Making a List, and Checking it Twice

With Christmas upon us, and Jolly Saint Nick presumably putting the final touches on his naughty and nice lists, we decided to follow suit by compiling our own now that the Revolution’s 2013 season is behind us. But with a twist.

The twist? Instead of listing players who’ve been naughty or nice this past year, we’re citing specific moments that may or may not land said players on anyone’s nice list this Christmas.

So let’s take a look at those moments, both naughty and nice.

NAUGHTY: Dimitry Imbongo and those errant elbows at Sporting Park (Aug. 10). The regular season may have just come out of the locker room for the halftime orange slices, but Imbongo had already cemented his reputation as a reckless player. Proof of that existed following home/away red cards at Houston and vs. Houston. So it wasn’t all that shocking when the foul-happy forward saw red against Sporting K.C. To be fair, at least he escorted himself off in the midst of a game that the rest of his teammates had already checked out of by the time he received his 64th minute ejection. (Cue the action at the 4:24 mark.)

NICE: Juan Agudelo scores backheel goal vs. Chicago (Aug. 17). With Imbongo serving his one-game time out for his ejection in KC, the Revolution’s swaggerific striker scored one of the most unreal goals you’ll ever see anywhere. From a long Chris Tierney ball, Agudelo expertly positioned himself as the initial bounce fell toward him and, well, just cue the video….

NAUGHTY: Scott Caldwell scores debut goal, gives D.C. early lead (Sept. 21). It may be harsh to cast Caldwell into a negative light. The rookie authored a commendable campaign, and was a valuable member of the first Revolution team to reach the postseason since 1973 (or at least it felt that way to some). But in the opening moments of the club’s contest against the worst team to grace an MLS pitch, the Homegrown Player inadvertently tapped Luis Silva’s service into his own net. The goal not only gave the worst team in MLS an early lead, but nearly cost his club two points after Lee Nguyen botched his first penalty. Either way, the own goal shouldn’t be an indictment on the player. Rather, just the moment itself.

NICE: Kelyn Rowe’s rockets vs. Philadelphia (Aug. 25). It’s funny to think that only a week before, the sophomore midfielder missed one of the biggest sitter’s you’ll ever see in the sport. With a wide open net in front, Rowe figured out the physics and placed his shot well wide of the post. Fast-forward eight days later and, well, Rowe wasn’t going to miss, even from 25 and 30 yards. Yes, that’s over 55 combined yards of goalscoring grandeur in one evening.

NAUGHTY: Bobby Shuttleworth can’t stop the rain at Sporting Park (Aug. 10). This was just all sorts of bad for Bobby Shuttleworth. Whispers of his generosity on long-distance efforts were starting to reach a yell, and Sporting K.C. not only listened, but they took heed. When the dust cleared on the demolition, Shuttleworth faced three shots, and all three crashed into the back of the net.

NICE: Matt Reis’ postseason heroics at Sporting Park (Nov. 6). Contrary to many postseason predictions, the Revolution marched into Sporting Park for the second leg of the Conference semis with a one-goal lead on aggregate. And immediately after the opening whistle, it looked like that advantage would die a quick death. That was until the Matt Reis of old came through and stopped one shot after another, diffusing threats like he was Jack Bauer or something. It didn’t end the way Revolution supporters had wished – both for Reis, who suffered a career-ending quad injury and the club, which was bounced from the postseason. But let it be known that Reis may have well saved his best for last.

NAUGHTY: Jerry Bengtson can’t find the back of the net with three GPSes (Mar. 16). The Honduran poacher was supposed to be one player the club could count upon to score goals in 2013. It looked that way, too, after he scored the game-winner a week before in Chicago. But in Philadelphia, Bengtson experienced the first of many hijinx that would haunt him all season. He found not one, but two chances to put the Revolution on the board in each half. However, each of those chances went begging, as the rest of them would in 2013. (Cue to the 2:14 and 6:38 marks.)

NICE: Diego Fagundez’s stoppage time strike at Red Bull Arena (Oct. 5). The Revolution really had no business getting a point from this game, yet somehow managed to do just that. While the New York Red Bulls were pitted against their long-time nemesis – the New York Red Bulls – the Revolution stood by and watched until just the right moments. Lee Nguyen capitalized one such moment, and Fagundez on another in stoppage time. Though Tim Cahill ripped the Revolution’s heart right out and put it in a doggy bag before the final whistle, the Fagundez goal gave his club an important point down the stretch.

NAUGHTY: Jose Goncalves presents: “One Touch Too Many vs. Toronto, a musical” (Aug.3 ). The Portuguese international was nothing short of a pillar in the rear, and collected well-deserved honors at the end of the year for his stellar efforts. Yet, no one is perfect – not even Goncalves. With the perennially-terrible Toronto in town, the skipper made a crucial mistake which led to the game-winning goal for the Reds.

NICE: Andy Dorman dusts off the cobwebs vs. Columbus (Oct. 19). You may have needed carbon dating to figure out Dorman’s last start prior to the home finale, but rest assured, the Welshman wouldn’t be denied against the Crew. He may not have scored either of the three Revolution’s goals, but his fingerprints were all over them. Take a look…

NAUGHTY:  Andrew Farrell’s red card against Vancouver (Jun. 15). The top overall pick was bound to make a few rookie mistakes in 2013, and perhaps none was bigger than the one he made in Vancouver. Kenny Miller cleverly snuck in front of the right back, who was forced to make a reactionary tackle inside the 18. That tackle not only cost him the rest of the game, but also murdered the momentum the Revolution were riding after Juan Agudelo and Kelyn Rowe both scored before the 20th minute. Hey, stuff happens – and when it does, it often happens to rookies. (Cue to the 3:05 mark).

NICE: Juan Toja’s free kick masterpiece at Colorado (Jul. 17). There weren’t a ton of memorable moments for the midfield maestro in 2013. Actually, there may have only been one. Here it is.

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About Brian O'Connell

Brian O'Connell serves as editor and staff writer at New England Soccer Today. He's also the Revolution beat writer for ESPNBoston.com, and is Officer at Large for the North American Soccer Reporters. He regularly contributes to The Associated Press, and has been featured on MLSSoccer.com & RevsNet.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianOConnell21 or contact him via e-mail at BOConnell21@aol.com