LOS ANGELES – The New England Revolution will play all five of their preseason matches in the next two weeks, beginning on Monday afternoon when they’ll take on the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park (2 p.m. ET). The host Galaxy will provide a live stream, which will be embedded on revolutionsoccer.net and will be available to viewers in the LA and New England regions.
New England, which began preseason in Foxborough on January 18 and moved camp to LA on Thursday, spent the past three weeks training and playing a series of intra-squad scrimmages, but Monday’s meeting with the Galaxy provides their first chance to stack up against a different opponent.
“Everybody’s itching to get some minutes,” said goalkeeper Brad Knighton. “It’ll be a fun one (against the Galaxy) and we’re looking to get out there and move the ball around, instead of playing against ourselves like we have the last couple weeks.”
“I think the first bit of preseason’s been great,” added Scott Caldwell. “It’s been really good competition amongst ourselves, but guys are definitely excited to play other competition so we’re not kicking each other anymore – we’re getting out on the field and feeling what a 90-minute game is like.”
Because the Revs spent three full weeks training before playing their first match, they’ve already had an extended opportunity to build their fitness. Head coach Bruce Arena told the players before departing for LA that he wanted them all to be at least 45 minutes fit before playing the Galaxy.
Continuing to build that fitness will be a primary objective on Monday, while the game will also provide a critical opportunity for offseason arrivals like Adam Buksa, Alexander Büttner, Seth Sinovic, Kelyn Rowe, and Henry Kessler to play alongside their new teammates in a match situation for the first time.
“The guys coming in have brought a bite, brought an urge to the team that there maybe hadn’t been in recent years, and the guys that are coming back obviously know what we’re set up to do, and hopefully want to do, this season,” said Knighton. “The guys have come in and really, really grasped hold of that, and it’s shown in training day in and day out. We’re looking to continue that starting preseason games.”
Monday’s game will be the first of five in a 13-day stretch for the Revs, who’ll also take on the Colorado Rapids (Feb. 12), Minnesota United (Feb. 16), Vancouver Whitecaps (Feb. 19) and Portland Timbers (Feb. 22) before opening the regular season in Montreal on February 29.
Progression will be steady through those matches as the Revs build towards that opener.
“We were in such a good rhythm at the end of last season, (and after) three months off it’s tough to keep those feelings and just pick right back up where you left off,” said goalkeeper Matt Turner. “There’s probably going to be some growing pains, and we’re going to learn a lot about ourselves and each other in these next 13 days.
“I think the most important thing is that we stick together and just continue to trend upwards. If it’s not perfect in game one, don’t freak out. As long as things are trending upward to game two, game three, game four, game five, everything will be great by the time we get to Montreal.”