New England Soccer Today

Streak Busters

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – If there was ever a club the New England Revolution was glad to be seeing less of when the MLS schedule switched in 2012 so they only played Western Conference teams once a year, Real Salt Lake was probably it. After some early struggles as an expansion side that entered the league in 2005, Salt Lake won MLS Cup in 2009 and heading into Saturday night, hadn’t lost to New England since, becoming one of the most consistently good teams in MLS along the way.

The Revolution managed a 3-1 home win over Salt Lake on August 23rd, 2009, but since then had gone winless against their foes from Utah, with an ugly 0-6-1 record since 2009 heading into Saturday night’s match-up.

“I told the guys I think the last time we beat them I was on the field so that’s not a good thing,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps, who played for the Revolution from 2001 until retiring in 2009.

Not only did Salt Lake have an impressive record against New England, but they handed the club some of its most lopsided defeats in history. On April 25, 2009, they crushed New England 6-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. They followed that up the next year with a 5-0 win against the Revolution at Gillette Stadium on July 2, 2010. More recently, the games have been closer, but Salt Lake had still rattled off three straight 2-1 victories from 2012 to 2014 over the then Heaps-led Revolution. No matter how it was framed, history was against the Revolution heading into Saturday night’s game.

And that history made it all the more sweeter when the Revolution cruised to a crushing 4-0 victory over Salt Lake at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.

“[To say they’ve been successful against us] is an understatement,” said Heaps. “It was good, they’ve had our number.”

Only four members of the current Revolution squad were on the team when they last beat Salt Lake in 2009: Chris Tierney, Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes and Bobby Shuttleworth. Barnes and Alston started, while Tierney was on the bench as a hattrick from former Revolution striker Kheli Dube led them to a 3-1 victory.

This time Tierney got the start and scored the opening goal that would turn out to be the game winner in the 39th minute. His goal was followed up four minutes later by one from Juan Agudelo, giving New England a 2-0 halftime lead. This despite Salt Lake’s typical shutdown defense through the opening 45 minutes.

“RSL is always a really tough match up for us,” said Tierney, who is in his eighth season with the club. “I don’t know that I’ve ever beaten them so it felt good. They’ve stuck it to us a couple of times. I think it was either my rookie year or my second year we lost 6-0 at their place. It felt good to turn that around on them. But we’re looking forward, we played really well tonight. It didn’t really matter the opponent, I think we were going to win tonight no matter what. If we bring the game we brought tonight we’re going to keep moving forward and pick up points.”

And if the disappointing history wasn’t enough of a motivating factor for New England, the team also had its largest home crowd of the season to give it a boost with 17,982 in attendance. The team averaged just 12,650 fans through its first three home games this season.

“We could tell when we walked out just before the whistle that it was a good crowd,” said midfielder Scott Caldwell. “We could hear them the whole game, so it definitely helped us out.”

The team gave the crowd plenty to cheer about as Caldwell and Charlie Davies each scored in the second half to give the game it’s 4-0 final margin of victory, the team’s largest since a 5-0 win over Seattle on May 11, 2014.

“The support was great tonight and we’re really happy that we put in the performance we did tonight to reward all the fans that came out,” said Tierney.

The win leaves the Revolution unbeaten in their last 14 home games, including playoffs, having not lost in front of the Foxboro faithful since a July 26, 2014, 2-1 loss to Columbus,

“We love our fans,” said Davies. “The fans have been great. The support has been monumental for us. We really feed off the fans here. The passion’s there and when you have that it’s easy to have success playing in front of a home crow like this.”

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