New England Soccer Today

21 Reasons Why #NEvCLT Will Be Epic

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The Revolution will be back in Boston on Wednesday, ready to commence their U.S. Open Cup tournament run against USL side Charlotte Independence at Harvard. Yes, the Revolution will be back in the city.

Knowing how awesome their first match at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium went back in 2013, we have 27 reasons why Wednesday’s match could be just as epic – if not more.

1. The atmosphere. There’s just something different about the energy that emanated from the crowd the last time the Revolution were at Harvard. Whether it was because of the density of die-hards (let’s face it, Open Cup doesn’t attract a ton of casual fans), closeness of the action, or the fact that it was Red Bulls-Revolution in 2013, the crowd certainly brought it’s A-game. We expect it more of the same on Wednesday.

2. The return of the Mini Fort. The last time the Revolution were at Harvard, supporters from the Fort set up a “mini” Fort behind one of the goals. And the chants that showered opposing keeper Ryan Meara didn’t echo: they fell right on top of him.

3. Access. Who needs autograph alley when you can snap a pic, or ask for a player’s signature right before or right after the match?

4. The vantage points. Is there anything better than being right on top of the action? Unlike Gillette Stadium, Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium allows spectators a point-blank look at much of the action. There really is no bad seat in the house.

5. The novelty. Yes, the Revolution have been here before. But there’s always something new and exciting when the locals when the Revolution play host at a venue other than Gillette Stadium. Whether it’s Harvard, Lusitano Stadium (Ludlow, Mass.) or Stevenson Field (Providence), it’s always fun to see the locals in action at a different park.

6. The chance to see up-and-coming talent. With a USL club on tap, expect Jay Heaps to field plenty of his younger players – many of whom we’ve hardly seen. You can probably count on watching Tyler Rudy, Timi Mulgrew, Sean Okoli in action, not to mention Steve Neumann and Donald Smith.

7. The potential for chaos. As we saw during Tuesday’s Sounders-Timbers clash – one in which ex-Rev Clint Dempsey literally ripped up the referee’s notebook – things can sometimes get a little bonkers in Open Cup play. Six years ago, the Revolution finished with eight players (one ejection, two injuries) in an extra time loss to the Harrisburg City Islanders during the third round.

8. The history. If you want to experience the essence of American soccer, the U.S. Open Cup is the perfect opportunity. Now entering its 102nd year, the tournament is one of the oldest in the world.

9. The different ideas. Heaps has used the tournament in the past to showcase veterans and newcomers alike in different roles. Last year, we saw Lee Nguyen essentially play holding midfielder alongside Scott Caldwell to save the creative player’s legs, while Charlie Davies played out on the wing.

10. The Annual Kelyn Rowe Show. No Revolution player has enjoyed the tournament more than the fourth-year midfielder, and it’s not even close. In six career Open Cup contests, Rowe’s scored six goals and added an assist for good measure. In fact, the last time Rowe played at Harvard, he bagged a brace against the Red Bulls.

11. The unpredictability. While each MLS team that played in last night’s Open Cup games advanced, you just never know when a plucky lower-division side is on the slate. Three years ago, the aforementioned City Islanders outlasted the Revolution on penalties, while USASA’s Cal FC went on a Cinderella run by getting results against USL and MLS competition. Any given Tuesday or Wednesday…

12. The weather. Best part of Wednesday’s forecast: no thunderstorms (see: 2012 third round match up at Harrisburg)…or dust storms (see: 2014 quarterfinal matchup at Philadelphia).

13. The simplicity of it. Open Cup action at smaller venues like Harvard are about as grassroots as it gets for top-flight sides. The distractions (mid-game announcements, constantly morphing scoreboard and balcony graphics, etc.) are often kept to a minimum.

14. Breakers and Revolution all in one place? The last time the Revolution were at Harvard, a number of Breakers – who play their home games at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium – were in attendance.

15. The opportunity to walk in – or walk out – of Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium alongside a player. Because the locker rooms aren’t connected to the stadium, the likelihood of entering or exiting just as a Revolution or Independence player does isn’t outside of the realm.

16. The chance to see a new club. In the past, the Revolution have played a number of familiar opponents, even those outside of MLS, during Open Cup play. The Independence will give both the fans and players an opportunity to learn about a team they’ve never encountered.

17. The stakes. Sure, Wednesday’s match itself isn’t exactly high-profile for the locals, but if the Revolution come out of it with the expected win, it’ll be the first step toward the ultimate prize: the U.S. Open Cup trophy, which lends itself a berth into CONCACAF Champions League action.

18. The red kits. Hey, any opportunity to see them up close and in person is a good one, right?

19. The opportunity to claim a stray ball in the parking lot. Unlike Gillette Stadium, it doesn’t take much for a mis-hit free kick or over-hit clearance to lose itself beyond the stadium’s perimeter.

20. The on-field chatter. In an environment like the one at Harvard, you can pick up a heck of a lot more of what the players are saying to each other, not to mention what the coaches are telling their charges.

21. Football in the city. The beautiful game in Boston? It doesn’t get much better than that!

Leave a Reply