Given the turbulent nature of MLS, it’s rare to see a player stay with the same team for long, which is why it’s so special that Chris Tierney is now in his 10th season with the New England Revolution.
On Saturday, Tierney made his 200th start for the Revs, an achievement few will ever reach. The Wellesley native joined his hometown club in 2008 after being selected in the Supplemental Draft. Since then he’s become one of most highly regarded left backs in the league.
"Chris is excellent," head coach Jay Heaps praised. "I think Chris has been awesome for seasons. He is always ready to play, always leading the guys when he can."
Tierney’s leadership role required him to make a pregame speech before the team's home opener against Minnesota United FC. After losing two straight road games, the defender demanded a positive result.
"It was time to draw a line in the sand," Tierney said. "I think we’ve been frustrated with our first two results – two really tough road games for us – and I thought we fought hard and had some small mistakes that cost us games."
Tierney did his part against the Loons, helping the home side gain the lead just four minutes in. In a sight we’ve become accustomed to, Tierney hit a left-footed cross that Juan Agudelo headed home.
It was the first of several goals that were scored that night. Minnesota’s Collen Warner was next, followed by Kei Kamara, Lee Nguyen, and Agudelo. The score was 4-1 at halftime.
After the break, Brent Kallman pulled one back for the visitors. Minutes later, referee Ricardo Salazar pointed to the spot to give the Revs their second penalty of the night. Although Nguyen finished his PK earlier, it seemed fitting to allow Tierney to seal the game on such a memorable night.
"To be honest, I wasn’t going to give it to him but he played the 200th start card," Nguyen said with a smile. "At the same time, he’s proven that he can take those at those spots, so it was an easy ‘yes’ to let him take it."
Tierney made no mistake of the opportunity, drilling his attempt into the top right corner. Bobby Shuttleworth had no chance, as he dove in the opposite direction.
Defensively, Tierney stayed strong during the game’s final 37 minutes. When the final whistle blew, Tierney was able to not only celebrate three points, but also the fact that he reached an important career landmark.
"I’m so proud to be a Revolution player," Tierney said. "I really can’t see myself playing for any other club. So to start 200 games is really special for me and it’s something I’ll look back on one day and say, ‘Wow, that was pretty cool’."