FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Jay Heaps wasn't shy about reminding his squad that the last time the Revolution beat Real Salt Lake, he was on the pitch in the midst of it. So he knew his team had to dial it up for Saturday's match.
Although Alvaro Saborio fired the opening salvo only seconds into the match, the Revolution subsequently turned the tables and dictated the game for the duration to cruise to a 4-0 win at Gillette Stadium.
"That was the most important thing," Heaps said. "We knew Salt Lake -- they control games, and that's what they do. They limit possessions, and they control the tempo of the game, and we needed to take that from them."
Taking Salt Lake's strength away would be easier said than done. After all, it had been nearly six years since the Revolution last tasted victory against Real Salt Lake.
To give his squad the best chance of controlling the match, Heaps went with a front three consisting of Juan Agudelo, Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury. As a result, the Revolution pressed the issue not long after Jermaine Jones blocked Saborio's long-range rocket.
After winning second balls and staying clean on the ball, the Revolution finally broke through when Chris Tierney collected a pass from Agudelo, and uncharacteristically used his right foot to send it past Jeff Attinella in the 39th minute.
"Don't get used to it, that's probably a one-time thing there," Tierney, who's left-footed, said about his goal. "It was a good play by Juan to get it out to me, cut it back to the right and gave it go. Closed my eyes and swung the right peg and it went in."
A one-goal margin going into the half was a small victory for a side that, time after time, had fallen victim to Salt Lake's disciplined approach. But the Revolution widened the gap not long after Tierney's strike when Bunbury fed Davies centrally, and though he was initially denied, the rebound fell to Agudelo, who easily buried it in the 43rd minute.
The two goals matched the Revolution's highest scoring output of the early season, but they were far from done.
With Salt Lake's form disintegrating, the hosts found more opportunities to build on their lead. Tierney launched another right-footed blast in the 49th minute, and it took an acrobatic save from Attinella to keep it out of the net. A minute later, Scott Caldwell curled a cross for Davies inside the box, and the striker headed it true to put more distance on Salt Lake.
"We weren't giving up a ton away, so we weren't retreating a lot," Heaps said. "We were finding balls in good areas, and that's the most important thing."
The icing on the cake came in the latter stages. With the match firmly in their control, and with little left for Salt Lake to do without the services of top striker Javier Morales due to injury, the Revolution capped the scoring in the 84th minute when Kelyn Rowe played a ball at the top of the box for Caldwell, who ripped a left-footed shot that beat Attinella for his first career goal.
"Scott is such an underrated player, in my opinion," Tierney said. "He does so much for the team. He's really stepped into a role on this team where a lot of guys look to him and really respect him. It's great to see him get on the score sheet. It's long overdue."
So was the Revolution's first win from Salt Lake in eight tries. While the guests announced their intentions early, the commitment to winning second balls and stretching Salt Lake's diamond midfield speared the Revolution to a convincing win.
"It took a little while -- you saw the first 10 minutes they had the tempo," Heaps said. "But we took it from them, and that was what we needed to do."