FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Home. There's no place like it, and that's especially true for the 0-2-0 New England Revolution, who'll step on the pitch at Gillette Stadium for the first time in 2014 on Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
After coming up short in Houston and Philadelphia, the Revolution will look to take full advantage of playing in Foxborough, where they compiled an 8-5-4 record in 2013.
"It's nice to be home," Heaps said. "When you start on the road it's always difficult, and when your (first) four of five are on the road, you have to take your time at home to really maximize (it)."
If recent history is any indication, the Revolution shouldn't have a problem maximizing the benefits of playing at Gillette Stadium. Since the stadium's opening in 2002, the local XI have an 8-3-1 record in home openers, and are unbeaten in the last seven (6-0-1).
Of course, Heaps isn't exactly a fan of waiting until Week 3 of the season to play in front of the home crowd -- especially with another pair of back-to-back road games awaiting the Revolution after Saturday's home opener.
"I think it's very difficult," Heaps said of his team's early-season schedule. "It's an unfortunate situation that we have to deal with and we go about it. But at the same time, when you get your chance at home, you have to take it."
HEAPS UPFRONT WITH GONCALVES ON DEMOTION
Telling a player he's not going to be a part of the game-day 18 for the forthcoming match is never an easy thing for a coach. It's even tougher to do when that player is not only the club captain, but the reigning Defender of the Year.
But that's the situation Heaps was presented with last week after he decided that Jose Goncalves would not travel with the team to Philadelphia. Though the specific reasoning for the captain's exclusion remains unclear, Heaps said he was upfront with Goncalves about the decision.
"We have a conversation every week," Heaps said. "If a player's not in the 18, it's a conversation to have and personally with me."
When asked about what that conversation with Goncalves entailed, Heaps declined to go into specifics.
"It's a personal conversation that we have behind closed doors," Heaps said. "We're very direct and honest, and they stay back there."
ROWE ON THE MEND
After sitting out last week's contest in Philadelphia due to a hamstring injury, midfielder Kelyn Rowe is hoping to be healthy enough to start on Saturday.
Rowe, who went the full 90 two weeks ago in Houston, probably would've played last week if the decision was his. But with 33 games ahead of him, the coaching staff decided to err on the side of caution with the third-year midfielder.
"It was precautionary," Rowe said. "It wasn't 100 percent at all, and I thought it was smart to keep me out (because) it's early in the season still. Jay made a decision to keep me out, and I'm hoping to be back this week."