Player Ratings: New England Revolution at Houston Dynamo

After each match the contributors to New England Soccer Today will rate the performances of the New England Revolution players who made an appearance on a 1 to 10 scale (1 horrendous, 5 average, 10 perfection). This week Brian O’Connell and Sean Donahue contributed ratings for the New England Revolution’s 2-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo.

Bobby Shuttleworth – Average Rating: 5.5 (Brian 5.5, Sean 5.5)
Had some strong moments, and coped with the wet surface fairly well. Defense let him down on Garcia strike while the Clark goal was pure skill on the midfielder’s part. (Brian) … Made some big saves, but also gifted the Dynamo a chance with a botched clearance. Not much he could do on either goal. (Sean)

Kevin Alston – Average Rating: 4.75 (Brian 5, Sean 4.5)
Another effective performance out on the left; contained Carr for the most part and helped out his fellow defenders inside the area; chipped in the obligatory wild shot for good measure. (Brian) … Had a solid first half defensively, but didn’t do enough to close in on Brad Davis before the cross on the first goal and was caught ball watching allowing Warren Creavalle to run in behind him on the second goal. Didn’t create much offensively other than a wild shot. (Sean)

A.J. Soares – Average Rating: 4.25 (Brian 4.5, Sean 4)
Signs of a sophomore slump continued on Saturday night. Won some key challenges, but positioning on Clark’s goal wasn’t exactly textbook. A so-so night, but his biggest mistake doomed the Revs. (Brian) … Seemed to be caught ball-watching on the first goal, letting Clark sneak in behind him. Needed to communicate with Rowe on the second. Passing out of the back wasn’t great and tried too much route one ball hurting possession. (Sean)

Stephen McCarthy – Average Rating: 5.25 (Brian 5.5, Sean 5)
Added some much needed aerial presence with Brad Davis ready to put some passes into the area. Strong challenges kept it scoreless for 76 minutes, but let a half-chance fall by the wayside in the first half. (Brian) … Some good defense, including a sliding block to stop one dangerous shot in the second half. Seemed like there may have been an error in communication with Soares on the Clark goal and looked gassed tracking back on the second, leaving the Revolution a bit shorthanded in defense. (Sean)

Darrius Barnes – Average: 5 (Brian 5, Sean 5)
Last week, he quipped that he told Heaps he was a target forward. If only, right? Indecisive on a golden chance in the 19th minute, but defensively, fought through a few hiccups to deliver a decent performance. (Brian) … He’ll want his 19th minute chance back, which should’ve given the Revolution an early lead. Decent night defensively, despite being under a lot of pressure in the first half. Only connected on 1 of 8 long throws. (Sean)

Fernando Cardenas – Average Rating: 4 (Brian 4, Sean 4)
There’s a lot to like about his skill set – pace, passing ability and shiftiness. But rare is the time when he puts it all together, and Saturday’s performance was another example of that inconsistency. Put a great ball over to Bengtson at the far post, but aside from that, it was another quiet night. (Brian) … Should’ve had an assist on the chance he created for Bengtson, but otherwise he wasn’t able to create much offensively. Defensive awareness is an issue for him as a starter – essentially left Alston covering two men while he was in no man’s land on the first goal and there were other occasions as well where he failed to track his man, giving Dynamo advantages going forward. (Sean)

Benny Feilhaber – Average Rating: 4.75 (Brian 4.5, Sean 5)
I’ll never get why he’s saddled with additional defensive responsibilities; staying back and trying to orchestrate the attack is clearly not helping him, nor the team. Set piece stuff was more of the same, which was not good at all. (Brian) … Free kicks improved, though his corners were still far below par. Created two of the team’s best chances in the first half, but was much less involved offensively after Toja came on. Some decent defensive effort. (Sean)

Clyde Simms – Average Rating: 4 (Brian 4, Sean 4)
Aside from an ambitious shot that barely tested Hall, it was another silent (re: ineffective) showing for Simms, whose presence on the field did the Revs few favors in the first half (31.8% possession). Obvious candidate to come off for second half, with his calf perhaps holding him back. (Brian) … Pretty invisible match from Simms outside of one shot testing Hall. That said, the team looked much shakier defensively after his exit. (Sean)

Kelyn Rowe – Average Rating: 3.25 (Brian 3, Sean 3.5)
Don’t think I heard Brad or Jeff say his name more than three times during the broadcast; seemed hesitant to involve himself, other than helping out defensively (or at least trying to in the case of Garcia’s goal). (Brian) … Unable to get anything going offensively and needed to help more on defense, particularly when much of the Dynamo’s attack came down the left flank through Brad Davis in the first half. Communication with Soares seemed nonexistent on the stoppage time goal. (Sean)

Dimitry Imbongo – Average Rating: 3.25 (Brian 3, Sean 3.5)
Six games may be a small sample size, but Saturday’s performance proved that some trends aren’t in danger of ending. Those trends: launching wild shots, indecisiveness, and getting the ref’s attention on immature challenges. (Brian) … Had one decent effort from outside the box, but otherwise passing, shooting and decision-making has to improve. Got behind the keeper on one occasion only to stop and hesitate before sending a pass across, allowing a defender to get back and clear. Seemed to get involved in every fracas, picking up an unneeded yellow. (Sean)

Jerry Bengtson – Average Rating: 4 (Brian 4, Sean 4)
Looked to be a force early, despite the limited opportunities. Came up short on the far post Cardenas cross, which he uncharacteristically slid wide. Seems to be having trouble finding a rhythm with a revolving door of forwards beside him. (Brian) … Needed to finish off Cardenas’ cross, which actually may have been the only time he touched the ball in the box all match. After an active start, he struggled to find the ball in the attacking third. (Sean)

(sub) Juan Toja – Average Rating: 4.25 (Brian 4.5, Sean 4)
Fitness still an issue, but wasn’t afraid to mix it up and set some semblance of tone in the Revolution midfield. Yellow card wasn’t at all necessary, but looked like he may have picked up a knock late, limiting his effectiveness with full time approaching. (Brian) … Not a great showing from Toja, who still doesn’t seem fully fit. Looked a bit slow at times, picked up a reckless yellow and continued to take risks with fouls after being cautioned. (Sean)

(sub) Blake Brettschneider – Average: 3.25 (Brian 3, Sean 3.5)
Came off the bench to hand Houston a few more turnovers, it appears. Completely out of sync with his teammates, and his presence didn’t do much, if anything, to help the Revs in crunch time. (Brian) … Held possession on six occasions – turned it over four of them and the other two were back passes in the Revolution’s half. Not a good showing with the Revs looking for an equalizer. (Sean)

(sub) Diego FagundezN/A
Not enough opportunities to measure his performance. (Brian) … Unable to see much of the ball in his short stint. (Sean)

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About Sean Donahue and Brian O'Connell

Sean Donahue has been covering the New England Revolution since 2002 for various publications. He hosted Revolution Recap, a weekly radio program covering the New England Revolution and U.S. Men's National Team from 2005-2008. He is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters, and can be reached via e-mail at nesoccertoday@gmail.com. Brian O'Connell has covered the New England Revolution since 2006, and has written extensively for the Associated Press, Revsnet.com, and New England Soccer News. He is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters, and can be easily reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.