The regular season is getting closer, as the New England Revolution wrapped up an 11-day preseason trip to Orlando, Fla., with a 1-0 win over FC Dallas on Wednesday afternoon.
It was the teams third exhibition win and it seems as if Revolution coach Steve Nicols offseason goal of improving defensively has worked in the early stages of preparation for 2011.
Everything we did today was just so much better than what we did in the last couple of preseason games, said Nicol in a postgame conference call on Wednesday.
Goalkeeper Matt Reis and midfielder Chris Tierney were also in on Wednesdays conference call, and both were pleased with the results in Orlando.
Its preseason, so it takes time to get your sharpness back, said Tierney. Today was definitely a step forward in the right direction. I think if we keep progressing at the rate we are now, and keep working on things that Nicol is pushing, keeping the ball and passing, that sort of stuff, then we should continue to progress over the course of this preseason.
Reis believes its still a work in progress, but expressed his desire to get back into the playoffs this season, where he said, anything can happen.
We were on the outside looking in, last year, in terms of postseason play, and we want to change that this year, said Reis.
I have gotten a lot of reps in, which has been, really, the most important thing for me lately, said the Revs goalkeeper. I feel good. Were moving in the right direction.
The Revolution have yet to allow a goal in their preseason games. Their previous two wins came against the University of Central Florida and the U.S. Under-17 National Team, both coming in 2-0 fashion.
Shutting out an actual MLS opponent was the icing on the cake to a road trip that saw several minor injuries, and the dismissal of Shalrie Joseph and Kevin Alston, who were both sent back to New England because of disciplinary reasons.
This is just about getting time on the field, and try to build a little bit of confidence, and then go from there, said Nicol. The next trip is certainly going to be a lot more important than this one is.
The Revs travel to Georgia next week for three more preseason games against the Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo.
Marko Perovic and Kenny Mansally both sat out of Wednesdays game due to muscle strains, but Nicol didnt seem too concerned after the match, saying that the duo will be ready by the time their next preseason game rolls around, and that their injuries are not unusual for soccer players.
As for Joseph and Alston, when asked if there was an update on the specifics of why they were sent home from Orlando, Reis responded, Youll probably have to ask them when you see them.
Nicol was asked about the possibility of adding a new striker to the team before the beginning of the regular season. He acknowledged that, yes, that was currently something he was working on.
Were working away at it, said Nicol. These things take as long as it takes. Its always something, whether its paper work, or whether its somebody that changes their mind.
Were actively trying to bring another striker in. I think we need another one. That will help us . . . Wed like to get it done as soon as we can.
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.