Conservation the key for Revs as grueling road trip looms
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A quick glance at New England's itinerary for the next three matches reveals a grueling physical test ahead over the next week and a half.
A spell of three matches in eight days will see the Revs visit New York on Saturday, return home for Wednesday's date with Colorado and depart the next day for a trip to Real Salt Lake to play at Rio Tinto Stadium next Saturday.
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Most MLS teams face a similarly congested stretch at some point during the season, but that fleeting solidarity doesn't diminish the magnitude of the task.
“It's not an easy stretch,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told MLSsoccer.com. “We go to New York, then we're home, then we're away again. We have to have the guys travel well and recover well. There are going to be a lot of guys playing minutes and earning them out here over the next week.”
The hectic slate will force the players to pay special attention to recovery and recuperation as they try to nurse their bodies throughout those eight days, according to Revolution left back Chris Tierney.
“We just have to be as smart as possible,” Tierney said. “We have to be professional, take care of our bodies and do whatever we can do to make sure we're as fresh as possible for each game. The good news is that we have a deeper squad than we've had here in a long time. It'll give a bunch of different players chances to prove their value to the team.”
Heaps said he isn't sure whether he'll follow the typical squad rotation path or try to emulate Sporting Kansas City's recent attempts to keep its starting XI together through a condensed series of fixtures. The circumstances will dictate the approach, according to the Revolution boss.
“The philosophy is a little bit of wait and see,” Heaps said. “We draw it out. We have an idea of what we want to do, the number of minutes and how we want to spread them. But, with that said, things can happen and things can change. As a staff, we have it mapped out how we'd like it to go. But that doesn't mean it's always going to go that way.”
If there is a silver lining to this busy period and the uncertainty associated with it, it is that the Revs enter it after enjoying a bye last weekend. Revolution defender A.J. Soares said he and his teammates will tackle this trio of games with fresh legs as they seek to overcome the demands placed upon them and snatch a first win in three attempts at New York on Saturday.
“We had a nice two weeks off without a game, so we really rested hard and worked really hard to get our fitness level up for this stretch,” Soares said. “It's just part of it. You see these teams in the Champions League in Europe who are playing two games a week, every week. Looking at that, I don't feel bad for us at all. Not to mention, we're playing some good teams, so it should be fun.”
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