Conference Call: Heaps, Barnes & Simms

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jay Heaps: Last night, we were looking to get certain players some key minutes and we were able to do that. I think it was really a tale of two halves. It took us a little while to get what we were trying to do in the first half, just to get on the same page at the same time. But in the second half, we started to find answers and solutions and in the end it was two very good goals from Kelyn Rowe. But at the same time, those were team goals because there was a nice build up for each of them.

Two questions: talk about Kelyn Rowe’s performance so far and then does having a good season portend anything for the regular season?

Jay Heaps: In a preseason, results are important for the team morale because at this point, we’re really pushing hard toward the first game. When we talk about a good preseason, we’re not always talking about results, though. We’re talking about making sure we get the right amount of minutes to the right guys, making sure we’re monitoring body fatigue and things along those things. It’s also important for us to accomplish what we’re trying to do in training. You’ve got a lot of things you have to balance and in that regard, results are always good for morale, but at the same time there’s a lot of underlying what we’re trying to do.

In terms of Kelyn, he had two very good goals last night. I was thinking about it this morning when I was going through it, his first goal I love as a soccer coach. He’s coming in from the right side, he’s inside the six and he’s tapping it in and he’s our right midfielder. So I love the fact that he was forward, pushing high. The second goal I loved as a soccer fan because it was just a touch of class and he was able to bend it in the upper corner.

Can the players address how the team’s morale is and how preseason’s been so far?

Darrius Barnes: Preseason’s going really well. Coming into this preseason, it’s been a little different and we didn’t know what to expect coming in with a whole different chemistry and a whole different regime coming in with Jay (Heaps) and his new coaching staff. But I feel like it’s been second-to-none so far. We’ve been able to accomplish the things we’ve wanted to accomplish thus far and we’ve gotten some good results and the team’s gelling real well thus far into the preseason.

Clyde Simms: I agree. It’s been great so far. The results we’ve gotten have been important for confidence. With the season this team had last year, it’s easy to come in and play scared and play not to lose, and we need to have the attitude that no matter who we’re going up against, we can win the game and we’re playing to win. And that’s what we’ve done so far.

A group of players have played a lot of minutes in the first two games. Do you plan on doing anything different going into the last group game on Wednesday?

b Yeah, it’s been designed from the beginning. We wanted to get a lot of guys minutes Wednesday because it was our first time out, and last night was really what we were going for, 90 minutes. This Wednesday … those guys who got 90 this past Saturday will not play. And we’re going to go into Saturday so we want to get onto that Saturday/Saturday schedule that the season presents.

You’ve played Benny Feilhaber on the right and in the middle so far. Are you look at both going into the season depending on what opponent you play?

Jay Heaps: We’re always assessing the right chemistry in there. When you’re trying to get players on the field and you’re trying to get your best players on the field, sometimes you have to move formation and tweak it a bit. I think Benny (Feilhaber) has done a nice job wide out left because we’re giving him the freedom he needs offensively, and in return he has to give us that effort defensively, which he has.

Clyde, how has it been partnering with Shalrie Joseph in the middle?

Clyde Simms: It’s been great. I’ve been playing against Shalrie (Joseph) for a long time now and know some of his tendencies, but I’m still getting used to some others. But I think more importantly we’re able to free up Benny (Feilhaber) and Kelyn (Rowe) - both of us holding and freeing up that space for them to run in to, that’s where they’re most dangerous like you saw last night.

Darrius, how comfortable are you playing right back?

Darrius Barnes: It’s something I’m very comfortable at. My first three years at Duke University, I played right back, so it’s something I’ve had some experience at. Having some conversation with Jay early in the season, it’s something he wants me to focus on – to be cover for Kevin (Alston) – so it’s something I feel comfortable at, that I can definitely get better at and I’m going to continue to push myself to help myself and Kevin to become better and push this team to become better.

Jay, how do you judge where the defense is through the first two games of the season?

Jay Heaps: I want to answer that in two ways. When we talk about defense, we talk about our team defense, our team shape. There are moments where it’s really good, where we have good lines, we have good space in between the forwards, midfield, defenders, and when the other team has the ball we’re really in good passing lanes. Once in a while, we’ll get broken down. I went back and watched the game last night, up until two, three in the morning, and it showed. We were in good lines, and then all of a sudden after defending for 10, 15 seconds, we’ll just let one play sneak and that cost us. So once we start taking away some of those passing angles, we’ll be much better as a group.

The backline, we’ve worked really hard at it. I’ve been excited that they’ve taken to the challenge. I think Darrius (Barnes) and Steve (McCarthy) have shown that they’re are in – they’re buying in and they know how to play. John Lozano is still working his way in and starting to get the speed of the game because he had a little bit of a setback. When he first got here, he was flying and he had a little bit of an injury and now we’re getting him the minutes he needs to get full up to speed. And then A.J. (Soares) is at the same point. We’re trying to get him back at full speed.

Darrius, you’ve seen a lot of action the last two games. What are some of the adjustments you’ve had to make playing with different defenders this preseason?

Darrius Barnes: I don’t think it’s been too much of an adjustment this preseason. These past three seasons I’ve played, I’ve played with a number of different players and a number of different teammates. It’s something you have to adapt to being a professional and being in this league. There are going to be injuries and there are times when the coach sees you fit to play with somebody else, so you have to be able to adjust your attributes and pair them along with someone else’s

Clyde, you were on a team at D.C. for the past two years. Two years ago, D.C. finished near the bottom of the standings and came back last year to put together a decent season last year. Do you see any similarities between those teams and this year’s Revs team?

Clyde Simms: Yeah, definitely. With both teams, there’s a new coach, or a coach’s first year. They have a lot of new ideas, bringing in a lot of different players. There’s a lot of positive energy coming into preseason, which is great. I think that’s what you need after season like last season. All the guys realize how serious is it. You have a bad season, and guys you’ve played with for years are gone and you wake up and realize that this is our job and if we don’t get results and perform, you could be out of here. So I think some of the guys with New England have seen that this preseason and I think there’ll definitely be a turn-around this year.

Jay, what are you thinking about where Fernando (Cardenas) will fit in this year?

Jay Heaps: Fernando is starting to show that he likes to be the second forward, the underneath guy. I was pleased with some of his runs last night where he was able to get wide and in behind. He’s got a good work rate. You can play him a little bit in the midfield, but he’s offensive minded, so have to make sure where he’s getting the ball, he can turn and go at players. That’s where he’s at his best, where he can get space and get going at defenders.