Veterans of the New England Revolution know to keep their bags packed in March. The club has made a habit of starting the season on a road trip, and 2017 will prove no different.
Between now and April 2, the club will travel to Commerce City, Colo.; Dallas, Texas; and Portland, Ore.
“It’s always difficult, but it’s a mindset,” Revolution Head Coach Heaps in a team release, speaking of the annual road trip. “It’s been the norm here for the last five or six years that it’s going to be difficult, make sure we weather the storm, make sure we find moments in the game to play the way we know how to play, and make sure that we don’t give up anything defensively.”
Under Heaps, the club has struggled to accomplish this goal, winning just five of 20 March matches dating back to 2012. Only seven of those 20 matches took place at Gillette Stadium.
Bucking this trend many prove crucial for a team that started the 2016 season—which ended shy of the playoffs—in a 1-3-7 hole.
“You can see from past experiences, especially last year from when we missed out [on the playoffs] by one point, that’s crucial,” said midfielder Lee Nguyen, conveying the importance of a strong season-opening run. “Especially those points away from home if we can get those. Coming into this first game against Colorado, it’s going to be big to maximize our points.”
To do so, the Revs will need to break a Rapids defense that conceded just seven home goals in 2016. Colorado ultimately ended the season unbeaten at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“We’re going to watch some film later this week on them. At the same time, we’re going to have to focus on us,” Nguyen said. “I know that if we stick to our game plan and do what we do best, that gives us the best odds to win.”
In the end, focusing on the trip to Colorado may prove key in navigating this season-opening stretch.
“For me, we talk about end of the year runs and things like that, but for me the reality is we have to focus one game at a time,” Heaps said. “We have to put together [with] the mindset that we can go on the road and find results.”
The Revs and Rapids kick off at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday.