The Revs notched their first victory of the 2012 season by downing the Portland Timbers 1-0. Tierney said the players wanted to do it for head coach Jay Heaps.
“We wanted to get this first win for Jay [Heaps], that’s for sure,” Tierney said. “He’s brought such a refreshing attitude in this locker room –- this one’s definitely for him. We are behind him as a team and we really like the changes that he’s made. It’s great for him to get his first win, for sure.”
Heaps’ group bounced back after two road consecutive losses to open the campaign. In both of its previous games, New England failed to translate the good work from practice onto the field on gameday. Saturday’s game was different — at least in the beginning.
Saer Sene scored the winning goal just 28 seconds after the opening whistle. It was the French striker’s first goal in Major League Soccer, and the eighth fastest in league history.
Tierney’s cross set up Sene’s goal. The Wellesley, Mass. native said the goal was an example of the players executing a crucial aspect of Heaps’ game plan.
“Jay said going in ‘let’s put balls in their box. Let’s put them under pressure to start the game.’ So Saer’s great at getting at the inner crosses, so I figured ‘why not whip one in and just try and put in a good area,’ and Saer did great to get on the end of it.”
The game was also New England’s home opener, and Heaps has emphasized the importance of winning in front of the home fans. The first-year boss expected Portland to bring added intensity to the early part of the game, so the Revs would have to match the Timbers’ fighting spirit.
“I think [the goal] was 30 seconds in or whatever it was,” Heaps said. “But I tell you, it’s one of those where we were fired up from the beginning. We knew that they were going to be flying, so we had to make sure we came out with some energy and that’s what we showed.”
The game was far from a 90-minute stroll around the Gillette Stadium turf. Although the Revs wanted to play with fluid passing and attacking flair, Portland’s physical approach made it difficult for New England to impose its style of play on the game.
“It took us some time to settle in, but I think as the game went on, there were things against us, things that were hurting us, but we fought through it and that’s what the most special part of the night was,” Heaps added. “When it got tough, we got tougher.”
After a discouraging start to the season, the new-look Revs showed they have every intention of climbing out from the depths of 2011. It will be a collective effort, but they accomplished the first order of business, which was getting Heaps that first win of his managerial career.
See the video below for highlights of the Revolution’s 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers (courtesy of MLSSoccer.com).