FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – There will be plenty of discussion in the New England Revolution locker room ahead of Sunday night’s nationally-televised meeting with the LA Galaxy (7 p.m., Fox Sports 1), but last year’s MLS Cup meeting won’t be among the topics according to head coach Jay Heaps.
“We’re focused on LA that’s playing this season,” Heaps said on Wednesday morning as the players returned from a three-day break. “It’s completely different teams – we’re a different team and they’re a different team. We’re worried about protecting our field on Sunday night and trying to get a result.”
It’s been almost six months since the Revs and Galaxy met in MLS Cup 2014 at StubHub Center, where Robbie Keane’s goal deep into extra time sent the Revs to a fifth loss in the league’s title game; more than enough time for the Revs to process the defeat and shift their focus to the next challenge.
Which, according to the players, is exactly what they’ve done, and facing the Galaxy for the first time since that frustrating day back in early December doesn’t change the task at hand.
“What happened last year is over with now,” said Teal Bunbury, who saw a potential winner ring off the underside of the crossbar late in last year’s final. “We’re focused on this year and trying to win as many games as possible and winning MLS Cup this year.”
“It’s different teams on both sides,” said Kelyn Rowe, who is likely to return to the Revolution’s starting lineup with Lee Nguyen suspended. “For us, it’s just another game.”
That’s not to say that Sunday night’s MLS Cup rematch isn’t immensely important. It is for a multitude of reasons – just none of which revolve around perceived revenge for a result that can’t be undone.
After going 5-0-1 through a torrid stretch from late March into early May, the Revs have cooled a bit in recent weeks, going winless (0-1-3) in their last four games despite scoring first on each occasion.
With six road games – not to mention the CONCACAF Gold Cup – looming in June and July, now is the time for the Revs to maximize points in front of the home support at Gillette Stadium.
And, yes, Charlie Davies reluctantly admits, if that turnaround came against the LA Galaxy, there might be just a touch of extra satisfaction.
“Against LA, maybe everyone’s feeling a little bit more energy,” Davies said. “We really want to win this game. We’ve had a couple of not-so-great games, and this would be a great game to get over the hump.”