FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution set a goal heading into Saturday night's home match against the longtime rival New York Red Bulls, and their mission was successfully completed in their 1-0 victory. While it’s no secret that New England were striving for a win, their sights were set beyond just three points as the team kept their first clean sheet of the season.
“Our goal in this game, believe it or not, was the clean sheet,” said head coach Brad Friedel. “That was our goal. We’ve been leaking too many (goals) on quick attacks and we worked hard on the midfielders.
“We put Juan [Agudelo] in a little bit of a different position. We worked hard in training on that in making sure we had a far better block. That was first and foremost, so I’m really pleased that we got the clean sheet.”
The Revs are now 2-5-1 through their first eight games of the 2019 campaign, and while they were off to an atypically rough start to their home form, this victory came at a crucial time to help the team get back to winning ways in Foxborough.
“I think right now any win for us is huge,” said goalkeeper Cody Cropper on the timing of the clean sheet. “We needed this win, at home in front of our fans, versus a rival on ‘derby’ day, if you want to call it that. It’s chilling. Obviously it gives us goosebumps. It’s huge because it can start a momentum builder.”
The confidence that the team is able to gain from this match goes hand-in-hand with the momentum they’re building as they move forward together. The squad knew if they could shut out the Red Bulls, that their chance to punish them would eventually come, and ultimately win them the game.
“[The clean sheet was] massively important for the team’s confidence,” said captain Michael Mancienne. "We said before the game, we needed to keep a clean sheet, because we give ourselves every opportunity to win the game if we keep a clean sheet.
“We did and we scored late in the game, and we deserved it. I’m really buzzing off the clean sheet.”
The timing of this win comes at a critical juncture for the Revs, as this was the first of seven league games they will play - eight including the Final Whistle on Hate charity match against Chelsea FC - in the next 29 days. New England also have a quick turnaround hosting the Montreal Impact on Wednesday before heading on the road to play Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. A shutout victory is just what the team needed to start this hectic month of games out on the right foot.
“It gives the boys a massive boost of confidence going into these games,” said Mancienne. “We’ve got a lot of games coming up, but to go in with a win, we’ve just got to keep that momentum going and get the next three points.”
Kickoff against the Montreal Impact is set for 7:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, April 24.