Revolution loanees playing key roles as Rochester Rhinos open season

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When the New England Revolution revealed which four players would be sent on long-term loan to the affiliate Rochester Rhinos (USL PRO), head coach Jay Heaps said the primary motivation was to get those players game action they wouldn’t have received in Foxborough.

In that respect, early returns on the affiliation have been promising as Bilal Duckett, Matt Horth, Gabe Latigue and Tyler Polak have all played significant minutes in the Rhinos’ first four games. Duckett leads the group with 271 minutes played, while Latigue (246), Polak (211) and Horth (152) have also been key figures.

“It feels great, honestly,” said Polak, who made one 30-minute appearance in his rookie season with the Revolution. “It’s been awhile. Getting actual full 90 minutes, starting and playing the whole time, it’s good.”

Rochester has struggled in the results department – suffering three losses and securing a 0-0 draw in four road games – but from the Revolution’s perspective, those games remain beneficial for player development.

Polak admits there’s been a transition period for the Revolution’s four on-loan players, who had just two weeks to adjust to new teammates and a new city before the season began. But the group has gradually settled into its surroundings and is now focusing on grasping the opportunity.

“Clearly, you want to be in MLS playing for the Revs, but you’re here now and you’ve got to make the most of it,” Polak said. “You’ve got to have the right attitude going in or else you’re not going to get anything out if it.”

Polak has featured primarily at his customary left back with Rochester, but has also made the occasional appearance at left midfield, a position he hadn’t played since his youth days. Considered an attacking left back, the 20-year-old revealed he actually prefers the freedom to push forward with more frequency.

Regardless of where Polak and his fellow Revolution loanees play, time on the field is the most important benefit of their stint in Rochester as the group continues to develop with an eye toward the future.

“It’s a good opportunity to get some games and get some experience so if we do get called back up, we’re ready to play,” said Polak.