Jay Heaps

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Jay Heaps out as New England Revolution boss

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Jay Heaps’ six-year reign at the New England Revolution has come to an end.

On Tuesday morning New England released a statement saying they had “parted ways” with former defender Heaps who took charge in November 2011.

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Heaps led the Revs to the 2014 MLS Cup final where they lost in overtime to the LA Galaxy, while he made three-straight trips to the MLS Cup Playoffs to kick off his managerial career and he also led the Revs to the 2016 U.S. Open Cup final where they lost to FC Dallas.

Nine defeats in their last 14 MLS games, including a 7-0 hammering at Atlanta United last week, sealed Heaps’ fate and New England Revolution GM Michael Burns had the following to say about Heaps’ departure.

“Jay has done a great deal for the club over the years and had considerable achievements. I have great respect for him and wish him well in the next steps of his career, “Burns said. “This decision has not been taken lightly, however, we need to do better than the results have shown from the last couple of seasons and this season left us convinced we need to go in a different direction.”

Assistant coach Tom Soehn has been placed in interim charge of the Revs for the remainder of the 2017 season and the Kraft family, who own the MLS franchise, explained why they fired Heaps.

“As a club, we made the decision to remove Jay Heaps as the head coach of our team. We would like to thank Jay for his tremendous contributions to the club over his 15 years as a player and coach. Jay led us to our fifth MLS Cup appearance and our third US Open Cup Final. He made us all proud and as a former player of ours we are very happy to have helped him launch his coaching career and wish him nothing but the best of success in the future.

“Our goal is to field a team each and every season that is competing for championships and over the past couple of seasons we have fallen short of that goal. We will immediately begin a search for a new head coach and are committed to seeing the New England Revolution once again return to championship contention. – Robert and Jonathan Kraft”

With a 75-81-43 record in the regular season and a 4-3-1 record in the postseason as a coach, Heaps is also the longest-serving head coach in Revs history after spending nine seasons as a player for New England. He will remain a legend of the club.

Yet, after early promise in his coaching career things faded badly in New England for Heaps with the Revs failing to make the playoffs in each of the past two seasons. The former U.S. national team defender was one of a wave of MLS head coaches with vast playing experience in the league after the likes of Ben Olsen, Mike Petke, Jesse Marsch and Greg Vanney were also been handed head coaching gigs.

Heaps has brought through many promising young players such as Andrew Farrell, Scott Caldwell and Kelyn Rowe but with the likes of Juan Agudelo and Diego Fagundez unable to kick on in attack the Revs have struggled to compete in the stacked Eastern Conference.

With a new soccer-specific stadium deal for the Revs no closer to fruition than it was when Heaps took charge in 2011 (the $250 million deal for a stadium in Boston’s Bayside Exposition Center collapsed earlier this year) many will question a lack of investment in the team over the years from the Kraft family as the ultimatum reason for recent struggles on the pitch.

That said, the New England job is still a very attractive one and there will no doubt be a range of top-class applicants to oversee the massive rebuild needed, although no overwhelming favorite for the role has emerged.

MLS Snapshot: New England 2-3 New York Red Bulls (video)

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less)Jay Heaps and the New England Revolution threw away two wonderful plays from Diego Fagundez, and perhaps their playoffs hopes in the process. New England is now eight points back of the sixth spot in the East, while New York stays within shouting distance of the Top Six. Coach Jesse Marsch is now the winningest coach in RBNY history, while Heaps days of adding to his total as Revs boss may be dwindling down to zero.

(Some of) The goals

21′ — Pretty build-up, gutsy finish — The first example of Fagundez’s fantastic playmaking was met by Teal Bunbury’s fearless finish. It’s a shame few fans will be thinking about it following the match.

23′ — BWP’s vicious equalizer — Sometime it’s more power than placement.

26′ — Fagundez wins the ball back, finds Nguyen — Look at this mazey dribble from the 22-year-old Uruguayan.

90′ — Veron gets on the board — Not a banner moment for keeper positioning, but the Argentine from San Lorenzo has his first of the season to just drive a sledgehammer into New England’s collective gut.

Man of the Match: Fagundez.

Revolution, Galaxy taking different perspectives on “hectic, crazy” 2-2 draw

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Revolution and LA Galaxy clashed in ugly weather conditions, but that didn’t stop the first-half of play from showing two of Major League Soccer’s best teams brandishing numerous quality attacks.

Four goals in total were netted in the first 45 minutes, as New England nabbed the first on Teal Bunbury’s close-range effort in the fifth minute, followed by a surge from the LA Galaxy that included scores from two young guns–forward Gyasi Zardes and Ignacio Magnato.

Then, the Revs own youngster, 20-year-old Diego Fagundez, put the two sides on equal terms with his sharp free-kick conversion.

All of this happened in what felt like rapid succession, and the remainder of this 2014 MLS Cup rematch wouldn’t display such frantic maneuvering.

[RELATED: Revolution-Galaxy recap]

Unfortunately for the Revolution, they couldn’t keep pushing for the final goal, and the sudden lack of forwardness antagonized head coach Jay Heaps.

He was not happy with the sedate cadence of the match, which, Heaps believes, the officials facilitated.

“I thought our urgency was – should have been better in the second half and we created a lot of chances, but I thought that the referee wasn’t letting us play the game,” he said. “It really felt like there was a lot of delays in the game and unfortunately our tempo needs to be played quickly.

