WASHINGTON (AFP) - After losing three prior Major League Soccer finals, the New England Revolution enter Sunday's MLS Cup championship rematch against Houston hungry to prove they have what it takes to win a title.
The Revolution could complete a double after winning the US Open Cup last month and avenge last year's loss to the Dynamo in a penalty kick shootout. New England also lost to Los Angeles in overtime in the 2002 and 2005 finals.
"If you get there enough times, you've got to eventually win one," said midfielder Steve Ralston. "We've come so close. Losing in overtime and PKs was heartbreaking. "This year, it would be great to win the double."
The Revolution, which won and drew with Houston this season, wants to match the success of other Boston-area teams, including baseball's World Series champion Red Sox, American football's unbeaten Patriots and basketball's undefeated Celtics.
"We want to be like the other Boston teams and bring home the championship," said defender Jay Heaps. "It's time for us to do it. There are no other ways for us to lose. It's time to go all the way and win the championship."
New England forward Taylor Twellman scored in the 113th minute of last year's final only for an unlikely deflection to set up Houston's Brian Ching for the equalizer just seconds later.
"I remember the feeling," Twellman said. "We haven't talked about it until this week. There's a reason it has been in our minds and guts and hearts. The only thing you can do is take the experience from it and figure it out.
"I don't think there is pressure. I think there is an anxiety here. We want to make sure we do what we do best - play solid defense, create chances and put one more goal away than Houston. That's all you can ask."
The attitude is more about execution to the final whistle and less about revenge for a title long lost.
"We're not looking at it as a revenge thing," New England coach Steve Nichol said. "We just want to go and do well."
Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis is prepared for some extra inspiration from the Revolution just in case.
"We expect New England to come out wanting revenge," he said. "We are ready for that."
The Dynamo allowed a league-low 23 goals this season, setting an MLS record by playing 727 consecutive shutout minutes.
Houston found success stressing a team concept rather than by trying to make deals for big name players such as the Los Angeles Galaxy did in signing England star midfielder David Beckham.
"In my own mind, every guy in our locker room is a big name player, but they just don't get the recognition or the credibility that a Beckham does," said Houston midfielder Dwayne De Rosario of Canada.
"But at the end of the day, they are playing for a championship. I would rather have a championship than a big name player."
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