FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Sure, the Dynamo may be the second opponent the Revs will face at the back end of a three-game, eight-day stretch. But the Revs don’t expect to see another fatigued team on Saturday.
In fact, Revolution head coach Jay Heaps believes that the second game of Houston’s three-game gauntlet – which occurred on Tuesday – has only given the Dynamo an extra day to rest up for Saturday.
“I think that their game (on Tuesday night) would show more fatigue than the game on Saturday,” Heaps said. “It’s a quick turnaround from Saturday night to Tuesday night. But I believe that Tuesday to Saturday is plenty of enough time to travel and recover.”
Another reason Heaps isn’t expecting the Dynamo to come out flat is the lineup shuffling Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear orchestrated to keep his players fresh.
“Dominic did a nice job of rotating his guys around so I think this team is going to come in very fresh to be honest,” Heaps said. “That’s the mindset we’re going to have: That they’re going to be 100%. They’ll have a lot of players ready to go.”
Addressing the slow starts
Although the Revs have won two of their last three, the team has struggled to get the ignition started in recent weeks.
Going back to the New York game, the Revolution have conceded the opening goal in three of their last four. But Heaps admits it’s not so much about putting the foot on gas from the outset.
“I think it’s a little bit mental and a little bit of positioning,” Heaps said. “It’s a little bit of tightening up where we are on the field. Mentally, we want to press and we want to get after the other team. But at the same time, our defensive responsibilities have to be a little bit sharper, and we have to be a little bit tighter in space.”
Beware the set piece
One area the Revolution know the Dynamo are especially dangerous is the dead ball situation.
With Brad Davis behind the ball and big-bodied players like Will Bruin (6-2), Brian Ching (6-1) and Bobby Boswell (6-2) ready to pounce, the Revolution – who’ve been bitten especially hard on set pieces this season – are anticipating a tough test against the Dynamo.
In fact, Revolution skipper Shalrie Joseph was effusive in in his praise for Davis, who led the league in assists last season (16).
“Other than David Beckham, Brad Davis is one of the deadliest players in the league on set pieces,” Joseph said. “He’s going to whip in good balls in certain areas and they have big the bodies so it’s going to be a challenge.”
But one thing in the Revolution’s favor is that it proved it could eliminate mistakes on defensive set pieces after last week’s 4-1 win over Vancouver.
“Last week, we spent so much time on set pieces and we didn’t allow a set piece goal,” Joseph said. “This week it’s going to be more important. We have to pay attention to our man, stay strong in the box and just defend well.”
Days of future past
Although it’s been five years since the Revolution and Dynamo last met in an MLS Cup match, Saturday’s game will feature six participants – including Heaps and former teammate/current Dynamo assistant coach Steve Ralston – from the 2007 Cup tie.
And while it may not matter so much to the rookies and recent additions on the Revolution roster, one player who hasn’t forgotten it is Joseph.
When asked about whether he still thinks about the teams’ MLS Cup history, the skipper smiled and answered in the affirmative.
“Anytime you play a team that beat you twice in the finals – definitely,” Joseph said. “You remember those days, but we have to put that behind us and just look forward to going up against a good team.”