Conference Call: Feb. 14
Can you talk about last night’s game?
Jay Heaps (JH): Last night’s game was another good test for us. We went into it, we wanted to split halves. We wanted guys to get 45 minutes of work. No one went more than that other than Tyler (Polak) in a fill-in role after Chris Tierney got injured. But going into it, it was another good test for us. I think it was the first time we’ve been able to play since Casa Grande. It was nice to get on the big field. We did some things well and there are things we need to continue to work on. Other than that, overall it was another good test for us this preseason.
Is there an update on Chris Tierney’s condition after he suffered the injury last night?
JH: Yeah. He has a severe ankle sprain.
That has to be disappointing for you especially in how the injury occurred.
JH: It’s disappointing to lose a guy like Chris (Tierney) because he was really starting to play well for us. He got the start last night and he earned the time. He was playing well for us, giving us width and putting good balls in the box. I thought the tackle itself was really mistimed, and unfortunately Chris got injured on it. And Chris is not a guy who goes down, so I really didn’t like that tackle much.
How are you approaching this season? What are the expectations and hopes going into this year?
JH: I think last year we were a little bit more in an identification process, an evaluation process at this time [in Tucson]. We had five, six guys on trial – even maybe more than that – guys that we were going to sign, guys we weren’t going to sign. But now I know we’re much closer to having our full roster and it’s important for us to get guys minutes and get guys used to playing in this league. We have a few international players that made their debut last night, and I would say for more than 45 minutes, and we have some young rookies who are getting good minutes in quality matches. I think that this is as close as you can replicate MLS games and the intensity is right there with it (inaudible) …
Bobby, you’ve seen a lot of time this preseason. What’s this year been like in preseason knowing the situation is a little different than it has been in years past?
Bobby Shuttleworth (BS): For me, nothing really changed in the off-season. Every off-season, I try to put in the work to put myself in a position if I’m called upon, I’m ready to play right away. Stepping more into this season more than others, I knew that I’m really trying to put in my say into being on the field: being chosen week-in and week-out, as opposed to just filling in here and there.
Last night, it looked like Osvaldo Alonso and maybe Clyde Simms could have been sent off last night following the incident in which Chris Tierney was injured. Was there an agreement in place that prevented that?
JH: Yes. Before the game, Sigi (Schmid) and I, with the referee, discussed that we didn’t want guys thrown out of the game because that would have been the worst thing in the first half to have to us play 10 versus 10 or 11 versus 10. We’re trying to work in games. We scheduled four games, they scheduled four games, to have a full game-like experience. We discussed it, and I had no issue with how it was handled. I didn’t want it to go to an unmatched situation. Unfortunately, I think what happened during that time was we were dealing with (Chris Tierney’s) injury, which was pretty severe to Chris, and then Clyde (Simms), unbeknownst to me, was asked to leave the field. They were asked … (Osvaldo) Alsonso was sitting down so their staff knew (Andy Rose) was going in. I never saw Clyde go to the bench, so for about two minutes there, we actually played 11 versus nine. We didn’t want to send in someone for Tierney’s replacement right away. We wanted Tyler (Polak) to get the ample warm-up and then I looked over and saw Clyde had been asked to leave so we were down two men for about two minutes … Hence more frustration.
Can you comment on what the team’s accomplished in its first three preseason games and what you’d like to accomplish in the last three games?
JH: Cohesion. Right now we’re still evaluating who’s going to be our starting 11, how we’re going to play. Not how we’re going to play, but what formation we’re going to play that gives us the best chance to win. I want to really give our new guys some time – guys like Jose (Goncalves), guys like Kalifa (Cisse), (Andy) Dorman, guys like Andrew Farrell, guys who are on trial like Donnie Smith; guys who are going to make impacts for us – but it’s important for us to use this time to determine who those guys are going to be. And now as we get closer to these last three games, you’re going to start to see guys play, get more than 45 minutes. It’s going to be 60 to 75 minutes per game. We’re going to start to try to put together the starting 11 that we feel is going to be best for us.
Can you talk about trialist Marko Jesic’s performance yesterday?
JH: Marko (Jesic) had a long flight to get here, coming from Australia. But Marko did a nice job for us. We asked him to go in there and cause havoc for us, play as a false “9” and a second forward and he did a nice job. He had a couple of chances to score and just missed his chances.
Andrew, can you talk about facing a player like Steve Zakuani yesterday, a guy with obvious speed. You did well to shut him down.
Andrew Farrell (AF): It’s a good challenge and you want to step up and play your best against one of the better players in the league. Before the game, I talked to A.J. (Soares) and all the veterans on the backline were saying just be aware of his pace and he’s a good player. So it wasn’t just me, but a lot of the defenders were helping me shut him down, and our defensive midfield. But obviously going everyday and training against some of the better players in the league on the Revolution has helped me prepare to play players like that.
JH: That is a great answer!
At this point from last year, you’re closer to have the full roster set. At this point in training camp, how close are you to determining your starting 11?
JH: I think guys are still battling. One of the things we wrote down and discussed and had the team realize, is that we’re a lot deeper than we were, and we have guys fighting for position. And we want to give that a fair fight. I think that we’ve given that about a month’s time and guys are starting to show. One or two guys are fighting it out, but we’re starting to put those pieces into place. The next two weeks are going to be vital for the cohesion and starting to get the guys on the same page in terms of how we attack, how we defend. We have core principles and that never changes, but when we finally get that 11 or 11 to 15 guys who’ll play regularly at the beginning of the season, we want to make sure we’re all on the same page.
What’s the advantage to bringing back the core from most of last season into preseason and bringing in the new guys to gel?
JH: It’s really important. Especially, we as a staff know these players well, and these players know us well. It’s vital in this league to have those relationships for teams to grow. I know that some teams want to go in and re-vamp their entire team and bring in DPs, but we’re built under a different model. For us to be strong and good, we have to have core players back every year and understand each other and know each other better than any other team in the league.
The Revs made the earliest additions in the league by adding Andy Dorman and Kalifa Cisse so early? How does that help the team when you bring in players even before preseason?
JH: I think it’s good for the individuals themselves to be prepared. I know for Dorman and Cisse, they were able to get their lives sorted, apartments, before the season even started. And that’s important; they like being settled.