FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For all intents and purposes, 2013 preseason preparations are underway in Foxborough.
Just four days after closing the 2012 campaign with a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact, the New England Revolution returned to the training field on Wednesday morning as the club begins two-and-a-half weeks of postseason training. These next few weeks won’t be treated as an end to 2012, but rather a beginning to 2013.
“[Coming into Montreal] I was just looking at this game; I wasn’t looking forward,” center back A.J. Soares said after scoring the game-winning goal at Stade Saputo. “Now I’m getting ready for next season. That’s what I’m thinking of now. I’ll try to do everything I can in this little interval here to make this team better next year. I’m excited to be part of this group.”
While the Revs now consider 2012 to be in the rearview mirror, they’ll continue to extract what they can from the season as they look to build upon the foundation laid throughout the year. Although the club was left disappointed by its failure to reach the playoffs, positive steps were taken as first-year head coach Jay Heaps revamped the roster and guided the Revolution to improved totals in wins (9), points (35), goals against (44) and goal differential (-5).
Those steps forward were evident in recent weeks as the Revs finished the schedule with back-to-back shutout victories, including an impressive triumph over the playoff-bound Chicago Fire. While those six points came too late to prevent the Revolution’s postseason fate, the pair of wins will serve as confidence builders as the club shifts its attention to the future.
“We had a talk [last] week just saying this season didn’t go exactly how we had hoped, but results like this matter in terms of momentum going into training for the rest of the year and going into next year,” said Chris Tierney. “It feels good to end on a positive. It’ll give us a little bit more motivation, help us show up and work hard in these next couple weeks that we have training.
“Bottom line is we just have to continue to get better as individuals and as a team. We’re going to keep working hard and try to keep improving.”
One way every club looks to improve in the offseason is by strengthening the roster, a task the Revolution’s technical staff will begin to undertake immediately. Postseason training provides a chance for current players to maintain fitness levels and begin working toward next season, but it also presents an opportunity for Heaps and his staff to bring others into camp as they evaluate talent and look to make additions ahead of 2013.
“We have a few weeks of training and the discovery window [will open soon], so we can start really looking at players,” said Heaps. “We like a lot of what we have, but we need to strengthen in a couple areas. A couple of those pieces hopefully will fall into place and then maybe you can start getting into areas where you want to add as opposed to need to add.”