Former Maryland soccer star and MAC Hermann Trophy winner Patrick Mullins had a rough first month in the MLS, but has since found his stride. Mullins was projected by some to be a top three pick in the MLS SuperDraft after leading Maryland to the NCAA National Championship game in his senior year. On draft day, however, Mullins ended up falling to eleventh overall to the New England Revolution.
Mullins started the first game of the season for the Revs against Houston, a 4-0 loss in which Mullins played the first half and was subbed out at halftime after only recording one shot. The next seven games, Mullins went unused as New England only gained 11 points out of a possible 21. The Revolution missed the playoffs last year, and while the season was still young they were facing the prospect of being outsiders looking in once again.
On May 3 against Toronto FC, Mullins re-entered the Revs starting line up. In the twenty fourth minute, Mullins scored his first career goal and put the Revs up 1-0. New England went on to win the game 2-1, and Mullins played the full 90; his first complete game and his first goal notched. Little did everyone know that the goal would spark the May of Mullins.
New England went on to score ten goals in their next two games, a 5-0 win over the Seattle Sounders and a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Union. Against Seattle, Mullins once again got the Revolution started, scoring in the fourteenth minute. With the score 4-1 against Philadelphia, Mullins scored his third career goal in the sixty-seventh minute to push the lead up to 5-1.
Many Maryland fans were hoping that DC United would have drafted Mullins. After a horrific season, DC United needed new life and grabbing a local player might have helped United to continue to build up their fan base in the DMV area. United passed on Mullins, and on May 24 he made them pay when he put New England up 1-0 with a fifty-fifth minute goal. New England would go on to the win the game 2-1, with Mullins playing another complete game. The Revolution closed out May with a 2-0 loss at Montreal. Mullins started and played the full ninety, but wasn’t able to break through with either of his two shots.
After a slow start to the season, New England has raced to the top of the MLS Eastern Conference after picking up twelve points out of a possible fifteen points in the month of May. Mullins played the full ninety in the five games that New England played. He registered four goals, thirteen shots with seven of them on target.
The MLS will still be in season during the World Cup, which should give New England and Mullins a lot of opportunities to put distance between themselves and second place DC United, and last years champions Sporting Kansas City (third place). New England plays the New York Red Bulls on June 8th in their next game. The Red Bulls will be without international players Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill due to World Cup conflicts (Henry is a BBC analyst and Cahill is on Team Australia). Mullins will be under the bright lights of the New York City stage as he squares off against Brandon Wright-Phillips who leads the MLS with eleven goals.