FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – There’s an old saying that says the first time you do something is a fluke, the second is a coincidence and the third is a trend.
For the New England Revolution, responding to adverse circumstances has no doubt become a trend, with the latest example a 3-2 win over defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC on Saturday night.
“In my playing career, the most successful coaches and the best coaches have always said the best teams never lose two games in a row, “ said head coach Brad Friedel. “I think if you live by that you can start to get runs together and have successful seasons.”
The Revs have suffered three losses this season, and demonstrated each time that they’ll fight to find a response in their next match. Coming off a frustrating road loss last weekend in Montreal, the Revs knew they needed to play with a chip on their shoulder to stay in line with Friedel’s philosophy.
“I think we responded, (and) we responded quickly,” said Kelyn Rowe. “The work we put in obviously throughout the week and the mistakes that we made last week in Montreal, you didn’t see them today. We harped on making sure we can throw this team off pretty quickly and we knew that they were missing a couple guys on the backline, and we took advantage of it.”
All of the Revs’ goals came at the start of both halves, with Cristian Penilla’s brace within only seven minutes of the opening whistle, and Teal Bunbury striking right off the bat in the 46th minute in the second. Those strong starts played a key role in holding off the defending MLS champs.
“Both halves we came out flying,” said goalkeeper Matt Turner, who also contributed several big-time saves to limit Toronto offensively. “We got our goals early and really set the tone. I think you saw a really committed team out there tonight and everybody was working really hard until they couldn’t work anymore, and then you saw the guys who came on for them worked even harder. That’s what we’ve been saying; we have the depth and people work really hard for this team and are really bought in.”
It’s become clear that the Revs have found a spark to ignite their performances on the pitch and solidify their ability to respond together, both mentally and physically.
“I think it was another really good character check on our team after that second half performance against Montreal to play against a very good Toronto team in the manner that we did,” said Friedel.
The Revs will play against three additional Eastern Conference contenders in their next four games, which will yield yet even more tests and more opportunities for this group to show its strength.