The New England Revolution are enjoying their best stretch in over nine years, and their next opponent could be the right team to help keep it going.
The Eastern Conference leaders will try for their longest winning streak since 2005 Saturday night in Montreal against the struggling Impact.
The winning streak of five and unbeaten streak of seven have been a long time coming after New England (7-3-2) missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, a period of struggle that has helped ground its veteran players.
"I've been in this league long enough and I've been on seven-game winless streaks," said defender Chris Tierney, who has spent all seven of his MLS seasons with the Revolution. "Had I rolled over and given up then I wouldn't be here now. So it's just about maintaining an even keel."
The Revolution continued rolling in Saturday's 2-1 home win over D.C. United. Patrick Mullins gave New England the lead in the 55th minute, and after conceding in the 73rd, the Revolution took it right back with Diego Fagundez's 77th-minute winner.
The 19-year-old Fagundez, set to graduate high school next week during his fourth MLS season, has four goals over a three-match scoring streak.
The 22-year-old Mullins has scored in all four games since returning from a seven-match stint on the bench. Mullins is just the second MLS rookie to score in four straight games, and he in part credits it to a return to a more natural position after playing midfield in the club's season opener.
"When I first came in I definitely wanted to make sure I just contributed," he said, but playing forward "is stuff that I've done my whole life. It's a little more natural."
Thanks in large part to the young duo, New England has outscored its opponents 19-6 in the last seven games.
Montreal (1-6-4), conversely, has been outscored 8-2 and earned one point in three league matches since getting its first victory April 26. After Saturday's 4-1 loss in Colorado left them stuck on seven points, the Impact are the only team in MLS with a single-digit point total.
They trailed 4-0 before Andres Romero's 88th-minute goal canceled the clean sheet, though coach Frank Klopas remained positive.
"We had some good chances. My players gave everything," Klopas said. "There's nothing I can complain about. They had three shots that went in and the PK."
The Impact are the lowest-scoring team in MLS with nine goals in 11 matches, but the return of forward Marco Di Vaio could help them turn that around. The 20-goal scorer from a season ago, who had been out with a hamstring injury, came on as a substitute against Colorado and started in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Toronto in the Canadian Championship.
New England has a pair of 1-0 victories in its last two trips to Montreal, and the Revolution are expecting another tight contest.
"Montreal, they're a good team. It's the same team that put together a really solid run last year," Tierney told the club's official website. "They've got plenty of dangerous players and we're going to have to go to their place, which is a tough place to play."
The clubs split last season's two-game set with the road team winning each.
Di Vaio and Patrice Bernier each scored twice in a 4-2 Montreal win on Sept. 8.
New England defender Kevin Alston is likely to return from a three-match absence due to a hamstring injury.
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