Montreal trip offers benchmark for Revs' long-term hopes

Jay Heaps (MTL - NE)

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England isn't one of the 10 teams preparing for the impending postseason. That fact doesn't preclude the Revs from preparing for a postseason somewhere down the line.

Case in point: the approach to the season-ending trip to Montreal (2 pm ET, watch LIVE online) on Saturday afternoon. The match presents exactly the type of scenario – hostile environment, unusual kickoff time – that might crop up during a playoff campaign.

Revolution coach Jay Heaps said he wants his players to treat this game as a way to gain experience if a similar situation occurs next season.

“With it being a 2 pm kickoff and it being on the road, it's a little bit of a different way to end the year,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com. “These are the circumstances [you are discussing] when you're talking about gaining maturity and gaining experience. This is the kind of [situation] that could be a playoff scenario next year. Guys have to understand that a 2 pm kickoff away could be how you kick off a home-and-away series.”

The postseason similarities also extend to the imposing atmosphere at Stade Saputo. A midweek trip in July ended with a 2-1 defeat (one of two Sanna Nyassi-inspired setbacks this year) and the Impact posted one of the league's better records at home during its expansion season (10-3-3).

“It's going to be a tough game,” Revolution defender Chris Tierney said. “Montreal's a good team, especially at home. We had a tough game there earlier in the year. But, then again, we were in that game. Hopefully, we think we can keep improving and we can keep getting better. It'd be a good way to finish up the season with a positive result. Although we're not playing for anything, momentum and results at the end of this year will carry over to next year.”

New England may have to grapple with the challenges ahead in Quebec without Stephen McCarthy, Clyde Simms and Juan Toja. McCarthy (concussive-like symptoms) and Toja (patella femoral pain) are both rated as doubtful for the clash, according to the club injury report released on Friday. Simms (right quadriceps strain) is listed as questionable.