New England Soccer Today

Opinion: Betu Should Start Saturday

Will Betu get the start tomorrow? (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/aduama.com)

Since signing with the Revolution on July 30th, Roberto “Betu” Linck has made only three appearances, all as a late game substitute. In fact, Betu’s first two appearances came as a substitute in the 80th minute or later, hardly providing enough time to see what the 22 year-old midfielder is capable of.

Wednesday’s SuperLiga Final finally gave Betu more of a chance to prove he belongs on the field. Unlike his first two appearances when he came on to help the Revs secure one goal leads, Betu entered the SuperLiga Final with the Revs needing an offensive boost to come back from a deficit.

Betu substituted in for Kheli Dube in the 70th minute, the earliest he had entered a game all season and the first time he made an appearance at right midfield. Playing on the right allowed Betu to use his preferred right foot for crossing and show glimpses of his capabilities at a position the Revs are lacking in depth.

“I feel comfortable, of course, on the right using my right foot,” said Betu after the match. “On the left side I can cut it in to my right foot, so either way [I feel comfortable].”

The young Brazilian did well to help the Revs keep possession going forward and nearly assisted what could have been a last minute equalizer. After getting the ball near midfield deep into stoppage time, Betu was quickly converged upon by two defenders. His first attempt at a cross was blocked, but undeterred, the former Gremio youth player got the ball back and got off a long cross that found a wide open Cory Gibbs in the box.

“At the time I just wanted to get the ball in the box,” he said. “It was like 90 minutes, we had like maybe one minute left. My mentality, I was like ‘man, I need to get this ball into the box’. The ball came into me. I had my back to the goal and I tried to turn. My left foot, I didn’t get it, and the second time I just put it in there and for a second I thought it was a goal.”

Gibbs’ shot was saved, but in his 20-plus minutes, Betu had done enough to earn himself more playing time.

With Sainey Nyassi away with the Gambian National Team, the Revs are temporarily left with a gaping hole at right midfield. Head Coach Steve Nicol made the right decision in not moving around another starter, such as Marko Perovic, to fill the role. Instead Nicol kept his usual starters in their best roles and gave forward Kheli Dube the start at right midfield.

Dube did a decent job filling in, making a couple of nice runs down the middle of the field before being substituted in the 70th minute. He did not, however, provide the width and crosses from the right flank the Revs have come to expect from Nyassi.

Betu, in his limited minutes, showed he was able to get the ball in a tight space and deliver a dangerous cross, even if it was only once.

Nicol has shown confidence in Betu by inserting him into matches with the Revs both holding on to slim leads and needing an offensive spark. Now it’s time for Nicol to show the confidence in Betu to give him his first start.

One Comment

  1. David Akman

    September 3, 2010 at 10:56 am

    In the absence of Nyassi, it would be a great opportunity to slot Betu into the midfield. This season is quickly slipping away and they need a spark to see if they can turn this around at the wire and if not at least they will gain valuable knowledge if he can play at this level next season.

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