In the 27th minute of the New England Revolution’s 1-1 tie with the Portland Timbers, Charlie Davies patiently beat an offside trap and got to a Diego Fagundez pass before banking a left-footed shot off the inside of the post.
The run was perfectly timed and the shot was spot on. It’s a difficult play to make, but for Davies it’s something that comes naturally.
"I’ve been making that run for years," Davies said. "It feels natural and Diego (Fagundez) played a great ball and when I’m in that position, I’ve got to put a shot on frame."
Davies has now made three consecutive starts, contributing two goals and one assist. Recent performances have solidified Davies as the team’s first-choice striker, but this hasn’t always been the case.
Davies struggled with injuries for a large portion of the season and when he returned to full health he found himself on the outside looking in. His first start as a Revolution player, which came against FC Dallas on July 19th, was largely due to Teal Bunbury’s relocation to the wing and the cooling of Patrick Mullins. That night, Davies failed to record a single shot in 56 minutes. The following week, he was an unused substitute.
The fight for minutes has served as a motivator for Davies.
"I think (Davies) just brought that edge," Darrius Barnes noted. "He has a chip on his shoulder. He’s been itching to get his chance and he’s finally gotten it and he’s done well with it."
Davies’ recent success can largely be attributed to getting regular minutes as the lone forward. After joining the Revs, Davies alternated between playing on the wings and in the center. Although happy to experiment on the peripheries, Davies admits that it feels a bit foreign to him. His comfort level has risen now that he’s playing his preferred position.
"It’s natural to me," Davies explained. "I’ve played forward since I was six years old. Whether you’re playing with two or one, it’s kind of still the same responsibility. You’ve got to score and you’ve got to hold up the ball."
While Davies has made important contributions in recent weeks, he still has more to offer. Saturday was the Boston College product’s longest shift as a Revolution player as he played 75 minutes before making way for Mulllins. The slow acclimation process has been part of a plan formulated by head coach Jay Heaps.
"I think Jay has been extremely smart," Davies said. "You don’t just want to throw me in there and play 90 minutes after 90 minutes and then end up getting injured. I think it’s been great. I definitely feel like I’ve built up my match fitness."
Davies claimed that he feels ready to play a full 90 minutes but the decision will ultimately rest on Heaps, who commented that Mullins is "a little bit different dynamic to defend." Regardless of how much Davies plays, it’s clear that he’s making an impact for his hometown team.
"Charlie has been playing really well," Rowe praised. "He’s holding the ball well, winning balls, working hard, and he’s in the right spot at the right time. All of these positive attributes are helping him finish balls."