FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Head coach Brad Friedel instilled a sense of daily competition for starting spots in his first year with the New England Revolution, and that clean slate mentality has carried through to his second season as each player is out to prove they have what it takes to be a part of the starting XI for Saturday's season opener against FC Dallas.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Diego Fagundez. “The competition in training is going to be fun [this year].
“Some people are not going to be happy because they’re not starting, but every weekend could be different. We want the competition and that’s what’s going to make this locker room a lot better.”
Seven new faces have joined the Revs’ roster so far for the 2019 campaign – including two forwards, four midfielders and one defender – and everyone has been trying to stand out on the pitch during preseason.
“It’s going to be difficult,” said forward Juan Agudelo, entering his sixth year in New England. “We definitely have a lot of quality in the attacking half, but then again, whoever shows it in the game and who’s able to keep a winning team on the field is who’s going to play, so it’s always going to be that competition.”
While there is this sense of competition in the air, the team realizes that it is only going to make the group collectively stronger.
“You just don’t know,” said Teal Bunbury with regards to who will be in the starting lineup. “There’s competition always in sport, and I think that’s the exciting part and I think that brings out the best in everybody.”
Not only does internal competition make the team better as a whole, but it also ensures that there is quality depth on the roster as everyone continues to give 100 percent in training.
“Knowing that just 11 players are on the field, that’s not just going to make a difference,” said Fagundez. “Now you can look back into our whole team, and know that if someone steps down, then someone else is going to step up into the game and know exactly what to do.”
Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. ET in Dallas on Saturday, when the Revs will open the season and reveal who has been named to the first starting XI of the new campaign.