Saturday, April 6, 2013
Revs stay busy during bye week
By Brian O'Connell
A Week 6 bye means the Revolution are idle in MLS play this weekend, but that doesn't mean that the players and coaching staff are ready to take a breather after just four games into the season.
To keep his players sharp, coach Jay Heaps and his assistants organized a closed-door scrimmage with the unaffiliated New England Force on Friday at the lower practice field behind Gillette Stadium. When it was all said and done, the Revolution came out with a 4-0 win over their guests, with Clyde Simms, Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen and guest player Fernando Monge each grabbing a goal.
More importantly, though, Heaps spread the minutes among 19 rostered players, including 2012 team defender of the year Stephen McCarthy, who's working his way back from a preseason injury. Also getting playing time was third-string goalkeeper Luis Soffner, who featured for the entirety of the second half, and central midfielder Kalifa Cisse, who has missed the club's last three games.
On Saturday afternoon, the four Revolution players loaned to USL-PRO affiliate Rochester Rhinos -- Bilal Duckett, Tyler Polak, Gabe Latigue and Matt Horth -- joined their new teammates for a 2-0 preseason win over Cornell University. Gabe Latigue assisted on the first goal of the game, giving him two assists in as a many games with the Rhinos.
While the Revolution have remained active during their bye week, a number of ex-Revolution players will be accumulating MLS minutes this weekend.
Among the most notable players, Benny Feilhaber helped steer Sporting Kansas City to a 1-0 win over DC United on Friday. In Colorado, former trialist Clint Irwin and the Rapids will face Kenny Mansally and his Real Salt Lake teammates. Back on the East Coast, Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson will take on the New York Red Bulls in a nationally televised match on Sunday.
Statistically speaking, the Revolution have allowed the fewest goals in MLS (2) through the first five weeks of the season, thanks in large part to the center back partnership of AJ Soares and Jose Goncalves (and perhaps a first-week bye, too). It may only be April, but the defense that Heaps and general manager Mike Burns set out to revamp during the offseason is nevertheless paying early dividends.
On the attacking end, the Revolution's goal drought stands at 298 minutes. But with Saer Sene, the club's leading scorer last year, slated to return from ACL surgery by the end of the month, it might not be long before the attack is back in form.