FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Friday morning’s training session at the Dana-Farber Field House kicked off an important transitional period for the New England Revolution as the club bridges the gap between a pair of preseason trips to Arizona.
The club’s recent 10-day stay in Casa Grande – at the isolated Grande Sports World complex – was a beginning. Fitness was the primary focus on the field, but just as important was the team building off it. Next weekend the Revs will return to the Grand Canyon State for a 16-day trip to Tucson, where the focus will shift to game preparation and tactics as they inch closer to the season opener on March 9.
Currently between those trips, the Revs will train in Foxborough for the next seven days, during which time they’ll methodically work their way from fitness-based workouts to tactical-based training sessions.
“It’s the start of the transition from just getting our feet under us and getting our fitness, to moving into starting to talk about our system, how we want to play, certain situations on the field and how we’re going to deal with them,” Chris Tierney said after Friday’s two-and-a-half-hour session. “That started today.”
Before taking the field for training this morning, the Revs analyzed some of the game tape from their recent scrimmage against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Lessons were learned and adjustments were made as the players then looked to apply those lessons on the training field.
For the coaches, evaluation will be a key component of the next week. Head coach Jay Heaps and his staff will continue to analyze those unsigned players in camp – including draftees and trialists – but the same attention must be paid to those players already on the roster. Strengths and weaknesses must be identified so the team can move forward, shaping its formation around the talent available.
“I’m a big believer that formations come from your talent level and what you’re going to do on the pitch,” said Heaps. “Style of play is something we’ve ingrained from day one, but the actual formation is going to be [determined by] which players we have to choose from and finding our strengths and weaknesses. That’s a lot of what the next seven or eight days are going to be: long sessions derived toward looking for those relationships and starting to build our formation.”