Editorial note: This was supposed to go live last night, on October 3rd, when it would have made sense. Do to a photo licensing issue, it got pushed to the next day. Every time you see "today" in this piece, please imagine that it's actually October 3rd. Sorry about that.
Five years ago, on this day (October 3rd) in New England Revolution history, the Revs hoisted their first piece of silverware after 12 years of existence. In 2007, the Revolution won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, defeating FC Dallas 3-2 in Dallas and helping to erase the pain of back-to-back losses in MLS Cup Finals the previous two seasons.
Though the team would come up short in the big dance that year, losing 2-1 to Houston in their third consecutive MLS Cup final, for at least a moment it seemed like the dominance exhibited by the Revs in that decade actually meant something. And it also meant that the Revs had more silverware than New York, of course. And still do.
A small number of Revs fans actually made the trip to Dallas for the match. Among them was Monty Rodrigues, a prominent leader of the Midnight Riders. I'll let him tell the story of the game:
"Having been in Dallas a couple of times for MLS Cup losses, I'll admit we were nervous about our trip down there. We knew it would be a small crowd, buying a late flight and a weeknight game would make it tough for people to travel. I think we had 12 Revs fans in our group and 2 good friends of mine from Houston (might have been 3) also joined us, obviously to root against Dallas.
The best part of the trip was knowing we'd be playing Dallas. The Riders have had a great relationship with the Inferno for years, so we tailgated with them as usual.
We were all shocked when the teams were walking in and Twellman acknowledged us. It was an extremely rare thing for him to do, which made it special. We were in one tight corner of the stadium, right next to where the stage is now. Noonan's goal gave us the early lead, but no one was surprised when Dallas tied it. Then Twellman scored before the half, and we started to wonder ... and the confidence started to build. Then Wells Thompson made it 3-1 (Wells Thompson!) and of course the comments of a "two-goal lead is the most dangerous in sports" started, and Dallas made it 3-2. We were all on nerves the rest of the game, trying to sing but definitely afraid of seeing yet another loss.
When that final whistle blew, there were tears in quite a few of our eyes. Finally, in our 12th season, we had a trophy. The players all came over and high-fived us, then I was able to convince security to let us on the field (or we were just going to jump on anyway). They let us on, we went up to the players again next to the stage and congratulated them. Then we were pushed into a nearby section so they could do the TV presentation, and when that was over, the players got their medals and the trophy. They brought both over to our section and walked by again, shaking hands.
A couple of players gave up their shirts, but Matt Reis gave me his medal. I'll never forget ... he said "Monty, you deserve this." I actually said no, that he should keep it since it was our first, and he reminded me he'd won in LA, so the second time I wasn't saying no.
I wound up also getting this 50 foot long banner that was in the stadium advertising the game, and I took it home. Went back to the tailgate, and while there were some Inferno people that weren't too happy to see us, the vast majority were absolutely amazing by us. We hung out there for a bit, and then most of our group, and quite a few of the Inferno went out to another bar and celebrated together some more.
So we drank in our room till about 4. Flight was at 7, so it was a quick nap then to the airport. I was wearing the medal the entire way. My friend who was travelling with me and I both got upgraded to first class ... made the trip perfect!
It was a feeling of being sky high after that whistle. We were yelling, screaming, mostly unintelligible things ... just going nuts. That feeling that we'd waited for 12 years and been so close to on a couple of occasions and it finally happened. High-fives, hugs all around, including with the players. I think what I appreciated was that while it meant a lot to them, they also knew how much it meant to those of us that had traveled. Just a phenomenal feeling."