It’s become the motto the Revolution have lived by for much of the summer: One play, and one game at a time.
After Sunday’s 5-1 thrashing of the fourth-place Union, that mindset must be in place for the Revolution to avoid any sense of complacency or carelessness to creep in ahead of their clash at BMO Field against Toronto FC on Friday.
“That’s huge mentally,” Revolution midfielder Scott Caldwell told the media on Wednesday. “(To) make sure we’re not overconfident or overexcited for any one game, or training session, too, because they’ve been pretty hyped up, as well.”
Even though Toronto is currently mired in ninth place and likely destined for another early exit from the postseason hunt, they have to like their chances against the Revolution.
Four weeks ago, they marched into Foxborough, scored inside of two minutes, and walked away with a 1-0 upset win over New England. That victory put the brakes on a two-game win the streak the Revolution had hoped to extend in front of the Foxborough Faithful.
While Toronto has figured out a way to beat the Revolution on their home pitch, the local XI are still searching for their first win at BMO Field. Since Toronto entered MLS in 2007, the Revolution sport a 0-2-4 record on the road against the Reds.
“We know how dangerous Toronto can be at home,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told the media on Wednesday. “Especially because they’ve played some good games there, and it’s going to be important for us because it’s another Eastern Conference game.”
Holding onto the fifth and final playoff spot by the thinnest of threads, the Revolution know that the key to strengthening their chances of reaching the postseason all boils down to one word: consistency.
In their last eight, the Revolution have gone 4-4-0, and within that span, have lost back-to-back games on two separate occasions.
“We’ve been streaky over the past couple of months,” Caldwell said. “We’ve got to stop that. We’ve got to be consistent and really over these last nine games. We need to win games -- the majority of them -- if we’re going to make the playoffs.”
To that end, the Revolution know that three points is the objective against a talented, albeit struggling, Toronto FC side that’s been mired near the basement for much of the season. Friday’s game is a winnable match that, for all intents and purposes, the Revolution should come out on top.
And to do that, Revolution defender Chris Tierney admits that coming out of the gate early and establishing a comfortable rhythm will be essential to their quest for a third straight win.
“It’s crucial, especially on the road,” Tierney told the media on Wednesday. “If you give them any sort of momentum at home, then they’ll start to feed off of that. So we have to make sure that, first things first, we’re tight defensively, don’t concede anything, and then play our way into the game.”
Setting the tempo from the start -- especially on defense -- should go a long way in their efforts to get a long-awaited win at BMO Field. After all, as recent history has shown, a slow start for the Revolution could spell the end of another two-game winning streak.
And while Sunday’s goal bonanza certainly boosted their confidence, Caldwell knows that he and his teammates would be best served by putting it behind them.
“We really just mentally have to stay focused one game at a time,” Caldwell said. “We remember what we did well (against Philadelphia), keep those positives, but refocus on the next game at hand.”