FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It’s been a little more than four months since the New England Revolution last played an official MLS regular season game, but on Saturday (3 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Boston), the wait will finally be over.
After six weeks of preseason training, the Revs are making final preparations in Foxborough before they ship up to Montreal to open the 2020 campaign.
“It feels good to be back in Boston,” said goalkeeper Matt Turner, who spent a month on the road with the U.S. National Team before joining the Revs for preseason in LA and Portland. “The weather’s been kind to us, so it’s nice to be back and [I’m] getting the butterflies for the first real game week of the season.”
Preseason was a fundamentally crucial development period for this squad. It allowed seven new faces – Adam Buksa, Alexander Büttner, Henry Kessler, Seth Sinovic, Kelyn Rowe, Damian Rivera, and Jeff Caldwell – to integrate into the team, and in turn, enabled familiar faces to get to know them, as well.
“The six weeks were very important,” said Buksa. “I got to know all the players, all the coaches, so I’m in a good spot right now.
“Now is the time for competing. I think we’re ready. We’re ready to face the upcoming opponents and we hope to win these first games, because it’s very important for the rest of the season, for building up the self-confidence. We’re ready and we can’t wait to start playing already.”
Gustavo Bou, who joined the team midseason last year, conveyed a similar message via translator.
“Some of us weren’t here with us at the end of last year, but again, that’s what the preseason is about,” said Bou. “We’re all just kind of learning each other and gaining that chemistry that you need to be a good team. Hopefully (on) Saturday it all comes together and we find the back of the net.”
While this may have been the first preseason for several squad members, even veterans such as Teal Bunbury - entering his 11th MLS season - noticed something different with this group.
“I think we have a great mindset,” said Bunbury. “I think this preseason has been one of the best that I’ve been a part of. It’s a tight-knit group and we’re excited for the season to start."
The team made a big effort during preseason to not only get to know each other on the field, but when they stepped off it, as well.
“[We did] a lot of things together – meals together, playing games together – things like that help us bond as a unit,” said Bunbury. “I think that’s really important. Not to mention, trainings have been spirited, super competitive. We have a lot of depth on this team and I think that brings the best out of everybody.”
The team is ready to put their preseason training to the test in their season opener on Saturday, as they start the year with an Eastern Conference showdown against the Montreal Impact.
“We know that it’s important to get started strong – start with a win,” said Bou. “That’s huge for us building our confidence. Our goal is to come back here with a win and three points.”
New England will look to accomplish that task as they open their regular season slate at Montreal on Saturday at 3 p.m.