FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Charlie Davies got his first home start since joining the New England Revolution and made the most of it, helping to set up the game winning goal in the team’s 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night and playing his most impactful minutes in a Revolution uniform. Davies made his first start of his Revolution career at FC Dallas a week and a half ago and struggled to have much of an influence on the match, but the second-year Rev had no such problems this week as he played a key role in the first goal and several other chances.
“I want to give Charlie a ton of credit,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “Charlie, first and foremost, has been pushing and has had a couple injuries to fight through. I thought tonight he really led the line well, held the ball, battled, showed a ton of heart, and the guys like Charlie. You can see it, the guys like playing with Charlie and he brings a great energy… He set up Lee [Nguyen on the first goal] and that was a great little combination.”
In just the tenth minute Kevin Alston found Davies in the box with a throw-in and the former U.S. National Teamer one-timed a pass to an onrushing Nguyen, who took a couple touches before hitting a shot towards the far post that deflected off of Drew Moor, giving the Revolution their first lead since May 24th. The goal was credited as an own goal, keeping Davies from registering his first assist as a member of the Revolution.
“I checked away and I checked two and Kevin had a great throw-in,” said Davies. “I saw Lee make a run off me and I was able to get him the ball and the rest was history. Again, once that ball hit the back of the net it was just, oh my god, the chains are off, we can finally play without pressure and it showed, I think. Then for the next five minutes there was a burst of energy from everybody. One guy would work hard, the next guy, it would trickle down and it was exciting to see. I think the end of the first half really felt good for all of us to really know that we’re over the hump and now we just have to continue to play the way we were playing in that first half and sure enough it opened up for us in the second half.”
Davies also had a couple of chances to get himself on the scoreboard in the second half. Just two minutes into the second 45 a pass from Andrew Farrell found its way through three defenders and may have taken a slight redirection from Kelyn Rowe before ending at Davies in the box. Davies one-timed a shot from the top of the 18 yard box, but it rolled just wide of the far post. While Davies’ came short of registering his first Revolution goal in his first home start, the shot was Davies’ first since joining the club on August 9, 2013.
“Absolutely [excited to get that first home start],” said Davies. “I’ve grown a lot as a person and a player throughout these past couple years. There’s been a lot of ups and downs and I think what I’ve learned is just to stay positive and just work hard every single day and I’ve managed to do that and just have to wait to get your chance. Fortunately, today it came and I tried to make the most of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t score in the second half when I had that good chance but those things happen and I’m looking forward to the next time I get a chance to play.”
He’d have another chance to for his first Revolution goal in the 61st minute after Rowe backheeled a Diego Fagundez pass into space for an onrushing Davies at the top of the box. The former Boston College Eagle hit a low left footed shot towards the lower corner, but Clint Irwin dove to make the save, pushing it wide for a corner kick. His night was done soon after as he was substituted for Patrick Mullins in the 62nd minute.
“Charlie was incredible tonight,” said Rowe. “Like I said, it was a full team effort and Charlie held the ball up really well. He played that great ball off to Lee on the first one. He was getting in behind in the first and second half, so it was a good result for Charlie.”
Davies also put in a strong effort to contribute to the Revolution defensively, contributing a clearance and a couple of tactical fouls with the Revolution defense stretched, as well as constant pressure on Colorado’s backline.
“Charlie was great,” said Nguyen. “He was able to hold the ball for us. Like you saw on the first goal, he was able to lay it off too and also he brought energy on the defensive side which helped us out a lot.”
And while the 5-foot-10 striker is hardly the prototypical number 9 for a lone striker role, Davies seemed to grow into the role on Wednesday as he did well holding up the ball and finding teammates in the attack.
“As a striker, you just want to be up top and sometimes you wish you had somebody a little bit closer to you, but tonight Kelyn was right under me, every single time I had an option,” said Davies. “Lee was underneath me, so it worked out. Now, I think it’s just getting into a rhythm. I think we’re going to be very dangerous. I’m excited, I think everyone is excited. We put in the hard work, I’m very proud of everybody and just got to take it game by game.”
Now Davies and the Revolution need to continue that level of performance as they head to Red Bull Arena next weekend to take on the New York Red Bulls in an important intra-conference match-up on Saturday.
“I think it’s very important that we don’t get too high after this win, you still have to keep an even keel and still know we have to get better,” said Davies. “It’s important this Red Bull away match we continue to play the way we did tonight.”