1_26_22 PreseasonBellBuksa

LOS ANGELES – Preseason 2022 has given new meaning to the term “hit the ground running” for the New England Revolution, who will have less than five weeks between their first day of training on January 12 and their first competitive match in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League on February 15.

A typical preseason would be closer to six weeks – if not slightly longer – but this season will be anything but typical. With the Revs participating in the CCL for the first time since 2008 and the MLS regular season schedule starting earlier than ever to account for next winter’s FIFA World Cup, New England’s preseason preparations have been compacted into a little more than 30 days.

That’s not been a problem, according to midfielder Ema Boateng, because the shortened offseason meant players were able to maintain their fitness levels throughout December and January, leaving them ready to return at full speed from day one.

“We started right away,” said Boateng. “Within the first week we already started playing games in training. I think guys did a really good job in the offseason not just sitting around. We had a program. From the day of our last game they only gave us the first two weeks to kind of relax and travel and do all the stuff that we’re going to do, and from then on it was four times a week we were working out. They sent out programs with stuff to do, so everybody came in at a pretty good fitness level and we got right back into work.

“Just the last two weeks we’ve done a lot for a team, so the next three weeks or so leading up to our first Concacaf (Champions League) game, I think will be enough time for us because we’ve already been pushing it pretty hard.”

Two weeks of training in Foxborough provided a positive starting point for the group, and the Revolution’s preparations will kick into overdrive now that they’ve arrived in Los Angeles for a two-week training stint that began on Wednesday. New England’s stay on the west coast will feature a pair of games against Los Angeles FC (January 29) and the LA Galaxy (February 5).

Past preseasons have featured anywhere between five and seven exhibition games, meaning there will be extra emphasis on making the most of these limited opportunities the next two weekends.

“They’re going to be important because they’re really just a drawing board for us to learn and quickly fix our mistakes in those games,” said center back Jon Bell. “For us going into those games – especially with new guys added to the team – we’ve just got to jell quickly, learn from our mistakes in these preseason games, and then be ready for that first game.”