“I’m disappointed as you can tell because I thought our game plan was really good and we came out an executed for the first 12 minutes of that game, and if we continued to do that for another 30 or 40 minutes, you’d see a big smile on my face right now. But we didn’t and that’s why I’m so frustrated right now.”

Galaxy manger Bruce Area uttered a somewhat divergent sentiment, glad to have another positive end product, one without reigning MLS MVP Robbie Keane.

“This game tonight was hectic, crazy, out of control, not an easy game,” he admitted.

“I give our guys credit. Going down a goal in the early minutes and being able to get a point out of it against a good team, it’s a good result, a good week for us with two wins and a draw.”

The Revolution will travel to Portland to experience the Timbers on Saturday. Arena’s side return home to duel the Vancouver Whitecaps that same day.

2014 MLS Cup rematch: For the New England Revolution, it’s a new season, different game against LA Galaxy

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At Gillette Stadium on Thursday, there was no talk of last season’s heart wrenching loss in Carson, California—an LA Galaxy triumph to bring home the 2014 MLS Cup—sending American soccer legend Landon Donovan off in style.

The New England Revolution had enjoyed arguably one of their best seasons in franchise history last year, with a player in the MVP discussion (Lee Nguyen) and a team that looked as deep and cohesive as ever.

New England’s squad has not changed a whole lot since then, and when MLS MVP Robbie Keane shattered the Revs’ hopes with his go-ahead goal in stoppage time, the focus immediately switched to 2015.

Jay Heaps and Co. now have another crack at the Galaxy in a regular season bout on Sunday, to be televised on FOX Sports 1, and the Revs’ head coach is far from hyping up this Cup rematch.

[FOLLOW: PST’s MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule]

“We’re focused on this year and this game. We look at what they’ve done the last games….We’re on to this game,” Heaps said prior to training, mirroring the resolute sentiment of his Gillette Stadium-based colleague Bill Belichick.

The Revs have either drawn or lost in their past four competitions, their latest victory being in early May against the New York Red Bulls. Two red cards–given to Nguyen and defender Chris Tierney–marred what resulted in a 1-1 draw vs. D.C. United a week ago, and hectic sequences at Sporting Park three days earlier had the Revolution at their most vulnerable all season.

Sporting KC dominated the Revs on the quick strike and exposed Jermaine Jones playing as center back in the wake of injuries, the final score 4-2 in favor of the Wizards, but it didn’t look like a game that warranted such defeat.

Nguyen’s presence has been quiet, while forwards Juan Agudelo and Charlie Davies, as well as midfielder Kelyn Rowe, have piloted NE’s attack.

Meanwhile, the LA Galaxy were expected by some to number in the top-three of the Western Conference at this point, but Robbie Keane’s seven-game absence with a groin strain had the Galaxy staring into the face of adversity.

Regardless, after a 0-2-3 stretch, Keane returned and two consecutive wins ensued. Bruce Arena’s side has climbed up to fourth place, tied on points (20) with the Revolution.

[RELATED: US Open Cup roundup: MLS teams learn their 4th round opponents]

“I look at what’s on film,” Heaps said of the current Galaxy. “To me the standings are—you know, look—they have the same number of points as us. I think they’re as good as team as there is in this league, always. Probably one of the the best coached teams; they have a veteran group. They’re as difficult as they are every year.”

The entrance of Steven Gerrard in mid-July could change the offensive production of the Galaxy, who haven’t produced wide-margined score lines to put their attack in conversation for the best in the league.

Individuals have stepped up to supply the victories for LA while Keane still recovers to regain form, most recently rookie Ignacio Maganto earning the PK for the lone goal in a win over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.

Arena admitted after this contest, though, that the season hasn’t been as smooth sailing as anticipated.

“This has been a very difficult start of the season,” he said. “The injuries, the schedule, the untimely suspensions with it as well, it’s been patchwork since game one.”

New England will need to put forth a top-notch performance, no doubt, and the Galaxy will be braced to match it. Get ready for some serious MLS soccer this weekend.

Heaps says “next couple days” will determine whether Jermaine Jones is back for New England

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The New England Revolution has found its form after an 0-2 start, and now they’re very close to bringing their star midfielder back into the fold.

Jermaine Jones could return from sports hernia surgery this weekend, as the Revolution (2W-2L-1T) has their playoff rematch with the Columbus Crew.

[MORE: Klopas hails CCL win for MLS, Canada]

Jones hasn’t seen game time since the United States’ 2-0 friendly win over Panama on Feb. 8, and head coach Jay Heaps says Jones was close to returning for last weekend’s win over Colorado.

From RevolutionSoccer.net:

“We’re going to see how this week goes,” said Heaps. “He had an excellent week last week leading up to the (Colorado) game and was close to being fit, but not quite there.

“We’ll see how the next couple days go in terms of how many minutes (he can play) or if he’s in the squad. It’s important just to see these next couple days.”

During postgame access in Colorado Heaps said that if Jones continued to progress at the expected rate, he’d be an option against Crew SC, though to what extent is to be determined. Jones has returned to full training but likely lacks full match fitness after missing several weeks of action.

Jones was, over-simplifying — the difference in New England’s rise up the Eastern Conference last season. His arrival saw him score three goals and add three assists in 12 matches, and Jones was a difference maker in the two-legged win over New York Red Bulls in the playoffs.

So look out, MLS: New England’s going to be back in full-stride now, if they aren’t already.