Revs feeling fine about first half

Even record-breakers need to take a breath halfway through the season.

After a frenetic and successful first half of the season, New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol takes pride in his side's torrid start and current front-running status.

"We can't be disappointed [with the first half of the season]," said Nicol. "We've reached the break with 36 points. Most teams would be happy enough to be in our position."

Most teams do not possess a distinct historical aversion to success.

In nine previous seasons, the Revolution mustered 36 or more points at the end of the season only four times. This is the first time the Revs have topped the MLS table at the All-Star break.

How does Nicol explain this renaissance that should see his side demolish all previous team records by the end of the season?

"We have good players with ability," said Nicol. "We have heart. The guys take pride in what they do on Saturday and during the week. If you put it all together, that's why we started so well."

Defensive midfielder Shalrie Joseph admits that he does enjoy the view.

"It does feel good being at the top," said Joseph. "We need to build momentum and keep winning."

To keep that momentum, Joseph's colleagues must get healthy and rested to mount a second half charge.

The break is short for the Revolution. Clint Dempsey, Shalrie Joseph, Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan and Matt Reis were originally selected for the All-Star game on Saturday. Noonan is not scheduled to feature due to injury, but rookie defender Michael Parkhurst will take his place.

While league play does not resume until next Saturday's home encounter with Kansas City, the Revolution faces Chicago in a U.S. Open Cup fourth round tie on Wednesday at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Mass.

"We have the Open Cup on Wednesday, so it's really only four days," said Jay Heaps. "It's a good break for us. We can see our families. Hopefully, it'll give us fresh legs and a fresh mind."

Nicol admits that different surroundings will help his side refocus for the task ahead.

"It'll be good to get away from each other for a few days," said Nicol. "We've been together for four or five months now. We need a change of scenery and a few days to chill."

With relaxation comes focus, and Reis realizes that first half success does not automatically translate to MLS Cup glory.

"All in all, everyone has to be happy," said Reis. "[But] the first half really doesn't matter. We need to put it behind us."

Kyle McCarthy is a contirbutor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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