FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – There are no “must-win” games in the month of March, but Saturday afternoon’s belated home opener against expansion side Minnesota United FC may well be the most important early-season game the New England Revolution have played in years.
Having kicked off the campaign with a pair of one-goal losses on the road – against the top two teams in last year’s MLS standings – the Revs are looking to this weekend’s return to Foxborough as an opportunity to turn the tide and prevent an early-season slide.
“It’s huge,” Diego Fagundez said of the home opener. “No one wants to lose in those streaks. We’re at home and we want to make this a hard place to play, so we’re going to give it all we have.”
One of the Revolution’s primary objectives this season is to avoid the lengthy winless runs that have plagued them in recent years, and that puts extra emphasis on games like Saturday’s, a home date dropped in between road trips to Colorado, Dallas and Portland.
The weight of these opportunities is something that head coach Jay Heaps says the Revs will need to use to their advantage.
“[In] any home game, any home opener, there’s pressure. And it’s a good pressure,” Heaps said. “We’re here, we want to perform well in front of our crowd, we want our crowd to impact the game, we want to get them into the game, and we want to get three points. That’s the mindset.”
Three points at home is always the mindset, according to Chris Tierney, and that would be the case even if the Revs had picked up points in Colorado and Dallas.
“As a general principle, regardless of what happened with results before home games, we always expect to win the games at home. This one’s no different,” he said. “Against a Minnesota team that’s new to the league and still trying to find their feet, we feel like these are the games that we have to win.”