Friday, July 5, 2013
Revs ready for high-powered Earthquakes
By Brian O'Connell, Special to ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For the first time in nearly four weeks, the Revolution (5-5-6, 21 points) will be back in front of the home supporters. And, thankfully for the local XI, they probably won't have to face the same challenges Chivas USA presented to them last weekend.
Instead of trying to keep pace with the Revolution, the Western Conference bottom-feeders resigned themselves to dropping numbers to keep New England off the board for nearly 90 minutes.
Although an 88th-minute Chad Barrett equalizer salvaged a point for the Revolution, one thing they won't have to worry about this weekend is a reprisal of last week's proceedings at Gillette Stadium with the high-powered San Jose Earthquakes (5-8-6, 21 points) in town.
"It's going to be a completely different game," Revolution center back Stephen McCarthy said. "So we're just getting prepared for a lot of long balls, a lot of clearing out headers and figuring out how to deal with that type of pressure."
There's no question the Earthquakes present a vastly different challenge than the one presented to the Revolution last week in southern California.
For starters, San Jose has both the players and the quality to break an opponent down, and they have the ability to do so in quick-strike fashion. With Shea Selinas and Sam Cronin whipping balls into the box, and Chris Wondolowski or Adam Jahn pounding them through, it's safe to say the Earthquakes won't be sitting back and waiting for the game to come to them.
Of course, it may seem that way for the self-proclaimed "Goonies," whose never-say-die attitude spearheaded a slew of late-game goals en route to the 2012 Supporters' Shield Trophy. Call it luck or pluck -- either way, the waning stages became the dramatic theater for San Jose supporters last season.
But after head coach Frank Yallop parted ways with the club last month, interim head coach Mark Watson has slowly changed the team's attacking philosophy in recent weeks.
"We know they're a little more possession-oriented now," Heaps said. "But at the same time, they're also Highway 1. They're difficult when you get the ball up and they get second balls. When you see them late in games making runs, it's because they're battling and fighting."
To put the breaks on Watson's bunch, Heaps knows that his club will have to use its strengths from start to finish, and without interruption.
"When we're playing well," Heaps said, "we possess in the right areas, and we also know that it's a team defense top to bottom. But the most important thing is intensity, we have to match their intensity and actually bring more if you're at home."
Intensity will certainly be key for the Revolution, especially against an opponent like the Earthquakes, who will be playing their third game in eight days on Saturday.
Even so, McCarthy isn't expecting tired legs or a dull approach from the Earthquakes, even with Wondolowski (United States) and Marvin Chavez (Honduras) unavailable due to National Team duty.
"It's going to be a battle," McCarthy said. "Whoever they put up top, it's going to be a brawl and that's the opposite of what Chivas USA did. So we have to be prepared for that and not fall into any stupid (mistakes) and stay turned-on the whole time with all the balls they put in the air. We've got to be ready."