LOS ANGELES – With each passing day the New England Revolution inches one step closer to the start of the 2022 campaign, now less than two weeks away.
The Revs are preparing under the California sun for their first game in the 2022 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 against Cavaly A.S. on February 15 at Gillette Stadium, with the second leg on February 22. A short four days after, the regular season will begin on February 26 at the Portland Timbers.
New England is taking full advantage of their time in Los Angeles to truly ramp up their fitness ahead of their quickly approaching competitions.
“[Their fitness] is getting better,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “Obviously, every week it improves. The way to really get team fitness is to play games so you know we'll have the practice games here and then obviously, the CCL games.”
New England has already played one of their two preseason friendlies. Last weekend on Saturday, Jan. 29, the Revs finished in a 1-1 draw against LAFC with the goal scored by Adam Buksa, as the striker tapped in a rebound off a shot by Gustavo Bou. New England utilized 22 different players during the match, spreading the opportunity to get game minutes in efforts to sharpen their fitness.
New England will compete in a second friendly match on Saturday, Feb. 5, at the LA Galaxy to sharpen their tactics.
While this pair of preseason primers is beneficial for the group, Arena expects the squad’s fitness to continue to build into the start of the regular season.
“As we all know in the beginning of seasons, teams aren't real sharp in terms of their fitness, their coordination, all those things,” said Arena. "That's probably not going to change in 2022 as well, but we are making progress and typically by the second or third month of the season, we can see that our teams usually are fully fit.”
While it takes training and games to build endurance and full fitness, the short offseason for the group actually has some benefits in their 2022 campaign prep.
“It’s a little different, little bit shorter break, so I think guys kept up their fitness in the offseason just because there was a short turnaround,” said veteran Brad Knighton. “Guys came in fit and sharp and ready to go, and know what’s at stake, this test coming up before we start the regular season.
“I think guys came in chomping at the bit and working to lay the groundwork, and [ready to] build off what we did last year.”
With only 10 days from their second preseason friendly to the start of CCL, and just 21 days until the start of the MLS regular season, the Revs will look to do this quickly.
“It’s different, obviously, but we take it day by day,” said Arnór Traustason. “There’s nothing more we can do. You’re here today, we’re trying to build on everything we want to be, want to have done here in the preseason.
“We cannot be thinking too far ahead. We take it day by day and build on that.”
The Revs will compete in their next friendly match on Saturday, Feb. 5, against the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park at 10:30 p.m. ET. This match will be streamed on http://www.revolutionsoccer.net, however, it will only be available to the Revolution broadcast area.