Revs Notes: Mullins impressing in camp, goalkeeper battle continues, and more

RevsDraftPicks2014 (ISIPhotos.com)

By RYAN TOLMICH

The New England Revolution enter the 2014 MLS season coming off of the team’s first playoff appearance since 2009.

Head coach Jay Heaps is using the preseason to assess talent, as well as get some of the younger players implemented into a side that exceeded expectations last season.

“A lot of it is that you want to compete,” Heaps said about the preseason. “We’ve played three games that have been very beneficial in not only progressing the group, but seeing players. We feel like we know where a lot of guys are, but we want to add new players to that group as well. Nothing really has been too much of a surprise,” Heaps added. “A lot is about the young players and getting them minutes, along with the core from last year.”

One player that has already stood out to Heaps is rookie Patrick Mullins, the 11th pick in the SuperDraft. Mullins, a forward out of Maryland, is a two-time MAC Hermann trophy winner and has already impressed his new coach in the preseason.

“We talked about Patrick Mullins earlier,” Heaps said, “and I really like his development so far. I think he is strong and that he has what it takes. In the first 12 days, he’s asserted himself well. We’re excited about where we see his progression going. He’s a player that we see that’s pretty versatile and can play a couple different positions for us across the front line.”

The Revs will need youthful talent like Mullins to contribute, as the team will have to replace two of last season’s core players. Longtime goalkeeper Matt Reis retired, and American international Juan Agudelo left for Europe.

“With goalkeeper, we had a guy like Matt Reis and his leadership,” Heaps said. “We have a strong competition going on in goal right now between Bobby Shuttleworth and Brad Knighton. And up top, I think, Juan Agudelo. You see him scoring the other day and you see what kind of quality he had. We have players that have the opportunity to fill that, but at the same time we want to bring a competition to it as well.”

While Heaps stressed that he liked the direction his team was headed in, he also stated that he wasn’t fully satisfied. The Revs coach also said his team would be willing to take chances to improve.

“We’re actively searching for at least two pieces,” Heaps said. “We feel really good with where we are, but we want to be better. We’ve identified where we want to better and we’re going to take this season to move on in those areas.”

The Revs will look to be even better this season, despite not being able to fly under the radar as much as last year. However, Heaps believes he has a group that has the chance to succeed if they stay the course.

“We understand what it takes,” said Heaps, who’s team lost to eventual champion Sporting Kansas City in last year’s playoffs. “We understand the hard work that it took to get into the playoffs last year, and we thought we left a little bit on the table with actually having a lead on Kansas City in the playoffs. We understand how hard the work is to get there, and that’s what I’m stressing. The expectations are a little bit more organic in how they develop, but at the same time, our motivations are really high this year.”

The Revs will continue their preseason with a trio of games in Arizona’s Kino Sports Complex, beginning Feb 19.

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11 Responses to Revs Notes: Mullins impressing in camp, goalkeeper battle continues, and more

  1. Eric W says:

    Very excited to see a “Revs Notes” section. Keep ‘em coming.

  2. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    Mullins can’t do well, only the top ten picks are worth anything. I read it in the comments section many, many times.

    New England does such a great job of getting/developing young players.

    • DanO says:

      That and fill about 1/4 of the lower bowl of Gillette stadium…. Mr. Kraft, get the Revs a SSS, please!

    • Buck says:

      New England gets young players because they can get them on the cheap…that’s the bottom line. They will not spend money on proven players

  3. TomG says:

    This is a really interesting team to watch this season.

    • BrianK says:

      Agreed. Rowe, Fagundez, Ngyuen and Mullins,….not to mention the talent in the back. What is the word on their GK situation?

      Good for Mullins. Hope he proves the scouts wrong.

      • Eric W says:

        Bobby Shuttleworth was Reis’ understudy and Heaps brought in Brad Knighton as well. So the two of them are competing for the starting role. I, personally, think Shuttleworth did a great job in the games he started last season. A lot of other Revs fans are mixed about him.

  4. Caleb H. says:

    Hope one of those two pieces that Heaps is looking for is a strong CDM. Last year when the Revs were on their game they had some of the most attractive attacking soccer in the league.

  5. shitbisket says:

    Revs want to improve in 2 areas. well they only gave up 38 goals last year which was tied for 3rd least in the league. KC had 30 and Portland had 33 goals against. I would assume the improvement will be striker and playmaker. Yes Mullins and Neumann will play in the area i the Revs need improvement in. However I believe the Revs will look for more experience and quality here.

  6. William Follen says:

    The first thing they need to do is make Goncalves happy. He feels they didn’t keep their promises.