FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It may not have been the way Jay Heaps drew it up, but there was something about Eric Hassli’s fifth minute goal that would show what the Revolution were made of.
Whether the early deficit shocked the Revolution into scrapping the blueprints and getting to work, or whether it gave the Whitecaps a false sense of security, one thing was for sure: It opened the door for the hosts to make a statement.
“I’m a big believer (in that) when you give something up, you have to take advantage and press a little bit," Heaps said. “That’s what we were trying to do -- get after it right away.”
In recent years, conceding an early goal often sent the Revolution into panic mode. After they got the ball back, each player tried to do it all. The concept of teamwork was thrown into the dumpster. And as a result, they often struggled to dig itself out of an early deficit.
But Saturday’s game against the Whitecaps proved otherwise. It proved that the Revolution under Heaps’ watch were a new breed. No more slumped shoulders, dejected looks or 11 different agendas.
“You kind of felt like when the goal went in, heads didn’t drop,” Revolution left back Chris Tierney said. “You know, things happen. We picked ourselves up and got right back in it.”
And they didn’t waste any time doing so. Less than a minute after Matt Reis picked the ball out of the net, Benny Feilhaber led a charge into the attacking third that concluded with Lee Nguyen whipping the equalizer into the back of the net.
It didn’t end there, either. Saer Sene scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season in the 24th minute to give the Revolution the go-ahead. In the 33rd minute, Shalrie Joseph put himself on the scoresheet for the first time in 2012 with a hard shot that made it a 3-1 game.
To cap the Revolution’s breathtaking display of firepower, Nguyen scored a masterpiece from 25-yards out that stunned the Foxboro faithful. Four unanswered goals later, and the slow start was all but forgotten.
“We worked hard and we didn’t give up after that first goal,” Nguyen said. “It was a shocker when they scored. And to come back like that, it helped everybody push forward. Then Saer (Sène) getting the second goal after that, everyone just gained more confidence.”
In hindsight, you could say that Saturday’s win was more than just a crowd-pleasing offensive performance. Rather, it was an exercise in character building. It was a test. A test of how the Heaps’ squad would respond when the chips were down early.
If Saturday’s win proved anything, it was this: The days of dreading early mistakes and playing cautiously are over. Adversity? It’s now something to tackle, rather than duck and hide from.
“We kind of got sucker punched there (at the beginning),” Tierney said. “But we liked the way we started the game. We were up for it tonight.”