The New England Revolution's swagger and confidence is back. Three days removed from handily beating the Chicago Fire 2-0, the Revs are back at work and gearing up for a squad that many picked in preseason as favorites to win MLS Cup.
Before FC Dallas and head coach Oscar Pareja visit Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening, New England has its sights set on earning another crucial three points before breaking for the Copa America Centennario.
"We approach this game the same way," Chris Tierney, who is on the mend from a hamstring injury, said. "The win relieved some pressure for sure, but you got to have a short memory, win or lose. We’re going into this next game here with the same intensity and urgency that we did last week, feeling as though it’s a must-win."
Longing to a positive result, the Revs appeared to have reaped the rewards of Kei Kamara joining the fold. Acquired last Thursday from Columbus Crew SC, the striker, according to Diego Fagundez, has brought an air of confidence to the locker room.
The 21-year-old Homegrown Player added that Kamara possibly represents a new start for the Revs, who head coach Jay Heaps said put together "a full 90 minutes, a complete game" against the Fire. Perhaps the biggest takeaway, though, was the Revs pitched their first clean sheet since April 1 against the New York Red Bulls.
With Tierney and Goncalves out injured – both of whom are expected to be in contention against Dallas – Heaps was forced to deploy a makeshift backline. Kelyn Rowe and London Woodberry took up outside back positions, and Andrew Farrell and Je-Vaughn Watson paired in the heart of defense, forming a group that kept Chicago to zero shots on target.
"I thought it was really organized," Bobby Shuttleworth said. "I thought everyone really put a shift in and got behind the ball and worked hard. Those moments when we needed to defend, we really dug in and did defend, so a good step forward for us. We need to continue to do that and we need to continue putting hard work behind the ball and stay organized."
The biggest surprise was seeing Rowe start as right back, as the Federal Way, Washington native has spent his professional career in midfield. However, Heaps was pleased with the way Rowe changed the game, and how the group kept the likes of David Accam and Arturo Alvarez quiet.
Above all, the Revs know they can't rest on their laurels, especially since they aren't far removed from the season's dog days. The team acknowledged there's definitely a different energy in and around the training ground, but knows it'll take dedication and focus to take three points from Dallas.
"We have to look forward to it, keep training hard in training and come Saturday keep doing what we’ve been doing," Fagundez said. "Keep that energy going, keep that chemistry as a team going, make sure that we’re all playing as a team and try and finish every chance that we get."