact ... it was the first regular-season game Farrell missed since the Revs’ season-opening loss in Houston on March 8, a game that he sat out because of a lingering leg injury from preseason ... between those two games, Farrell played every minute of all 30 Revs regular-season games ... the second-year defender played the full 90 minutes in each of those games, lining up at both right back (20 games) and in central defense (10 games) … his 2,700 minutes played this season are the most on the club and the eighth most among field players in MLS ... as a rookie in 2013, Farrell appeared in and started 32 of the Revs’ 34 games, playing 2,813 minutes, the second-highest total on the team ... in the last two years, the Revs are 0-1-3 without Farrell in the lineup, compared to a 29-23-10 mark when he plays.

Saturday’s 2-2 draw in Montreal snapped New England’s perfect record this season when scoring two or more goals in a game, moving the team’s record to 14-0-1 when scoring two or more goals ... entering that game, the Revs were a perfect 14-0-0 when scoring at least twice in a game ... prior to Saturday’s game, New England had not drawn or lost a game in which they scored twice or more since September 14, 2013, when Chicago scored a pair of second-half goals to turn the Revs’ 2-1 halftime lead into a 3-2 loss ... the Revs are just 1-13-3 when scoring less than two goals this season, with the lone win coming on August 23 when the Revs beat Chivas USA,1-0 ... New England’s 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City on September 26 was the second time the club has won when allowing two or more goals ... the Revs are 2-10-1 in the 13 games in which the they concede more than one goal