New England Soccer Today

Ironing Out the Kinks

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

If the primary objective of Saturday’s preseason finale was to replicate regular season action, then the Revolution crossed it off in a fashion that coach Jay Heaps could truly appreciate: with a flourish.

Not only did they score a preseason-high three goals, but they also kept the sheet clean in a 3-0 romp over FC Tucson at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz. A trio of players scored while Bobby Shuttleworth posted the first shutout of the preseason.

“We needed to use this game to kind of get all of the kinks out,” Shuttleworth told on Saturday. “It was nice to come out here and (post) the shutout, and get the movements down, and get our intensity going, and hopefully, we can bring that into next week.”

Next week – specifically the regular season opener at Seattle on Mar. 8 – was, without a doubt, the driving motivation behind the Revolution’s best performance of the winter. Sure, the competition wasn’t fierce against the fourth-division FC Tucson. But it didn’t matter one bit to those in the navy blue kits.

After all, the strength of their opponent wasn’t in their hands after they were pitted against the PDL side following the group stages of the Desert Diamond Cup tournament. So all the Revolution could do was stick to the same gameplan they’ve employed every year for their preseason finale.

“It was all about getting sharp,” Revolution midfielder Teal Bunbury told on Saturday. “The regular season’s a week away, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t get any injuries.”

But staying healthy and improving their form from front to back weren’t the only items the Revolution wanted to focus on for the tournament finale.

With Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe and Juan Agudelo all looking to finish the preseason on a strong note, Heaps wanted to see the trio – and those around him – play with greater urgency. He wanted to see his regulars perform as a cohesive unit, which is, perhaps, the greatest challenge for nearly every club during the preseason.

“We also wanted to play the game fast,” Bunbury said. “We didn’t want to be too slow on the ball, we wanted to get those final bumps out of the way…so we come into the regular season flying.”

And they’ll need to bring every bit of whatever momentum they gained from Saturday’s match into their First Kick clash.

With the schedulemakers putting the Revolution on the road against the Seattle Sounders who, by the way, sported the best record in MLS last year, there won’t be any time for sanding down any remaining rough edges.

“It’s going to be a tough test for us,” Shuttleworth said. “Seattle’s a very difficult place to play, and we need to be ready to go from the start this year, and I think we will be.”

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