Questions have loomed over the New England Revolution attack all season, but many of those were answered against Real Salt Lake on Saturday night. New England's dynamic front three combined well as the Revs ran out 4-0 winners over an admittedly-depleted Salt Lake.
Chris Tierney and Juan Agudelo opened things in the first half with a pair of goals inside four minutes of one another. Charlie Davies scored the third in the second half, and Scott Caldwell capped off the match with his first professional goal.
"The game got really stretched out and we had a ton of chances tonight, we really just played really well," said Tierney after the match. "We're all excited, and the question is can we do it again next week."
The win also comes as a bit of a catharsis for Tierney and for the club in general, as the Revs haven't beaten Real in league play since 2009. Jay Heaps was still lining up as a player at that time.
"They've had our number," said Heaps. "I told the guys that the last time we beat them I was on the field, so that's not a good thing. You know, the guys came out and there was a little extra energy and a little extra effort to make sure that we got control of the game."
Salt Lake threatened a bit in the first half as both teams felt each other out, but the Revs started to gain control as the half went on. Lee Nguyen nearly opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when he picked up a cheeky backheel in the box from Charlie Davies, but his shot was saved by Jeff Attinella.
The RSL back-up goalkeeper's work was far from done, and though he picked the ball out of his net four times, the game could have come near double digits for the Revs if not for his heroics.
Tierney opened the scoring in the 39th minute in the most unlikely of ways. He took down a chipped pass from Juan Agudelo on the left and set himself up for his usual left-footed cross, but instead executed a deft turn to his right, leaving RSL midfielder John Stertzer for dead. The Wellesley native had a go with his right, clipping a dipping and curling shot inside the far post for his first goal of the season.
"Don't get used to it, it's probably a one-time thing there," said Tierney of the right-footed goal. "Good play by Juan to get it out to me, cut it back to the right, and just gave it a go. I closed my eyes, swung the right peg, and it went in."
Tierney did nearly score again with his right in the second half, forcing an incredible diving save from Attinella.
Agudelo put away his second goal of the season and doubled the home side's advantage in the 43rd minute. Teal Bunbury played Davies in on goal, and though Attinella saved Davies' shot, Agudelo was waiting at the far post and finished from close range with his left.
Davies' continued involvement would be rewarded in the 50th minute. During a sustained period of pressure, Scott Caldwell collected the ball on the right side and whipped in a cross to the near post. It was always destined for Davies' head, and the Manchester, New Hampshire native powered his header on frame and into the back of the net.
Finally, it would be Caldwell's turn. In the 84th minute, substitute Diego Fagundez played a cheeky pass to fellow sub Kelyn Rowe down the right side of the box to the byline. Rowe crossed for Agudelo, who turned with the ball and teed up Steve Neumann just outside the six. Neumann's shot was saved somehow by Attinella, who also batted away Agudelo's follow-up. From that scrum, Rowe pushed the ball out to the top of the box, where Caldwell put his left foot through it and into the back of the net.
"It's definitely not the first thing on my mind each game," said Caldwell. "But I'll definitely try to get into the attack if I can to help out."
Caldwell's close friend Andrew Farrell was the first to join him at the corner to celebrate.
A four-goal explosion in front of a crowd of 17,982 - the largest of the season so far - helps to put the slow start in March firmly behind the now-surging Revs, who are 4-2-2 and on a six game unbeaten streak. They are in action again next Saturday at home against the Red Bulls.