MLS 2018: Friedel is preaching fitness as a key to Revs' revival

Just about every head coach or manager who takes over a struggling team plays the fitness card sooner or later, and new Revs’ boss Brad Friedel has already tossed it onto the table.

When a team can’t get results, focus and determination drop, and so do energy and intensity. When a manager or head coach takes over, heavy conditioning is usually imposed.

Last year the Revs conceded 36 of their 61 goals-allowed in the second half. Only San Jose (40) and Minnesota United (37) gave up more after halftime. New England was not a good second-half team for many reasons yet fitness certainly played a part. Goal difference was plus 2 in the first half, and then minus 10.

“I think being fit -- being one of the most fit teams in the league -- is going to help us a lot,” Andrew Farrell told RevolutionSoccer.net this week as the Revs prepared for their final preseason game Saturday against Houston. “With the quality we have up top and defensively we’ve gotten a lot better. With our goalkeepers and our back four and our midfielders to the front, with being fit, we’re going to do really well and get a lot of good results.”

Kelyn Rowe notched the winning goal Wednesday in a 2-1 defeat of Sporting Kansas City, and Juan Agudelo and Krisztian Nemeth, who had sat out all five previous games during preseason because of injuries, each played about 30 minutes as second-half subs.

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“They look fit, and their movements were all very good,” Friedel said of Agudelo and Nemeth, who played together up top at times, with Nemeth underneath. “I don’t think we’re going to have any -- well, knock on wood – any recurrence of the injuries. We were very, very pleased with seeing them get 30 minutes coming out unscathed, and with their overall effort in the game.”

The preseason has been one of catchup for Nemeth and Agudelo. Nemeth came back to MLS last August and saw his first action under Friedel against the team for which he scored 11 goals in 2015. Agudelo has played 101 games and scored 41 goals for the Revs (including playoffs) during his two stints (2013; 2015-present) but like all of his teammates, he’s learning from a new head coach.

“It’s a new system, a new rhythm, so I was just trying to get into it,” said Agudelo. “That’s what I’ve been doing; just rehabbing, battling to try to get back and to try to build that chemistry that everybody that’s healthy has been building during this preseason."

New England Revolution:
IN: Isaac Angking (Homegrown signing), Gabriel Somi (Ostersunds FK/SWE), Wilfried Zahibo (Gimnastic de Tarragona/ESP, free), Cristian Penilla (Pachuca/MEX, loan), Jalil Anibaba (Houston Dynamo, free), Nicolas Samayoa (FGCU, SuperDraft), Brandon Bye (Western Michigan Univ., SuperDraft), Mark Segbers (Univ. of Wisconsin, SuperDraft).
OUT: Xavier Kouassi, Donnie Smith, Josh Smith, Je-Vaughn Watson, London Woodberry (Nashville SC), Daigo Kobayashi, Kei Kamara (Vancouver Whitecaps, trade), Benjamin Angoua (Guingamp/FRA, loan expired), Gershon Koffie (Hammarby/SWE, loan expired).
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2018 Roster:

Goalkeeper: Cody Cropper, Brad Knighton, Matt Turner.
Defenders: Jalil Anibaba, Brandon Bye, Antonio Delamea, Claude Dielna, Andrew Farrell, Nicolas Samayoa, Mark Segbers, Gabriel Somi, Chris Tierney,
Midfielders: Isaac Angking, Scott Caldwell, Diego Fagundez, Zachary Herivaux, Lee Nguyen, Cristian Penilla, Kelyn Rowe, Wilfried Zahibo.
Forwards: Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Femi Hollinger-Janzen, Krisztian Nemeth, Brian Wright.

3 comments about "MLS 2018: Friedel is preaching fitness as a key to Revs' revival".
  1. R2 Dad, February 23, 2018 at 8:25 p.m.

    This is a quick fix, but perhaps not the correct one. It's possible the players aren't mentally sharp, or have low soccer IQs, that no amount of running will compensate for.

  2. frank schoon replied, February 24, 2018 at 10:45 a.m.

    Friedel might be right about players not being in condition enough, but that is difficult to believe because the American game is all about running, like Pirlo once stated. If I were the owner of this team I would never hire a coach who was a former goalie, no way! How many teams will you find in Europe that is coached by a former goalie. A goalie is by nature an organizer type, a defensive not a creative type. His position does not lend in knowing how field player really play or think. This is why a goalie gets seperate training by a special goalie coach. You'll will never see Ajax, Barcelona, Man Utd, Bayern coached by a former goalie....I think NE Revolution need to go back to the drawing board as far as selecting a coach.

  3. beautiful game, February 25, 2018 at 12:57 p.m.

    R2Dad, unfortunately your comment has no interest for most coaches and certain team owners. Surprisingly, Friedel who spent most of his career in top flight English football seems to have a preference for the physical aspect instead of the technical focus...too few teams in the MLS have the ability to possess and play with purpose. As Frank S. stated, keepers as coaches is a management decision in futility.

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