New England Soccer Today

Final Dress Rehearsal On Tap

Photo credit: New England Revolution

Photo credit: New England Revolution

If you want a glimpse into what Revolution coach Jay Heaps has in store for the start of the regular season, Saturday’s Desert Diamond Cup final should serve as an accurate preview of coming attractions.

Following Wednesday’s 2-1 Round Three win over the Dynamo, Heaps told the media that Saturday’s preseason finale against Columbus Crew will bear a close resemblance to regular season fare in terms of preparation and personnel.

“I think it’s going to be as [regular season] game-like as we can make it in terms of how we go about it,” Heaps told the media. “It’s kind of our final dress rehearsal.”

For those keeping track, the Revolution have gone 2-2-2 during the winter, with wins against the Dynamo and the Earthquakes. Their goal differential is plus-1, with 11 goals scored and 10 surrendered. They conceded three goals on two occasions, but on the flip side, they were never shutout.

“It’s a learning experience in preseason,” Revolution midfielder/forward Teal Bunbury told the media after Wednesday’s win. “There’s things to take from this game that we did and we did poorly, and we’ll work on them.”

Of course, progressions and measurables aren’t the only thing the Revolution coaching staff keeps an eye on during the preseason. Since camp opened on Jan. 22, the Revolution have gotten longer looks at unsigned players like 2016 draft picks Michael Gamble and Femi Hollinger-Janzen, as well as veterans like Jeb Brovsky and David Addy.

Gamble has made the most waves to date, with a goal and an assist during the first three matches of the Desert Diamond Cup tournament. While Brovsky departed camp on Wednesday, the club welcomed another trialist in defender Je-Vaughn Watson shortly after. The 32-year-old former FC Dallas man may get a chance to see some minutes in the latter stages of Saturday’s match.

Are the Revolution, which currently has 21 players under contract – seven short of the maximum – a finished product? Far from it. Roster additions will likely be made following preseason match no. 7, and the coaching staff will continue to evaluate the situations at right back as well as the defensive portion of the midfield.

That said, Saturday’s match should prepare the squad for the most pressing piece of business once the curtains are officially drawn on the preseason: First Kick in Houston on Mar. 6.

“Hey, you’re building,” Heaps said. “I think from Saturday last week to this Saturday is how we’re trying to get into a Saturday-Saturday rhythm, and we were able to experiment a little bit with the Wednesday games.”

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