New England Soccer Today

Heaps Rewarded on Roll of Dice

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Jay Heaps has never been afraid to roll the dice when it comes to late-game substitutions during his three seasons at the helm, and Saturday’s 2-1 win against the Crew was no exception.

With the match level at one apiece near the hour mark, and the Crew pressing for the go-ahead, Heaps could’ve gone conservative and made a defensive-minded substitute. A move to stabilize his squad, which was taking heavy pressure from Federico Higuain & Co, would have been the safest play.

Instead, Heaps decided that, after watching his club fall to the Crew twice already this season, and with points at home vitally important this late in the season, he’d send in Daigo Kobayashi for Scott Caldwell during the 59th minute to give his squad the best chance at securing the game-winner.

“I thought we were pressing for the game, as well,” Heaps said. “But at the same time, you’re opening yourself up – at the same time they were going, we were going.”

Initially, it appeared that the extra push for goal would cost them dearly. Not only were the Crew bearing down on offense by tipping the possession scale close to 70 percent between the 60th and 70th minutes, but they nearly exposed the Revolution defense twice just after the hour.

On a corner kick from Higuain in the 62nd minute, Hector Jimenez sent it into the box for Aaron Schoenfeld, who looked keen to score. But Bobby Shuttleworth came off his line to thwart the opportunity, and keep the match level. Seconds later, Schoenfeld made another bid for the go-ahead, but was denied once again by Shuttleworth.

Five minutes later, though, it was the Revolution who put the Crew on their heels from a set piece situation. On a Chris Tierney free kick, Jermaine Jones headed it through to reclaim the lead that briefly belonged to the hosts early in the first half.

“The goal that I scored was something that we practiced in training,” Jones said. “I saw the ball coming in the back and I tried to head it. I am happy that I scored the second goal.”

Immediately after Jones scored the go-ahead, Heaps sent in Kevin Alston for Kelyn Rowe, and pushed Chris Tierney into the midfield. With the advantage theirs, there was no need to take any more risks.

But even though the Crew would not go quietly into the night, especially after claiming a set of dangerous free kick opportunities late, the Revolution were able to walk away with the win in no small part due to their head coach’s willingness to bet heavy on his offense.

“We don’t have many ties for a reason, because we’re going for it and unfortunately it costs us sometimes,” Heaps said. “But tonight, we were rewarded.”

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