BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Revolution are off to the most magical place on earth. Or at least the bubble version of it.
The Revs left Foxboro for Orlando on Thursday morning, off to the site of the MLS is Back Tournament. After pausing the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MLS is hosting a 26-team tournament at Disney World Resorts, with group play set to begin July 8.READ MORE: I-Team: Nora Baston To Be Named New Boston Police Commissioner
The Revolution have been training for the last few weeks at their new practice facilities in Foxboro, and while they love playing in New England, they’re now eager to hit the pitch in Orlando.
“I think everybody has had a real positive attitude about the whole thing,” said goalkeeper Matt Turner. “Training sessions have been super competitive and guys are vying for spots in the starting 11 again. Everyone is eager to get down there and start competing.
“It’s an exciting time,” Turner added. “We want to go down there and give our fans something to cheer for. We want to go down there and we want to win.”
Though there is going to be a lot of everyone’s mind inside the bubble, winning is the focus for New England.
“It is a unique situation, however it’s an important competition. These games count in group play for our regular season record,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “We’re not in great position even though we’ve only played two games, so our goal is to go out and win every game.
“Teams are going to play real hard despite the fact that fans aren’t going to be there. It’s going to be very important and hopefully it doesn’t feel like preseason, because we have to go out and win games,” added Arena.READ MORE: Ex-Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia Found Guilty Of 21 Charges In Corruption Trial
After training in New England, Arena said his team will have to acclimate themselves to the Orlando weather upon arrival.
“The first thing we need to get a feel for when we get down to Orlando is the conditions, and how much the heat and humidity will affect us,” said Arena. “It’ll be interesting; I think we’ve had a great month of training here an our team is as fit as it can be given the circumstances.”
Then there is the matter of staying entertained — and out of trouble — during life in the bubble. Turner is confident that he and his teammates won’t have any issues on that front.
“I brought my Xbox and Nintendo Switch with me. I love a good FaceTime with my family and friends, my little niece,” he said “We’re going to go down there and make the most of an awkward situation.”
There are the obvious concerns about the pandemic, especially if COVID-19 finds its way inside the bubble. On Wednesday, six members of FC Dallas tested positive upon their arrival in Florida, which likely hasn’t made players and coaches on other teams feel particularly great about the situation.
But Turner has faith in the league, and understands it’s a new experience for everyone involved.
“From what I heard the league has been very flexible and understanding. Everyone is learning as we go, so there is this mutual understanding that when things go wrong the league needs to fix them, and the players have the inherent responsibility to do things the right way while we’re down there,” he said. “I think everyone, especially on our team, understands that.”MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Update: Will You Get A Fourth Relief Payment?
New England begins group play on July 9 against the Montreal Impact at 8pm, with matches against the DC United (July 16, 8pm) and Toronto FC (July 21, 9am) to follow. Tournament play kicks off July 25-28.