Philadelphia, PA – The New England Revolution made the biggest statement of the weekend on Sunday with an impressive five-goal eruption, while the Philadelphia Union saved a point in Toronto but produced more questions than answers as we look back on Week 14 in Major League Soccer.
STATEMENT WIN FOR NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
This editor wrote in our season preview for the New England Revolution that the club had several good pieces in place, but it more than likely would be another rebuilding year for coach Jay Heaps' club.
But Sunday's 5-0 drubbing of the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy may have turned those "pieces" into a rising team intent on making a push for the postseason.
New England struggled early on, but has come together nicely over its past three matches -- all victories -- in which the Revolution have outscored their opposition 9-0.
On Sunday at Gillette Stadium, the young Revs ran all over what looked to be a tired Galaxy side.
Saer Sene, who is working his way back into the team after suffering an ACL tear last season, opened the scoring for New England in the 33rd minute and Lee Nguyen made it 2-0 in the 71st minute, both goals were assisted by talented 18-year-old forward Diego Fagundez.
Fagundez then struck for his fifth goal of the season with three minutes remaining, but the Revs weren't done yet as former Galaxy man Chad Barrett and Kelyn Rowe each found the back of the net in stoppage time to complete the rout.
Rowe, the third overall selection by New England in last year's SuperDraft, also added two assists in the victory.
"I thought (the movement was really good. I thought Juan Agudelo had a heck of a night, just working hard and creating a lot stuff," Heaps said.
"When we're free flowing and can open a game up, as long as we have proper balance, we feel OK. Tonight our balance wasn't the best. I thought Scott Caldwell did an excellent job with balance. Lee, Diego, Saer, Juan, then when Chad came in, he filled that role really well. He made two or three really good passes, worked hard. We have a good group that can attack. We just have to find the right times to attack and have the right balance."
The Revs will look to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference table against D.C. United on Saturday.
UNION MANAGE A POINT, BUT QUESTIONS LINGER
The Philadelphia Union managed a point against Toronto FC at BMO Field courtesy of a Jack McInerney equalizer in the 90th minute, but for a club which claims to have playoff aspirations for this season, sneaking out with a draw against a team which has just one win this season isn't going to cut it.
Philadelphia were outplayed by a struggling Toronto team for large portions of the match on Saturday, but got a break when defender Doneil Henry was sent off in the 41st minute after receiving a second yellow card.
But it was TFC which came out of the locker room with the better of the play and it finally opened the scoring with a great header by Jonathan Osorio in the 66th minute.
But the Union were saved again by McInerney, who smashed one into the bottom left corner from the penalty area for his league-leading 10th goal of the season.
Generally, a point on the road would be considered a good result, but if Philadelphia wants to make the postseason, the Union should beat teams that are below them in the table, especially when they could be losing their top offensive weapon later in the season.
McInerney was named to the U.S. national team's preliminary 35-man roster ahead of this summer's Gold Cup competition, and the question remains as to what Philadelphia's offense will look like if McInerney makes the final 23- man squad.
McInerney has five game-winning goals this season and the Union have five wins through 14 matches. Manager John Hackworth would likely start Sebastien Le Toux and Conor Casey up top if McInerney leaves, but Le Toux and Casey have a combined four goals this season, so there could be a sizable drop-off in offensive production.
OTHER ACTION AROUND THE LEAGUE
In other action from Week 14, the Vancouver Whitecaps put an end to Red Bull New York's seven-match unbeaten streak with a 2-1 victory at Red Bull Arena, while the Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo battled to a 1-1 draw.
Montreal rose to the top of the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City, while FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids played to a 2-2 stalemate at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
The San Jose Earthquakes continue to struggle after a humbling 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. After winning the Supporters' Shield last season, this year has been a different story. They have won just once in their last 10 matches and are in eighth place in the West with just 15 points.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - The Revs got off to a tough start, but have really turned a corner over the past couple of weeks. They pulled off an incredible result against the Houston Dynamo, a 2-0 win on the road which ended the Dynamo's 36-match home unbeaten run, and followed that up with a comfortable 2-0 win over Toronto FC. But Sunday's thrashing of Los Angeles could be the turning point for the Revs as they make a push toward the postseason.
REAL SALT LAKE - Since dropping a difficult 3-2 result on the road against Montreal on May 11, RSL has gone unbeaten in three straight matches and has taken three points in four of its last six to rise to second place in the West on 24 points. Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales and Robbie Findley all found the back of the net in their destruction of San Jose on Saturday as RSL appears in good shape for another playoff appearance.
PHILADELPHIA UNION - After struggling to beat the fourth-tier Ocean City Nor'Easters in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup last Tuesday, the Union had an opportunity to pounce on a weak Toronto FC team. But the Union needed McInerney to steal a point with a 90th-minute equalizer. The Union have looked flat and uninspired over their past few matches and need something to shake up the squad ahead of Wednesday's home match against Columbus.
D.C. UNITED - At this point, saying that D.C. United is trending downward would be kind. Coach Ben Olsen's club suffered a lackluster 2-0 loss to the Chicago Fire on Sunday at Toyota Park to extend its winless run in league play to 11 consecutive matches. United has one just once this season - a 1-0 result over Real Salt Lake on March 9 - and has failed to put together a full 90- minute performance all season, but they can still salvage something from this season if they can make a solid run in the U.S. Open Cup.
THE WEEK AHEAD
It's a bit a of a light schedule for MLS this week as Philadelphia hosts Columbus at PPL Park on Wednesday, while there are four matches on Saturday.
Chicago Fire aims for a second straight victory against the Portland Timbers, New England goes for four straight wins against D.C. United, Real Salt Lake hosts the Los Angeles Galaxy and in the nightcap the Cascadia Cup takes center stage when Seattle welcomes Vancouver to CenturyLink Field.