April 20, 2017 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - New England Revolution
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - At halftime of Wednesday night's meeting with the San Jose Earthquakes, New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps told Cody Cropper that he was going to be called upon to make one big save to keep his side in it.
Instead, the Revolution goalkeeper made three.
Cropper put in a man-of-the-match worthy performance behind New England's backline, helping the Revs maintain a second consecutive clean sheet at home in an entertaining 0-0 draw with the Earthquakes.
"It's disappointing not to take three points; we had plenty of chances in the first half," admitted Cropper. "But I think we defended well throughout the 90 minutes and really cut their opportunities down.
"They get one or two chances, and at the end of the day, that's my job is to make those saves and help the team change the momentum. I think that really helped us in that scenario."
Heaps pointed to a 50th-minute sequence when Cropper sprang off his line to clear a loose back-pass, but the stop that will make highlight reels arrived in the 66th minute when Cropper kicked out a left leg to make a stunning reaction save on Fatai Alashe from point-blank range.
It was a save just as valuable as a goal.
"It boosts us when he can make those saves," said right back Andrew Farrell. "It was a big-time save to keep us in the game."
Cropper was a bit more humble in his description of the sequence.
"In the moment, you turn off the post and you hope it hits you," he said with a laugh. "Thankfully I spread myself, make myself big and it does, and goes wide of the goal. In all honesty, I knew nothing about it. I just kind of hoped it hit me and we got away with that one."
Cropper's heroics aside, it was a frustrating night for the Revs as they failed to turn 15 shots (six on target) into a goal that would've earned them three valuable points. Instead, they'll turn to Saturday night's showdown with old rivals D.C. United as they close out a three-games-in-eight-days stretch.
"We've got a quick turnaround," Heaps said. "We've got to take the point, make some adjustments, make some changes to the lineup and be ready for a D.C. team on Saturday."