FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Patrick Mullins was in junior high school in New Orleans when he attended a New England Revolution clinic there about 10 years ago.
The MLS team was in the middle of a six-season stretch of reaching the Eastern Conference final and making it to the championship game in four of them.
"They were probably the first team in MLS I started watching," the rookie forward said Tuesday. "I know a little bit about the Revs' past."
Now he's part of their impressive present and hopeful future after a four-year slide in which they failed to make the playoffs three times.
And those four title games?
They lost every one of them — two in overtime and one on penalty kicks.
There was more disappointment this year when the Revolution won just one of their first five games, going scoreless in four.
But since then, they're 6-0-1 and have won their past five games.
They've outscored opponents 16-4 in that winning streak, their longest since 2005, with an Eastern Conference matchup at last-place Montreal set for Saturday night.
While their performances have changed, their attitude hasn't.
"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."
New England leads the conference, but "we're still a third of the way through the season and we have plenty of work to do," Tierney said.
When Jay Heaps became coach in 2012, the Revolution had missed the playoffs for two straight seasons. They fell short again in his first year then lost in the first round last year.
But his emphasis on drafting college players is paying off.
The Revolution chose midfielder Kelyn Rowe of UCLA with the third pick in 2012, defender Andrew Farrell of Louisville with the first pick in 2013 and Mullins, the two-time national player of the year from Maryland, in 2014.
Continue reading this story on the...