FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Jay Heaps has become known for his outside-the-box thinking in his head-coaching tenure with the Revolution. But in one recent instance, he was reminded that sometimes it's best to keep it simple.
After months of working with striker Charlie Davies out on the wing, Heaps finally relented and allowed the Boston College alum to return to his preferred position. The decision, so far, has proven to be a masterstroke.
In his past three games, Davies has scored twice and assisted once, all from the center forward's spot. Coincidence? Not quite, Heaps said.
"I think Charlie's always been a little bit more of a two-striker system," Heaps said. "We've tried to work him in in all three forward positions that we've had, but he feels much more comfortable in the center striker's position with his back to goal, with an attacking player close by."
Of course, the positional tinkering wasn't the only hurdle Davies faced before he started his recent run of good form. A nagging calf injury kept him from contributing during much of the spring, which only made the adjustment to the wing even tougher.
But once Davies was sufficiently healed, two things became evident to Heaps. First, he wasn't getting consistent production from his forwards. Second, Davies was far more confident when slotted in the No. 9 role during training, even if the speedy Davies wasn't exactly a fish out of water out on both wings.
"He understands them, but he's much more comfortable [centrally]," Heaps said. "When Charlie's comfortable, he plays better, and I think that's shown over the last couple of weeks."
Offense 'not far off' from finding rhythm
Speaking of Davies, the club's goal-scoring hero was asked prior to Wednesday's training what the offense needs to improve upon after collecting only eight goals total in its past 10 games.
"I think it's one of those things where we just need to sharpen and just be more clinical in the final third," Davies said. "I think we're not far off. I think it's just that final ball that we haven't been too great at."
Davies' assertion about finishing is bolstered by the contrast of the following two facts: The Revolution are at the top of the league in shots per game but 14th in total goals. Clearly, execution in the final third has not been the team's forte.
Recognizing the need for more offense, the front office recently made a pair of moves to bring in two new faces to the forward corps. Andre Akpan was acquired via trade this past week, while Tony Taylor was added Monday via lottery.
But even though Davies has sharpened the offense, at least for the time being, he isn't concerned about what the moves might signal.
"It really doesn't say anything to me," Davies said. "I'm just glad that it helps with the team's depth. [It] makes trainings better with more competition. At the end of the day, you still have to perform in the games and try and help this team get in the playoffs. So my job doesn't change."
Defense needs improvement, too
While some have pointed to the dry spell the offense has found itself mired in for the Revolution's recent woes, right back Andrew Farrell provided his own take on what needs to improve to turn things around.
Farrell believes that before the attack can find any kind of sustainable success, the defense needs to assert itself early and far more often within the course of 90 minutes.
"I know our offense isn't always getting goals, but you always give yourself a chance when you don't get scored on," Farrell said. "So I think if we step our game up, I think the defensive part will motivate us to get forward and score some goals."