New England Soccer Today

Leading by Example

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – By his own admission, Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones did not have his best game last week in Montreal. He knew he’d have to be better on Saturday.

After sitting down and speaking with coach Jay Heaps on Tuesday about what needed to do to improve, Jones led a ferocious charge in the latter stages of a 1-1 draw to the Union on Saturday.

“I’m not here to score goals every game,” Jones said. “But my presence here should help the team. I tried to push the team and do that (tonight).”

Jones, who wore the captain’s armband on Saturday, was a force for the Revolution all night. And it didn’t go unnoticed by Heaps.

“I thought Jermaine worked so hard in the first half to really put us in a position (to win),” Heaps said. “He was winning balls in the air, second balls, everything that we asked him to do this week. He was all in.”

After Fernando Aristeguieta scored in the 56th minute to cancel out Lee Nguyen’s opener in the 36th minute, Jones rallied his teammates to press for the go-ahead. Though they fell short when it was all said and done, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

In the final 20 minutes, the Revolution fired eight shots on target, not including a blast of the crossbar from Juan Agudelo in the 79th minute.

On a different night, the Revolution might have coasted to a comfortable win over a porous Union back four. But even though keeper Andre Blake was there time and time again to thwart the hosts, Heaps couldn’t help but be impressed by his prized midfielder.

“He led that group,” Heaps said. “His leadership in the second half really got our guys realizing that it was 1-1, and that we needed to get points.”

The 33-year-old midfielder was the third-highest rated Revolution player on Saturday according to, which bases its ratings on statistics from OPTA. Despite completing only 66.1 percent of his passes, he won a team-best six aerial duels, fired two shots on target, and collected 76 touches.

But the numbers alone only tell part of the story. What makes Jones the quintessential leader is his ability to motivate those around him, especially when the chips are down.

“My teammates know I can get a little bit angry,” Jones said with a mischievous smile. “But that’s how I try to help them because we have a young team.”

That young team has routinely responded well to Jones’ fiery personality. Yes, the game-winner never arrived for the Revolution on Saturday. But their skipper’s call to arms allowed the locals to put forth one of their most brilliant displays of attacking soccer seen this season.

While Heaps was certainly pleased with Jones’ performance in the wake of last week’s loss at Montreal, the midfielder himself probably would’ve felt better about it had the Revolution come away with maximum points – oh, and the subsequent playoff berth.

“What makes me strong is never give up, and try to push (on),” Jones said. “Everyone who knows me (knows) it starts in training, and I hate to lose.”

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