New England Soccer Today

Five Things We Learned: Revolution vs. Sounders

Revolution midfielder/forward Diego Fagundez played the role of hero by scoring a 94th minute equalizer in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Seattle. (Photo: Kari Heistad)

It was deja vu all over again on Saturday night.

For the second straight week, the Revolution defense gave up a pair of first half goals. And for the second straight week, they were bailed out by a 94th minute equalizer to claim a point from another 2-2 draw.

But all similarities aside, Saturday night made for some truly compelling observations. Here are five that made the final edit.

1. The idea behind the 4-5-1 formation featured on Saturday was intriguing. Very intriguing. Unfortunately, it failed to live up to its billing. It’s easy to see what Jay Heaps was trying to do with the curious five-man midfield: maximize Benny Feilhaber’s abilities in the hole. And Heaps deserves to be applauded for trying it. It was a gutsy decision. But, it wasn’t long before it sprung a few leaks. Clearly, Saer Sene was not comfortable out on the right. Not as an attacker, and certainly not tracking back. As a result, the ideas along the right were bland for much of the match. And it didn’t do right back Flo Lechner any favors, either. Meanwhile, confusion between Feilhaber and Clyde Simms was a regular occurance in the middle of the park. At times, they were close enough to run a three-legged race. That said, it was an interesting formation. It had potential. With a few adjustments (e.g. keeping Sene as far away from the right flank as possible), and perhaps the right roster addition, it could work well in another incarnation.

2. A.J. Soares and Matt Reis have got to open the lines of communication. For the second straight week, we witnessed the second-year center back and veteran keeper get confused on a cross from the left flank. And once again, it led to the Revs allowing a pair of first half goals. Cue the “Can you hear me now?” guy. It’s normal to see these kinds mistakes in the preseason or even during the early part of the regular season. But midway through the season? Between a pair of veteran players? Something is off. Both are proven enough to fix it. It’s just a matter of how long it takes that’ll bear watching.

3. Saer Sene may not have meatball problems, but there’s no doubt he has finishing problems. Another recurring theme from last week’s game in Toronto? Sene’s finishing which, for all intents and purposes, has been LMAO! during the last two games. The French forward recorded four shots during Saturday’s contest, and two flew as far away from goal as possible. Granted, the one that was accurate ended up in the back of the net, and another nearly squeezed under the bar. That was encouraging. But Sene’s propensity launch a flock of ducks inside the attacking third in the last two weeks? The opposite of encouraging. Sure, putting him out wide as a right-sided midfielder may not have helped his confidence. However, it’s not so much the fact that he’s missing that’s bad. It’s that fact that he’s missing badly that’s, well, bad. Really bad. It’s a whole lot of bad. But it’s correctable, especially for a striker of his caliber.

4. The Revolution bench is deeper than its been in years. It’s often said that a team is only as good as the last guy on the bench. Well, if that’s the case, then the Revolution must be miles better than they’ve been in the last two years. And for proof of that, consider this: three of the Revolution’s last six goals have come off the bench. Kelyn Rowe scored the first Revolution goal vs. Chicago. Blake Brettschneider did the same in Toronto. And last night, Diego Fagundez scored the equalizer against Seattle. During the preseason, Heaps talked at length about putting together a stronger first 18 week in and week out this season. So far, it looks like he’s succeeded in doing just that.

5. Unless he takes his career abroad before it happens, Diego Fagundez is unquestionably the future #10 of the Revolution. After the game, Heaps said he wasn’t shocked to see his 17-year-old sub score the equalizer. But he was surprised that the 5-8, 140lbs high school senior scored on the header. How he managed to do so – sneak inside the defense and time his run perfectly -only reinforces the idea that Fagundez is not just another over-hyped teenage talent. Rather, he’s a bonafide playmaker who’s not only excellent on the ball, but has the vision and sense of position that many professionals aren’t able to hone until later in their careers. Last year, he was rushed into a situation and performed admirably. But this year, his maturity has shown. Instead of sulking, he’s kept a level head and worked harder behind the scenes. He remains humble. And with the mental strength and maturity there, Fagundez could be on track for the starring role in the Revolution attack – that is, if he sticks around long enough to see that happen.

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