Revs hope to solve road woes at K.C.

July, 21, 2012
7/21/12
4:24
AM ET
In Jay Heaps' view, two words sum up what he's expecting for Saturday's clash against Sporting Kansas City: hot and hostile.

With temperatures expected to break 100 degrees and a raucous crowd arriving at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, the Revolution head coach knows his squad simply can't afford to make many mistakes.

"We have to be near perfect in how we play," Heaps said via conference call on Friday. "That's where we harp on no mistakes (and) we harp on the key matchups."

While the heat and environment are out of their control, Heaps cited one factor he and his squad can control: matchups. That, of course, is easier said than done.

With the likes of Kei Kamara and C.J. Sapong -- who've scored a combined 12 goals so far -- lurking near the New England net, the challenge for the seventh-place Revolution on Saturday is pretty obvious going up against the conference kings on their home soil.

"We're going to have to defend really well," Heaps said. "Every man is going to have to put that extra effort in."

Effort is one thing. Execution is another.

Although their effort has never been in question, the Revolution's inability to capitalize on chances has all but anchored them to the lower half of the conference.

And if there's one player who's anxious to cut down on the missed opportunities, it's none other than the playmaker himself -- Benny Feilhaber.

Despite being cast in a number of different roles in the midfield -- most recently, he found himself in Heaps' starting lineup in one of the defensive midfield slots -- the technically talented 27-year-old knows what he has to do to shed a recent bout of uninspiring performances.

"I just have to make sure I get that ball off the back and complete solid passes to kind of get the attack going," Feilhaber said via conference call on Friday. "I think that's one of the things I need to do better and I know I can."

If there's one thing the Revolution won't be lacking on Saturday, it's confidence. Sure, their road record is a look-the-other-way 1-7-1. And yes, they may be coming off a forgettable 2-1 loss to the expansion Impact.

But even with those numbers in the background, Feilhaber doesn't believe that there's a mental block that's affecting the team's play on the road.

In fact, Feilhaber believes that he and his teammates approach every road game with excitement. They're excited to send the home crowd to the exits unhappy.

"It feels like when we go into away games, we're almost kind of hyped up for it," Feilhaber said. "Because we know it's points that are up for grabs to steal."

Points are becoming a greater premium as the season progresses, and Feilhaber knows it. With the team six points outside of the playoff picture, he's aware that the Revs have to step it up on the road to harbor any hopes of ascending the standings.

"We haven't been able to produce away from home," Feilhaber said. "And that's something that has to change if we're looking to make the playoffs."

As for Heaps, he's not looking at the playoffs just yet. Instead, he's taking it one game at a time. And with Saturday's contest against the conference leaders, Heaps believes that Saturday's David vs. Goliath battle will provide an accurate glimpse of how his team stacks up against the best team in the East.

"It's a great time for a great test, to see what we're made of," Heaps said. "We have a quick turnaround and a hard environment, with a team that's number one in the league. What else can you ask for? If you're a player, you want to go out there and measure yourself, and that's what we have to do."

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