New England Soccer Today

Revs Need to Be ‘Locked In’ at Chicago

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Scoring seven goals in their last two is sure to boost the spirits of any MLS squad, but the Revolution know they’ll need to be strong on the other side of the ball come Saturday in Chicago.

Pitted against a potent Fire team that boasts no fewer than four MLS All-Stars, not to mention a plus-16 goal differential, the locals will no doubt have to be strong defensively against their second-place foe.

“We’re going to have to be locked in again for 90 minutes,” Revolution keeper Cody Cropper told the media on Tuesday. “They have a very strong attacking line and we have to really be switched on for 90 minutes and really prepared for a 90-minute battle.”

The concept of keeping the switch on for 90 minutes has been a point of emphasis for coach Jay Heaps. During the team’s struggles, Heaps has often cited gaps in focus as an ongoing weakness.

Heaps saw no such issue in last week’s 3-0 win over Philadelphia, a side that, to be fair, isn’t nearly as fierce as the Fire. That said, he was quick to point out how the defense laid the groundwork for the offensive fireworks, an idea Revolution defender Antonio Delamea has clearly subscribed to as well.

“Everything begins with good defense,” Delamea told the media on Tuesday. “We [have been] working very hard the last few weeks on our defensive shape. I think we really started to put this on the field the last few games.”

It’s debatable how good that defense was ago in a wild 4-3 win over the Galaxy, a game the Revolution nearly gave away in front of the home crowd. It is also debatable how they’ll fare against a team that’s outscored their opponents 27-4 at Toyota Park, where Saturday’s match will happen to take place.

Despite the odds the Revolution face in the Windy City, there’s little doubt they like their chances after gathering some much-needed momentum from back-to-back wins.

“We just need to keep this going,” Delamea said. “We need to do our job. Every player has his own job on the field. If we do what coach expects from us, you can see we look very good on the field.”

Looking good, and playing good are obviously two different things. To get something – anything – from Saturday’s match against a stacked opponent, Cropper believes his team just needs to stick to the fundamentals.

“For me, it’s just going to be doing the simple things right,” Cropper said. “For us as a group, doing those simple defensive things correctly again and really working for those 90 minutes.”

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