New England Soccer Today

Davies Answers Heaps’ Call

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Even though New England left Red Bull Arena with a win last week and two away goals, Jay Heaps was looking for more from striker Charlie Davies.

Right up until Friday at training, Heaps said he was on Davies, looking for more out of the Manchester native.

“We were hard on Charlie this week,” Heaps said. “We thought in New York he didn’t find the right angles or the right gaps. This week we were asking a little bit more from him. Even yesterday, I got on him in training. He was kind of taking it light and I really wanted to see him get up to where he was tonight.”

Davies answered that call on Saturday, bagging a brace and leading the Revolution back to their first MLS Cup Finals appearance since 2007.

“Words can’t really describe it for me,” Davies said. “It was such a long season. So many ups and downs, but we’ve always stuck together and we’ve continued to get better. For me personally, it’s unimaginable really after these five years of really just grinding it out. Things would go against me and there’s a lot of tears and pain and sadness, but through it all you just continue to fight and stick with it, but things have turned out for the best.”

Davies was held without a shot in the 85 minutes he played last week as the Red Bulls defense continued to close down on him. He had a 61% pass completion percentage and 22 touches on the ball total. He was subbed off shortly before New England found the game-winner via Jermaine Jones.

The last match we played in New York, it was extremely difficult,” Davies said. “I’m going against two big center backs and I definitely studied the match this whole week and saw where their weaknesses were. I found that most of the time, set pieces they left me unmarked and crosses I could find myself unmarked as well. The space in the corners they weren’t great at tracking, so today I kind of tried to exploit that. I got great balls from our midfielders and defenders, so I was able to stretch the game and really feel like I got into the game this time, where as in New York I think I felt like I was running and really never got into a rhythm. Where today I felt like, yeah it was a battle with Olave out there, but I felt like I was more into the game and had more touches and the team was able to find me more.”

Davies ended up with three shots on target on Saturday, nearly 25% better passing accuracy and 26 total touches on the ball.

“I had to give it to Charlie,” Heaps said referring to the game ball. “From the opening whistle, the number of times he got behind their back line early and then the two chances. Charlie Davies can score and I think that when he gets in those areas, he’s going to put them away.”

Davies leveled the game 1-1 shortly before halftime in the 41st minute. After New York grabbed the game’s opener in the 26th minute via Tim Cahill, Davies found himself on the end of a cross from Chris Tierney.

The Revolution elected to play the corner short from Tierney. He found an oncoming Nguyen, who quickly laid it back off for Tierney for a one-time cross into the area, something Tierney referred to as a training ground routine.

Davies was able to get his head to the ball, nodding it down and off some portion of his torso and over the line, just past the reach of New York goalie Luis Robles.

New England again found themselves behind again after Peguy Luyindula put New York up 2-1 in the 52nd minute. If that score stood, the teams were looking at overtime. Instead, Davies was able to get his head on yet another Tierney cross to tie the game. It was also the goal that put New England ahead in aggregate.

After a failed clearance fell to Scott Caldwell, the Braintree native found Tierney out wide. Tierney quickly served the ball in the heart of the area and Davies was able to get between two defenders to get his head on the ball and find the back of the net in the 70th minute.

It’s been a long journey for Davies, who didn’t see much of the field last season when the Revs brought him in over the summer. In the 2014 preseason, Davies was hindered by a hamstring injury and fought his way into the lineup, a spot he hasn’t relinquished since.

“I credit Charlie on all of it,” Heaps said. “We gave him a stable environment but he’s been fighting for his position everyday from when his injury happened through this entire 2014 [season]. To the point when he did get his chance, the staff was rooting for him, the entire team was rooting for him. And I think he’s been the inspirational guy that when he did get his chance, you could see guys rooting for him. Every time he started, the team wanted to help him play better and I think that’s a pretty amazing story.”

Davies is now tied for the playoff lead with four goals in four games.

The guys in this locker room have pushed me since I’ve been here. They’ve really seen the potential that I have and they want me to succeed and that goes a long way. That’s why I’m playing the way I am now. These guys have all the faith and confidence in me and have built me up from the bottom – as well as the medical staff here, keeping me healthy, that’s been extremely the past five years. Finally to feel healthy and be able to play week to week at 100% is a great feeling.”

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