TUCSON, Ariz. – The New England Revolution didn’t end its preseason by hoisting the Desert Diamond Cup trophy after falling in a penalty shootout to the LA Galaxy in Saturday night’s championship match, but that doesn’t make the club’s accomplishments in recent weeks any less meaningful.
The Revs officially went 3-0-1 in the tournament and claimed a trio of victories over the Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake in the group stage, while the club continued to show signs of progression in the final, which finished 0-0 after 90 minutes.
“I thought we did a lot of good things,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “We were dangerous at times. We didn’t always connect on that final ball, obviously, and a couple times if we’d made the right pass I thought we’d have had clear-cut chances. But in the end, it was good competition. When it comes down to penalties, it’s anyone’s game.”
“I think we did a lot of good stuff in terms of moving the ball and creating chances,” said Shalrie Joseph. “We were just unlucky that we weren’t able to put one in the back of the net in the 90 minutes. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Tonight we definitely think we did a great job developing as a team and getting our unit together.”
Saturday night’s championship match rounded out the Revolution’s two-week stay in Tucson, where the club got its first taste of MLS opposition after battling FC Tucson (PDL) and Boston College in its first three preseason games. Having seen his side tangle with some of the league’s top teams, Heaps was pleased with the way the Revs rose to the challenge.
“We showed that at times we can play, but when we can’t, we have to make sure we know how to fight,” he said. “By being undefeated in this tournament, you show some character, you show some resolve and you show some fight. Those were things, day one, we wanted to make sure the guys know that’s important to us as a staff and they came out and showed that.”
The Revs will hope to show a similar resolve throughout the regular season, which kicks off next weekend against the San Jose Earthquakes. After a brief return to New England, the Revs will depart for the West Coast on Wednesday afternoon and begin final preparations for Saturday night’s visit to Buck Shaw Stadium.
With almost two months of preseason training in the books, the opening whistle can’t come soon enough.
“I think everybody’s chomping at the bit just to start the season,” said Joseph. “Even though it’s on the road, it’s going to feel good just getting out there, start playing and start our regular season.”