BRADENTON, Fla. – Entering stoppage time of Thursday afternoon’s scrimmage against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) at IMG Academy, it looked as if the New England Revolution was destined for a third consecutive 1-1 draw to open the 2014 preseason slate.
But there was some late drama – as far as drama goes in preseason scrimmages – when Darrius Barnes ran onto A.J. Soares’ flick from Kelyn Rowe’s corner kick to bag the tiebreaking goal and end the Revolution’s 12-day stay in Bradenton on a winning note.
“It was a good game to get a result, get a win,” said Barnes, who was one of two Revs players – along with unsigned training camp participant Jossimar Sanchez – to play the full 90 minutes. “We struggled a little bit early on to find the game, but as the game went on we started to find a rhythm, started to find our flow and started to ping the ball around a little bit. It helped move the ball around, helped get them a little bit tired and fortunately we were able to get the winner at the end.”
There will come a time in the not-too-distant future when results will be what truly matters, but at this point in preseason, it’s still near the bottom of the priority list. Head coach Jay Heaps has instead kept his focus in the early going on building fitness, integrating the newest players and assessing trialists in the continued quest for attacking reinforcements.
To that end, Heaps believes the Revs have progressed steadily through the first portion of camp, as he now turns his attention to next week’s return to Foxborough. The Revs will train indoors at the Dana-Farber Field House Monday thru Friday next week before Saturday’s departure for Tucson, Ariz., where they’ll participate in the Desert Diamond Cup for a third straight year.
“For me, it’s another important week,” Heaps said. “We’re going to have to do things a little bit more on the tactical side because we’re going to be in smaller numbers, it’ll be smaller inside and things just have to be sharp and short. We’ll get through that week to then go outside and play in Arizona.”