Revolution Focus on Operation M.C.G.

The Revolution are ready to move their focus toward the AFL International Cup after a very productive training camp in Austin, TX, last weekend.

The entire purpose of the training camp was to simulate the process around each match day that the team will experience six times in Australia over a two-week period, August 9-23, including the routine required for preparation and the post-match review.

Thirty-three players gathered on Saturday morning to go over the plans for the weekend before heading to Onion Creek Soccer Complex to go over the game plan that has been evolving over the last two and a half years since the 2011 International Cup.

The morning session was designed to prepare the players for the main event on Saturday afternoon, a six-period game against the Texas All-Stars. The venue again was Onion Creek and the conditions were even a little Melbourne-like, being overcast and a little windy.

The Revolution team was set up so that 3 variations of the team played each of the three halves on offer. Their opposition consisted of mainly expatriate Australians and a few quality American players from the Austin, Houston and Dallas football clubs. A particular highlight was the experience the Revo players gained in playing on Michael Rix, an ex-AFL player that played 29 games with the St. Kilda Saints from 2006-08.

The quality of football played during the afternoon was impressive given it is early in the 2014 season. The game started at a hectic pace with nine goals scored in the first quarter, including four to the Revolution. Texas kicked five and made the most of a very attacking game plan used by the Revolution. They were too good using their skills to capitalize on strong work by their own midfield and lead by three points . However, if the Revolution had made the most of their opportunities they could well have entered the second quarter with a slim lead.

Bryan Dragus kicked two goals for the quarter and was well supported by Eric “Sleepy “Floyd and Bobby Sears, who kicked one each. Revo Rob Ward, who is unable to make the International Cup, kicked two of the five goals for Texas.

The game slowed slightly during the second quarter after the Revolution changed their plan to try and nullify the strong midfield of Texas. Only four goals were kicked and three of those were by Texas. The single goal kicked for the Revolution was by Bryan Dragus, making it three for the game thus far.

The Revolution team was changed up at half-time with a less experienced side taking the field for the third quarter. Texas again made the most of their opportunities kicking five goals, however the Revolution battled hard and were able to notch up another three of their own. Captain Dan Sarbacker and Jay Levesque kicked one each and Bryan Dragus kicked one more to make it four for the game.

The scoring pattern continued in the fourth quarter where the goals slowed once more with Texas kicking two. The Revolution’s only goal came a superb centering kick by Mark “Stork” McClure from the boundary to Saleh Tyebjee who pushed up from the half-back flank.

A different team started the fifth quarter for the Revolution and the game definitely tightened up with each team kicking one goal each. Jesse “Tex” Leos kicked the goal for the Revolution and Texas lead the game by 35 points.

The Revolution were able to gain the upper hand in the sixth and final quarter with the Texas team definitely tiring after a long, hard-fought game. The Revolution kicked three goals with Mark “Stork” McClure, Zach “Dream” Weaver and Christian “Money” Merritt kicking one each. Texas didn’t trouble the scorers and the final margin for the game was 22 points.

Score Revolution Texas
Period Goals Behinds Total Goals Behinds Total
One 4 3 27 5 0 30
Two 5 4 34 8 1 49
Three 8 5 53 13 2 80
Four 9 7 61 15 2 92
Five 10 8 68 16 7 103
Six 13 11 81 16 7 103

Goal Kickers: Dragus (4), Floyd, Sears, Sarbacker, Levesque, Tyebjee, Leos, Merritt, McClure, Weaver

The day ended with the players, staff and umpires of both teams enjoying some local barbecue thanks to the Austin Sports Commission. There is no doubt the Revos gained a lot from playing such a quality team and a massive thank-you goes out to all the players from Austin, Houston and Dallas football clubs, particularly Austin’s Coach in Simon Boyce who was instrumental in making the game happen. Thank-you also to the umpires, Ross McLaren from Dallas and Shaun Whitehouse and Dave Bryant from Houston, for officiating the game. Finally thank-you to Julie Fisher for taking the time to help us with the game day photography.

Once the Revolution squad returned to the hotel the players focussed on their recovery and spent time in a player’s only meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss their own thoughts on their performance in the game and preparations for the International Cup. During this time the coaching staff spent the evening reviewing a video of the game to prepare for the Sunday morning session.

The players and staff gathered early on Sunday and spent several hours reviewing and discussing the game video. There is certainly no place to hide when everyone is watching the game together and this was the first time many of the players had experienced this process.

Finally the players headed out to Zilker Park to spend a small amount of time working on some of the issues identified during the review process. It was a solid weekend with all involved exhausted and ready to relax before heading home.

The squad selected to represent the U.S. at the 2014 AFL International Cup will be named this week.

Thank-you to the following volunteers for all their efforts and hard work to make the camp such a success:

  • The coaching staff of Denis Ryan, Jason Becker and Scott Leal;
  • Team Manager Greg Borchardt, his father Mark Borchardt, Trainer Steve Budrick, and Revolution legend B.J. Gambaro;
  • Amy Bishop for her videography, photography, public relations and social media expertise; and
  • The players that invest so much into making themselves the best.

Finally, thank-you to the staff at the Courtyard Marriott South Austin for making our stay in Austin enjoyable.

Mates. Courage. 1 Goal.

Matt Bishop
Coach, USA Revolution

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