Patrick Mullins is the spark the New England Revolution have been looking for.
After a slow start to the season, New England is now in sole position of first place in the Eastern Conference. The rookie has scored four goals in as many games since coming into the starting lineup against Toronto FC last month.
Those performances have Mullins as an early candidate for Rookie of the Year, but the young forward says he's simply focusing on improvement.
"I believe in myself and as a forward you want to score in every game you come into," Mullins said of his mentality. "I think for me, I am focusing on become a complete player, not just one that gets the goals."
Mullins has created a new dynamic in the Revolution attack and become the type of striker the team has desperately needed. A distributor as well as a scorer, with four assists to go with his four goals, Mullins' quality in the final third has been the perfect finishing touch for a Revolution team full of young attacking talent.
“Obviously the goals are unbelievable," said fellow forward Teal Bunbury. "He’s scored in the past four games. But the things that people aren’t realizing for me, is his hold-up play, his movement. He’s just creating a lot of havoc for defenses which don’t go on the stats sheet.
"But, us players, we see that and that’s more important to us than the goal scoring. The goals will come, I mean, they’re coming for him now, but his movement, his hold-up play, just all-around play is really extraordinary.”
Mullins, Bunbury and Diego Fagundez - arguably the top teenage talent in MLS history - have formed one of the most lethal young front lines in the league, with Fagundez also praising his older rookie teammate and the way the Revs' attack is flowing.
“I think Mullins and I are working very well with each other – and you can even add Teal (Bunbury) in that," he said. "All three of us are working a lot better than in the beginning of the season.
"We are moving off the ball well and are making good runs. As long as we keep playing like this, more goals will come.”
That prediction seems likely. With 14 goals in the last four games, the Revs attack has sparked the team to the top of the Eastern Conference, and if Mullins keeps up his pace in front of goal, that's not likely to change any time soon.