Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Revs still have a couple of pieces to replace
by Ridge Mahoney, February 7th, 2014 3:36PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

TAGS:  mls, new england revolution


[MLS SPOTLIGHT] The positivism flowed Friday as Revs head coach Jay Heaps discussed the preseason to date on a conference call with reporters.

New England wrapped up a dozen days in Bradenton, Fla., Thursday by beating NASL club Ft. Lauderdale, 2-1, with goals by Dimitri Imbongo and Darrius Barnes. Though injuries have disrupted the training schedules for many players, including starters Saer Sene, Andrew Farrell and Chris Tierney as well as overall No. 4 draft pick Steve Neumann, Heaps gave the trip a favorable review.

Prior to playing the Strikers, the Revs tied, 1-1, in modified games against Philadelphia Union and Swedish club Malmo FF.

“Obviously you want to compete,” says Heaps, who took over from Steve Nicol for the 2012 season and last year guided the Revs to a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference. “We’ve played three games that were very beneficial, not only progressing the group but also seeing some players. We know where most of our guys are but we also want to add some new players to that group as well.”

Sitting out the Strikers game were Charlie Davies (calf), Diego Fagundez (concussion), Farrell (calf), Stephen McCarthy (groin), Neumann (ankle), Sene (ankle), and Tierney (foot). Five trialists and draft picks saw time against the Strikers and Heaps says he’s on the hunt for key elements.

“We’re actively searching for at least two pieces,” says Heaps, whose team lost in the Eastern Conference finals to eventual champion Sporting Kansas City. “We feel really good where we are but we want to be better. We’ve identified areas where we can get better and we’re going to continue to try to move along in those areas.”

The specter of former Revs striker Juan Agudelo has lingered during this preseason camp and his excellent goal earlier this week for FC Utrecht, for which is he is playing on loan from Stoke City, reminded Heaps of what will be missing in 2014. This preseason is also the first time in a long time that Heaps isn’t accompanied by veteran goalkeeper Matt Reis, who retired and is goalkeeper coach for the Galaxy.

“I’m really excited about where we are but we still have a couple of pieces to replace,” says Heaps, who played nine seasons (2001-09) with Reis and reached four MLS Cup finals. “You lose a guy like Matt Reis and his leadership and we feel we have a strong competition going on in goal right now between Bobby Shuttleworth and Brad Knighton.”

Agudelo scored seven goals in just 14 appearances following a trade from Chivas USA. First-round picks Patrick Mullins and Neumann are among those vying for those minutes.

“Up top, Juan Agudelo, you saw him scoring the other day and what kind of quality he had,” says Heaps, “and we have players who will have the opportunity to fill that, but at the same time we want to bring in competition there as well.”

He is being patient with Davies, who played only 23 minutes after arriving in August from Danish club Randers FC. Davies had trained with the Revs during the preseason last year, so Heaps has a bead on his personality as well as his ability. New England finished 14-11-9, were seventh in goals scored with 49, and played some scintillating stuff en route to goal, so Heaps wasn’t anxious to change up the attack.

“Last year when he joined us,” says Heaps, “every game we were going with the guys we knew really well and the guys who had performed for us for the better part of the season, so it was hard for him to get minutes. It was hard for me to give him minutes, to be honest with you, because we weren’t exactly sure what we were going to get on the Saturday.

“Now this is time for me is really important -- early part of the preseason, early part of the season -- for Charlie to show everyone -- to show the players, to show the team, to show the staff -- what he’s made of and how he can impact the team.”

Heaps also used the Florida trip to test out Farrell, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 SuperDraft, in different positions. During his college career he moved from midfielder to defender and while Heaps has kept him in the back line, he has moved Farrell around. As a rookie, Farrell started in all 32 of his regular-season appearances and played every minute of both playoff games.

“We knew when we selected him last year, his versatility was something that his coach, Ken Lolla at Louisville, expressed on numerous occasions,” says Heaps. “It’s something we saw a little bit last year in training but not as much on the field; he started every game at right back. But now that we have the opportunity to move him around a little bit we wanted to do that to see where his strengths lie.”

If there’s an overriding theme to this preseason, in addition to the usual precepts of fitness and team building, it’s the transformation from surprise team to serious contender. They needed a strong late-season surge -- four wins and two ties in the last six games – to reach the playoffs, from which they were eliminated, 4-3, on aggregate after leading SKC, 2-0, in the first game.

“We have a lot of respect for Kansas City and what they’ve done all the way around,” admits Heaps.” It’s a similar model. We have a great core group of younger players and American players that have experience in MLS now and we added the right internationals. We have a good blend, so yeah, I think we’re trying to have those expectations, because we feel we can get there if we do all the right things and all the hard work."

1 comment
  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: February 8, 2014 at 3:11 p.m.
    Nice of him not to mention that the difference between the Revs and KC was thuggery. Hopefully Jay doesn't aspire to emulating that aspect of their "game."

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Franz Beckenbauer    
"Carlos Alberto was like a brother to me, one of my best friends." -- Former German ...
MLS: Pending Barnetta exit adds incentive for Union    
Of the 12 playoff qualifiers, Philadelphia compiled the fewest points (42) and drew a daunting match ...
What They're Saying: Sacramento planning and design commissioner Cornelious Burke    
"This project in my opinion is a game changer." -- Sacramento planning and design commissioner Cornelious ...
USL Expansion: Tampa Bay and Ottawa leave NASL    
As the USL and MLS grow, the NASL shrinks. From its membership of 12 teams for ...
MLS Moves: Jahn's goals net him new contract in Columbus    
A rough season for Crew SC did yield some hope for the future, and as part ...
MLS Playoffs: Teams limp into Knockout Round    
Between them, the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake have made 11 MLS Cup appearances and ...
Video Pick: Carlos Alberto's wonder goal    
Carlos Alberto, who died at age 72 on Tuesday, scored one of the greatest World Cup ...
Video Pick: Sweet solo strike from Leipzig    
One of the reasons newly promoted RB Leipzig is only two points behind Bundesliga leader Bayern ...
U.S. Abroad: Big night for Americans in DFB Pokal    
Bobby Wood scored two goals for Hamburg, his first since the second week of the Bundesliga ...
Double DUII arrests add to Portland's nightmare week    
In the space of a week, the Portland Timbers, the 2015 MLS champions, failed to reach ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives