There's no question that Jermaine Jones has been an important acquisition for the New England Revolution and Sunday's game against the Chicago Fire is just further evidence.
Making his second consecutive start as a Revolution player, Jones contributed 89 minutes before making way for Daigo Kobayashi. After being used as the team's lone defensive midfielder on Wednesday, Jones was asked to play box-to-box with Scott Caldwell occupying the holding role. It was an adjustment that provided the German-American with plenty of freedom.
"With Scott, he's again more defense player," Jones said. "He hold more the six, so I have more the space to go in front, like the same with national team with Kyle Beckerman, who stays more. I like it for more that I have somebody on my back that takes care and I can go box-to-box."
Jones was active throughout the night, making crucial tackles while also getting into the attack. The fact that he suffered five called fouls helps highlight his influence on the game.
Of course his crowning moment came in the 60th minute when he powered forward to get the ball to Charlie Davies, who successfully beat an offside trap to score the game-winner. The assist was Jones' second in as many games. It was a pass that Davies was grateful to receive and one that he hopes is a sign of things to come.
"[Jones] is a tremendous player," Davies lauded. "He's got so much experience and he's a player that can create opportunities for me, so it was awesome to get my goal off his assist. Hopefully there's many more to come."
Jones has now logged 159 minutes over the course of three games, helping the Revs to a three-game winning streak in which they have outscored their opponents 8-2. The Revolution's successful since adding Jones can largely be attributed to his quick acclimation period.
In his post-game press conference, Revolution head coach Jay Heaps complimented Jones for being a good fit for the locker room. The midfielder's warm personality has caused his teammates to gravitate to him. Jones shares many interests with his new coworkers, including a desire to win for New England.
"I think that's the most important thing when you bring in a player like Jermaine, is that they buy in all the way with the team," Heaps explained. "He walked in and he had the credibility, and right away, he was an instant leader."
Sunday's game against the Fire might be the most significant of the brief Jones Era since it was a come from behind victory against a fierce rival. Furthermore, Chicago was very public about their interest of Jones and losing the blind draw isn't something that has been forgotten.
"I think [Jones] influenced the game a ton tonight," Fire head coach Frank Yallop commented. "He makes the difference for any team, so obviously it would be nice if he was on our team. We've moved on since then and that's all we can do."