Thursday, August 1, 2013
Heaps sees room for improvement
By Brian O'Connell, Special to ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Revolution may be winners of their last two, but don't be fooled: They aren't exactly playing up to the standard that's been set for them by head coach Jay Heaps.
While last week's win in D.C. vaulted them into the final playoff spot in the conference, Heaps still sees plenty of room for improvement.
"We haven't played particularly well in the last three games," Heaps said after training on Wednesday. "We have to pick up the things that we're doing."
One area the Revolution will be looking to improve upon in Sunday's contest against Toronto FC is their first-half form. Last week, D.C. collected no fewer than five dangerous chances inside of 10 minutes, and Luis Silva's 8th-minute goal put the Revolution in an early hole.
"Jay talked a lot about playing the ball longer to start in D.C. and turning them around and trying to stretch the field," Revolution defender Chris Tierney said after training on Wednesday. "I don't think we did a good enough job of doing that."
According to Tierney, the best way to overcome the first-half struggles, and thwart the kind of second-half pressure they faced in Colorado and Columbus, is to execute, pure and simple.
"If we stick to our game plan and what Jay's trying to get us to do right off the bat, we'll have more success," Tierney said.
Toronto on tap: For the third straight week, the Revolution will face a lower-ranked club, as ninth-place Toronto FC makes its way to Gillette Stadium for the second time this season.
But given the difficulties they encountered against Columbus and D.C., the Revolution know they'd be fools to take Toronto lightly.
"You have to respect every team in the league, and we do," Tierney said. "So we'll prepare the same way that we would for a first-place team."
While Toronto certainly hasn't played like a first-place team this season, Tierney could care less about where they sit in the standings. Rather, he's focused on the task at hand.
"No matter who we're playing against, we should take three points at home," Tierney said. "I think the opponent is irrelevant at this point (in the season)."
Taking it "one play at a time": One concept that Heaps has impressed upon his players as they try to secure the club's first postseason berth in four years is the classic "one game at a time" approach. But on Wednesday, the Revolution head coach took it a step further.
"Our game is one play at a time," Heaps said. "We have to put together moments (and) I thought we did that well in the second half at D.C. But we were in a hole, and we don't want to get into a hole. We have to play one play at a time, and be prepared for what Toronto's going to do against us."