Conference Call: Casa Grande wrap-up

Head coach Jay Heaps fields questions from the media as the team heads back to New England

On the team’s time in Casa Grande and what he was looking for during the trip…

Jay Heaps (JH): This first part we are in Casa Grande and there’s really not a ton to do outside of the game, which is really good because it’s a great focus for the things we want to do tactically and the things we want to do as a group. We’re here pretty much for eight days and we want to have as many sessions as we can and have the group together as long as we can and really just start to understand each other a little bit, with the main premise being fitness – getting ourselves up to speed where we need to be going forward. The small steps we are taking – I think we want to integrate international players we brought in in (Kalifa) Cisse and Jose Goncalves and Andy Dorman, along with other players, Andrew Farrell and some of our other draft picks. It’s about fitness and getting to know each other from a soccer standpoint; what the tendencies are, how we’re going to play this year and then use that to build this style and the play we really want to use going forward.

On the next stage of preseason…

JH: The next stage is a continuation and I think we go home for about seven or eight days and we’re going to continue to grind out besides conditioning and fitness, that aspect of where we need to get better at in terms of going forward. Every week we want to push a little more. This week we’ll push more and then we will go to Tucson in eight days and that’s another important trip for us because that’s four more games at the MLS level that will really prepare us for opening day.

On Luis Soffner’s performance in last night’s game…

JH: He’s another player that we wanted to get in here to see where he was, and he’s a great kid and he works hard and he comes from an excellent pedigree in Indiana with a championship. Our coaching staff and our goalkeeper coach Remi Roy really did put in the goalies to test and there’s a good competition there. Luis, fortunately, got his first action last night and came up big and had a nice save and almost saved a penalty kick. But he did a nice job commanding the back line, which is a good first step for a rookie goalkeeper.

On Andrew Farrell’s season expectations:

JH: I think he’s acclimating well and he’s so good with the ball. I think his strength is that he can play out of the back, at either right back or center back, and he’s got really good vision. He finds that ball into the midfield and forward which we really like, someone with that ability. Now it’s just really getting him up to speed with the physicality of the MLS. It really is a jump from college to the pro game and certainly in the athletic department. He can compete and do all that; it’s just a matter of getting him to up to speed, knowing how to compete day in and day out with bigger and better athletes.