Come halftime of this past Sunday's match against the LA Galaxy, the New England Revolution seemed down and dusted. Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes and Giovani dos Santos orchestrated a commanding 3-0 lead for the home side, and something, somewhere had to give.
The tall task was answered partially via tallies from Kelyn Rowe and Juan Agudelo, yet their efforts weren't enough to stop the Revs from begrudgingly leaving the StubHub Center with a 4-2 defeat. Nonetheless, the fact of the matter remained: New England's performance in the second half demonstrated that it refused to sit back and be outclassed by Bruce Arena's side.
"Obviously when you're down 3-0 you definitely take it personally," New England center back Andrew Farrell said after Tuesday's training session. "It's on national TV and you're getting kind of embarrassed, so it took us that long to take it personal and get that fire ... But you just have to find wherever that switch is and turn it on the first minute as opposed to the 75th minute."
Finding the switch Farrell alluded to may take some time, but there is reason to believe it's not entirely without of reach. Femi Hollinger-Janzen and Teal Bunbury both entered the fold as second half substitutes against LA, offering intent and purpose that were both previously fleeting. There was also Rowe, who consistently probed and threatened Brian Rowe's goal, but the Revs collectively acknowledged that more is required.
An emotional halftime talk did the trick against the Galaxy, though that luxury won't always be afforded. Instead, as Je-Vaughn Watson put it, it's time for the Revs to look inwards and refuse all excuses.
"We have to take things personally because we know we're not doing well right now even though we're playing good," Watson said after Tuesday's training session. "We need to start getting points on the board, because you can't have the gap [be] too far of a margin. Come Saturday we have to start getting three points."
As Watson mentioned, New England's first chance to reverse it's fortunes will come on Saturday night when the Chicago Fire visit Gillette Stadium. To put it simply, the occasion is not lost on Jay Heaps' squad.
It's earned 10 points from 11 games, boasts a 1-3-7 record and often left the pitch wondering what could have been. Farrell even called the Chicago game a "do-or-die" situation, and Watson calmly stated, "we're too good of a team to be playing like sh*t."
While the players oozed frustration, a similar mentality resonated from Jay Heaps, their head coach. Heaps, whose team hasn't won since April 1 agains the New York Red Bulls, affirmed that the level needs to be raised.
"I think it's putting it together before you're down 3-0 and playing with an edge before you're forced to play with an edge," head coach Jay Heaps said. "I want to play with the edge to start the game, not to end the game."