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Saturday, November 29, 2014

For The 1st Time Since 2007, The Revolution Get Back to the MLS Cup, Now It's Time To Win One

The Revolution tied the Red Bulls 2-2 this afternoon at Gillette Stadium in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship so coupled with their 2-1 win last weekend at Red Bull Arena, New England advanced to their fifth MLS Cup in club history (tying DC United for the most in the Eastern Conference). The Revs are 0-4 in the Cup but for now, they deserve to revel in a great accomplishment. They'll meet the winner of LA/Seattle next Sunday on the West Coast, the Galaxy lead 1-0 heading into tomorrow night's final Western Conference Championship match (9:20, ESPN) in Seattle.

Don't forget, this team had an eight-game winless streak in the middle of this season which had never happened before to an MLS Cup team. New England improved to 12-1-1 since they acquired Jermaine Jones (10-0-1 when he starts) and Lee Nguyen is an MLS MVP candidate but nobody better symbolizes their remarkable turnaround than homegrown striker Charlie Davies. If you are a soccer fan, you no doubt are aware of his incredible recovery but we always wondered if he'd get back his immense talent. After scoring both goals today to go with two against Columbus in the first leg of the previous round (no other Revolution player had done that), Davies declared himself back while also admitting that he's a smarter player these days.

New York scored first, Tim Cahill started in place of the suspended Bradley Wright-Phillips and he came through in the 26th minute by connecting on a pass from Thierry Henry for his first goal of the playoffs. New England didn't take long to get the all-important equalizer though as Davies headed in a cross on a set piece by Chris Tierney in a crowd of players by New York's goal in the 41st minute for his third goal of the postseason. Being tied 1-1 at halftime had to feel like a win for the Revs considering that they would progress with either a win, draw or 1-0 loss.

The Red Bulls didn't roll over by any means as Peguy Luyindula had a header go over in the 52nd minute then seconds later, he was there to pounce on a loose ball and poke it around Bobby Shuttleworth (2 saves) for his third goal of the playoffs. That was the only score that if it held would have resulted in extra time so it's fair to say that Davies' second goal was the most important of the season for the Revs. It was a pretty similar play as Tierney once again crossed it in, this time from the left side rather than the right and Davies headed it past Luis Robles (2 saves).

New England closed out its 2014 campaign at Gillette Stadium with eight straight wins, in fact their last loss here was way back on July 26. Anything can happen in a one-game playoff and obviously, they'll be an underdog against the heavyweight Galaxy or Sounders on their home turf but it's tough to bet against this team at the moment. The Revolution lost in the MLS Cup in 2002 then 2005-2007 so they are long overdue to get the only title that matters in MLS. It would be the perfect manner to kick off what we all hope is a championship filled winter with the Patriots-their Gillette neighbors.

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