Friday, June 13, 2014
World Cup break is no vacation
By Brian O'Connell
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Despite what the MLS schedule says, Revolution coach Jay Heaps and his team aren't about to spend the next three weeks resting and relaxing.
While the local XI won’t play another league match until June 28 due to the World Cup, there’s still plenty of work to attend to for both the players and coaching staff between now and the end of the month.
“There’s not a break,” Heaps said. “There are a couple of days off, and we’re right back into training this week. We’re training this week, and the guys will have the weekend off. Then we are back at it for Open Cup on Wednesday.”
For the most part, the Revolution’s weekly routine will remain unchanged. The team will continue to train during the week for the next three weeks. The only change is that the Revolution’s next game will be a mid-week affair, rather than a weekend event.
Speaking of which, the Richmond Kickers -- who play in the third-tier of the American soccer pyramid -- will welcome the Revolution to City Stadium for Fourth Round Open Cup action. It will be the Revolution’s first Open Cup game of the 2014 tournament, which officially kicked off last month.
Even though early Open Cup affairs often serve as forums for the less-experienced players to gain valuable minutes at the MLS level, Heaps said he isn’t about to field a lineup full of rookies and reserves.
“I think it’s going to be blended more than anything,” Heaps said. “I think it’s going to be a pretty good team and I think that Richmond is going to be a pretty good team, and I want to go there with the opportunity to win that game because I think the Open Cup is important.”
WORLD CUP FEVER: As you might expect, the Revolution will be tuning into World Cup action, which kicked off on Thursday with Brazil’s 3-1 win over Croatia.
While the topic of discussion will likely be centered on the present tournament, Revolution midfielder/forward Charlie Davies reflected on World Cups past prior to Wednesday’s training.
“My first World Cup was 1994, watching it, and really having that be kind of the jump-start of my whole soccer career,” Davies said. “That’s where I got the passion and love (for the game).”
Although Davies has fond memories of USA ’94, he was quick to point out that another tournament remains dear to his heart -- one that saw a number of compelling storylines.
“I would say 2002 was my favorite World Cup,” Davies said. “Seeing Ronaldo come back from a knee injury and lead Brazil to the championship, as well as seeing the U.S. do so well and score some good goals, to beat Portugal in the group stage, and make it out of their group -- that was definitely the most special World Cup for me.”
TIME TO COOL ENGINES: While Heaps will continue to see the same level effort in training during the hiatus from league action, Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen is looking at the next three weeks as an opportunity to put the last two losses in the past.
After running a seven-game unbeaten streak from mid-April through late-May, New England fell into a two-game rut before the break. With the memory of Sunday’s 2-0 loss to New York still fresh, the veteran midfielder says that the coming weeks will give him and his teammates a chance to catch their breaths.
“I think it’s just more important to cool off the engines real quick, refresh, and kind of forget about what happened the last two weeks,” Nguyen said, “and just revamp and try and get our minds straight.”