New England Soccer Today

Best of ’14: The Memories

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Before the curtains drop on 2014, the New England Soccer Today writers got together to discuss their favorite soccer memories of the past year – and what a year it was.

Between the early-season wallopings the Revs put on the Sounders and Union, to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s inspiring World Cup run, to the arrival of Jermaine Jones, to another trip to the MLS Cup for the locals, 2014 left us with plenty to look back on.

What were your favorite memories? Let us know in the comments section!

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Baxter Colburn

My favorite moment from the 2014 Soccer year was none other than the New England Revolution making the 2014 MLS Cup. After MLS fans thought New England could not defy all odds and make the playoffs, it brought me such joy when that did happen. Early in the season, I made the prediction that New England, not DC United, who was hot at the time, would win the Eastern Conference. It was very gratifying when that actually occurred, but the way it happened, simply shocked me.

Once into the playoffs, the Revolution brought their A-game ever match and never looked like slowing down. For once in my life, there was no reason to doubt New England going through to the final. After the 7-3 aggregate thrashing of the Columbus Crew, I knew there was nothing that could stop the Revs.

Going into the 2014 MLS Cup final, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine about the game. It was Landon Donovan’s last professional game and I said, if New England lose, I would be ok with it, simply because of the effect Donovan has had on MLS and US Soccer. We all know the result of that match, but even with the season not completely ending the way we all wanted, it still brought more attention to the Revolution and now fans have high hopes going into next season and future seasons.


Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Sean Donahue

In a year where the Revolution made their return to MLS Cup for the first time in seven years, Providence College made an improbable run to the final four and New England got its first big name designated player, there’s no shortage of obvious picks for best local soccer story of 2014. That said, perhaps the biggest shock of the year—and one that really began to change expectations for the Revolution—came in May on Mother’s Day.

On paper, the Seattle Sounders were the Revolution’s most difficult home opponent of the year. Sure, New England had a decent enough 4-3-2 record entering the match, but the Sounders (then 7-2-1) were riding a five game winning streak and would end the season winning the Supporters Shield with the league’s best record. Not only did the Revolution win, but they completely slaughtered what appeared to be a superior opponent on paper. Rookie Patrick Mullins opened the scoring with his second goal of the season, while Diego Fagundez had his best game of the year contributing two goals and Teal Bunbury added one as well to give New England a shocking 4-0 halftime lead.

A Chad Marshall own goal would make it 5-0 New England under a minute into the second half and the Revolution were on their way to a historic victory. The Revolution had made a nice turnaround in 2013 to get back into the playoffs only to lose to eventual champions Sporting Kansas City in the first round, but this victory signaled the team was capable of more in 2014. New England, who moved into first in the East with the win, followed that up with a 5-3 road win at Philadelphia and suddenly a team whose expectations seemed to simply be playoffs heading into the season looked capable of so much more. An eight game summer losing streak may have temporarily erased those positive feelings, but it was May in which the Revolution first hinted at their capabilities in 2014.

Greg Johnstone

Most people might recognize a certain match or goal as their top moment of 2014, but I will always remember the eight-minute span on July 8, 2014 when Germany scored four times against Brazil which completely stunned Brazil’s home crowd and the entire world watching. Odds had Brazil as a 50/50 shot to advance to the finals, even without Neymar, who was injured in the quarterfinals, so a German slaughter was not even thinkable in my mind. I was already surprised by Germany’s early goal in the 11th minute, and then completely off guard from the 23rd to 30th minute of the game as Germany put on a dominating offensive display embarrassing Brazil. It seemed every time I gathered myself to understand how far behind Brazil was down, Germany struck again. For eight minutes straight, ESPN showed Germany breezing through Brazil’s defense in live action, replays of the goals (which I confused with live action at times), and images of fans crying as Brazil’s World Cup hopes were destroyed. What made this span worse was how quickly it happened in the match. The last half-hour of play felt like a funeral with Brazil’s fate sealed so early in the match in front of their home crowd. I had no rooting interest in either team, but it was hard not to feel sympathy for Brazil’s fans. Of course, Germany won the World Cup Final days later by a narrow 1-0 margin where they needed to wait until extra time to score the deciding goal, but for me, the 2014 World Cup will always be remembered by those four goals scored in eight minutes in the semi-finals.

Jason Kates

While it is not a specific game, my favorite soccer-related memory of 2014 would have to be USA’s experience in the World Cup.

Between John Brooks’ game winning goal in the 86th minute versus Ghana and Tim Howard’s performance versus Belgium in the Round of 16, this past summer provided some exciting moments for American fans.

Regarding Brooks, it was absolutely incredible to see him get such a massive goal. The defender, who was highly criticized for his performance in an earlier game versus Ukraine, was still picked for the final 23-man roster by Jurgen Klinsmann, and proved all doubters wrong. He came on as a substitute at halftime of the game versus the Ghanaians and provided the game winner that gave the US a vital three points in the so-called “Group of Death.”

In the next game versus Portugal, Klinsmann’s squad delivered another memorable performance, even though they gave up a tying-goal in the 95th minute. This game was one of my favorite memories because despite going down in the fifth minute of the game, the Americans never gave up, and were rewarded for their fight with two goals from Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey. Along with the Ghana game, these two games produced many reasons for fans all over the country to be enthusiastic. That brings us to Howard, who put in one of the greatest goaltending performances in USA history.

After getting through to the Round of 16 thanks to late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo (never thought I’d write that), US was matched up against the Belgians, and it never seemed like they would get to the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, the game resulted in a 2-1 loss in extra time, but thanks to a 16-save performance from the goalkeeper, there was always hope that the Americans had a chance.

Overall, the World Cup gave American fans a summer to remember, and most importantly, hope for the future.


Photo credit: New England Revolution

Brian O’Connell

It wasn’t the most glamorous affair within a whirlwind year for the Revolution, but my favorite moment of 2014 was Stephen McCarthy’s 8th minute goal against the Richmond Kickers on Jun. 18 in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup. I know what you’re thinking – what the heck? Allow me to explain.

It’s rare that a story that you want to write about unfolds exactly the way you want it to. With the Revolution headed down to City Stadium for Open Cup action, I knew there would be a good chance that 2012 team defender of the year Stephen McCarthy would get his first look of the year. It had been a tough season for the converted defender; he’d made the 18 a number of times during the regular season up to that point, but hadn’t yet stepped onto the pitch. This would be his chance.

I couldn’t miss it. So I made the 10-hour trip down to the capital city. I already knew that in addition to taking the game report, I’d be writing about “Big Macca.” And Big Macca would make the writing incredibly easy. Amid a 93-degree temperature at kickoff, the central defender was forced to wear a mask after breaking his nose in training the previous week. At bare minimum, I’d at least get to write about this rather uncomfortable return to the XI.

When he headed through a Steve Neumann corner kick inside of eight minutes to give the Revolution the early lead, I didn’t get chills. Not after losing five pounds of water weight in the sweltering press box, at least. Rather, I just grinned a goofy grin. There was my story. Whether the Revolution got walloped 10-1, or a meteor fell out of the sky and knocked the Kickers’ dingo (?) mascot to the ground, this is what I was writing.

McCarthy only saw action in two more games, but on that sticky evening in Virginia, the day belonged to him, I’m convinced of it. He was back, even if only for a brief moment. After I put away the voice recorder following the interview, McCarthy extended his hand and said, “I’m glad you made it down for this.”

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