FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The bitter taste of last Saturday's 3-0 defeat in Seattle still lingers for the New England Revolution.
While the Revs will have to wait until June 27 to work out those frustrations in MLS play, they will have the opportunity to take the field against Brazilian giants Cruzeiro on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
Revolution assistant coach Stephen Myles said the players have responded well in training this week as they prepare for the friendly.
“Sometimes, it's difficult when you come back from a result like that in Seattle,” Myles said. “It's like falling off a bike. The first thing you want to do is get back on and have another go to put things right. These lads have that kind of determination.”
New England midfielder Pat Phelan said he and his teammates spent the week focusing on developing as a team with the recent injections of Shalrie Joseph and Steve Ralston back into the group.
“The focus this week is just an attitude adjustment in terms of our sharpness,” Phelan said. “We're doing things more and better as a group than we've been doing over the past couple of weeks. It's a good opportunity to take that into a game situation, which is good. It's what we need. The game doesn't count, so we have an opportunity to get some other guys on the field, incorporate Shalrie back into the mix and help Rally get his fitness back.”
Ralston is one of two veteran Revs expected to make his season debut against Cruzeiro. New England goalkeeper Matt Reis will also see playing time as he continues to work his way back from left knee and left shoulder surgeries during the offseason.
While Ralston and Reis will use the game to gain match practice and other players may see less time as they try recover from a grueling start to the season, Myles said he hopes all of the members of the squad see the match as an opportunity to learn a few things before the second half of the season begins.
“In terms of our fellas, it's great for the soccer education,” Myles said. “It's just like a manager or a coach. If you're working in different countries, you're picking up different ideas. I would hope that our lads are smart enough to see the way they do things and try to take the best bits of that and take them into our league.”