Goal celebration vs. Real Salt Lake
David Silverman

Offensive explosion and “team spirit” lift Revs to critical win over Real Salt Lake

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For media members, settling on just one storyline from the New England Revolution’s 4-0 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night proved a difficult task.

Fan favorite and local hero Scott Caldwell opened the scoring with just his third career goal in his 132nd regular-season appearance. Kei Kamara returned to the field with a goal and an assist less than 48 hours after welcoming a newborn son into the world. Diego Fagundez finally broke through for his first goal of 2017 – a just reward for a player who has often been the Revolution’s most dangerous attacker.

But for the Revolution, one storyline stood out above all others: three massive points.

“It was just mentality tonight, team spirit,” said Chris Tierney, who returned to the Revs’ starting lineup at left back. “It’s one of those games that we always talk about after the run we’ve had; I actually think we’ve been playing okay, but haven’t been getting results.

“So when you come home and play a Western Conference team that’s resting a bunch of players, there’s no other option besides to pound them, and that’s what we did.”

Saturday night’s comprehensive victory was much-needed for the Revs, who’d drawn three of their previous five games but hadn’t picked up maximum points in more than a month.

A first-half explosion provided all the offensive output New England required, as Caldwell, Kamara, Fagundez and Lee Nguyen all scored inside the opening 45 minutes, the result of fluid attacking chemistry and more than a handful of flowing moves.

Only Kamara’s goal – a header from Nguyen’s corner kick – didn’t feature two assists, and the Revolution’s seven first-half helpers (a club record) illustrated their success on the night.

“The goals were okay – they were good finishes – but the plays to make the goals were what I was really excited about,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “I thought guys were really dynamic in the first pass and the second pass to open up the goals.”

“We can score goals; that’s not a problem,” said Kamara. “We can connect, we can link with each other, we can score goals. But we did well tonight not letting Salt Lake get anything on the board.”

If the first half was all about the offensive performance, the second half was about staying defensively sound, which the Revs were able to do in maintaining their third clean sheet of the season.

“At halftime what we talked about most was making sure we kept a zero,” said Tierney. “We wanted to come out in the second half like the score was 0-0 and we were going to get a shutout no matter what. If we scored more goals, great, but our main priority was to make sure we didn’t concede any. That was a success.”