TUCSON, Ariz. – Two training sessions and two games. That is essentially what remains of the New England Revolution’s 2014 preseason.
There will be more training sessions next week, of course, but by that point the Revs will be locked in on the March 8 season opener against the Houston Dynamo. They’ll be preparing for a specific opponent and working with a defined group of starters as they kick off the 34-game regular season schedule.
That means these final four days in Tucson, Ariz., will start to wrap up what’s been more than a month’s worth of work since the players first reported in late January.
“We’re still evaluating a couple players here and there, and we’re also preparing ourselves for final spots for what the [starting lineup] is going to look like,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “It’s the final week of preseason, but it’s with a mindset that we’re a lot closer to the opening day.”
In addition to training sessions on Thursday and Friday, the Revs also have a pair of games remaining in the Desert Diamond Cup on Wednesday and Saturday. They’ll take on the Chicago Fire at 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday (streaming live on revolutionsoccer.net and MLSsoccer.com) before closing out their stay in Arizona in a placement game on Saturday afternoon.
Heaps plans to rotate minutes through those final two matches. The group which only played 30 minutes in last Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Chivas USA will play “a majority of the minutes” against Chicago, while the group which started against Chivas USA will then see more minutes in Saturday’s placement game.
“We don’t want to overkill everyone with minutes in a game,” said Heaps. “We still want to make sure we have quality training sessions. That’s why the minutes are limited in the game, so that we can push the players even more on the next day.”