FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Jay Heaps watches a lot of film. The New England Revolution head coach pores over footage again and again, analyzing each detail and extracting every bit of information he can to prepare his tactics and devise a game plan.
But in preparing for this weekend’s trip to RFK Stadium for an early-season rematch with D.C. United, Heaps had no plans to re-watch the Revolution’s 2-1 loss to United on April 14 at Gillette Stadium.
“I wasn’t going to, but I did,” Heaps admitted. “Just to kind of get a sense. I’ve already seen that game five or six times and I’m sure I’ll watch it again, so I can almost recite it back to you. There are times when you have to go back and because we played them so [recently], you just get an idea.”
Heaps will take what he can from the Revolution’s first meeting with United six weeks ago, but the first-year gaffer believes his time and energy will be better spent watching D.C.’s more recent matches against different opponents. That, Heaps says, will provide a more accurate gauge of the challenges United will present on Saturday night.
“You have to base it on the team that they are the last two, three weeks, not a month ago,” he said. “We watched their latest film. Teams can get tendencies, but those change over the season. I think that if you looked at our film from where we are now to the team that we were the second week (of the season), we’re a different team.
“I think teams evolve throughout the season,” Heaps added. “So there’s a little familiarity with the players, but at the same time, you have to go back and find those nuances that have changed over the last couple weeks.”
Something which hasn’t changed for D.C. in recent weeks is the results. Ben Olsen’s side has followed up a 0-2-0 start the season with a 7-2-3 run in the past 12 matches, climbing into second place in the Eastern Conference. United is unbeaten in its last seven home games (5-0-2) since a season-opening loss to Sporting Kansas City.
Heaps laments that the Revs contributed to their conference rival’s run of form in that April meeting – “I think we gave them some confidence,” he said – and he’ll hope to repay the favor on Saturday night at RFK Stadium. In that sense, Heaps does have reason to show his players footage of their loss to D.C.
“I think for motivation factor, the fact that it was our only home loss,” Heaps said. “You have to realize the importance of taking your points at home. So now when we go to a place that is a hard place to get points, we go in there with a mindset that if they came here and took from us, we should go there and take from them.”