FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Soccer is often called “the beautiful game,” and many MLS teams try to live up to that standard by employing an attractive, attack-minded philosophy on the pitch.
But veteran striker Chad Barrett has seen it time after time: once the homestretch approaches and the postseason hunt heats up, those very same teams start to dig in and grind out results, with style nothing more than an afterthought.
“We’re getting to that point where it’s not going to be pretty soccer,” Barrett said. “It’s going to be a ‘grit your teeth’ and let’s go (mentality). I think we play 11 guys on the field who can bring that intensity.”
Last week, the Revolution brought that intensity against the Fire, who they beat 2-0 to snap a brief, two-game slide. But Barrett noted the importance of getting three more points on Sunday against the Philadelphia Union, a side that’s squeezed out their fair share of results in recent weeks.
“We need to go on a little bit of a streak here,” Barrett said. “We really should be taking three points from (Sunday’s) game. We’re two teams that like to hit each other and again, I wouldn’t expect a pretty game, but I expect us to come out on top.”
TEAM FIRST APPROACH
While the Revolution were able to beat the Fire with relative ease last week, one of the challenges that Revolution coach Jay Heaps faced prior to the contest was telling some of his starters that they weren’t going to be in the lineup.
Bobby Shuttleworth, Saer Sene and Stephen McCarthy were among those who were dropped from the 11 last Saturday, and Heaps admitted that telling a healthy regular that he’s not starting is a difficult task.
“It’s not easy,” Heaps admitted. “It’s (about having) hard and real conversations. But at the same time, if we’re taking a guy out, it’s not like we’re saying that anything was his fault or whatever it may be. It’s a team thing.”
During the offseason, Heaps made it a priority to bolster his team’s depth in order to avoid some of the pitfalls they encountered during the second half of the 2012 season. And while he’s been pleased with the competition it’s created, he also understands that it can also sting when a player finds himself out of the lineup.
“Guys might be frustrated or angry at being taken out of the lineup or out of the 18,” Heaps said. “But that’s the motivation to come out here on the next day of training and show that you can get back in it.”
Barrett’s mind may be focused on soccer while he’s on the pitch and during training, but with the NFL season just around the corner, he’s already looking forward to another autumn of fantasy football.
As the self-appointed commissioner of the league he’s organized amongst his Revolution teammates, Barrett, an Indianapolis Colts fan, admits that his relationship with fantasy football is of the love/hate variety.
“It’s just something I really enjoy doing,” Barrett said. “I love watching football more than anything else. It’ll be fun, but I’ll be talking (junk) about it all year.”