New England Soccer Today

23 Things We Learned This Winter

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The preseason is over.

Now that all the scrimmages, sun-splashed practices, and Desert Diamond Cup matches are in the books, it’s time to reflect on what’s transpired during the past six weeks, and what we learned during it.

1. After accumulating 278 minutes in the rear and 0 minutes in the midfield, it’s safe to say Jeremy Hall’s primary position is right back.

2. It’s amazing what the call-up to Uruguay U-20s camp has done for the confidence of one Diego Fagundez.

3. No target forward controversy here: Juan Agudelo is the starting striker.

4. Jay Heaps won’t be afraid to flip-flop Kelyn Rowe and Diego Fagundez between the wing and central midfield when it comes time to scribble down the lineup.

5. The competition for spots in the 18 is as high as it’s ever been during the Jay Heaps era.

6. Even with the addition of London Woodberry, the Revs are still lagging in their search for defensive depth.

7. The connection between Agudelo and Fagundez was impossible to ignore. And if Agudelo and Kelyn Rowe can also re-establish the chemistry seen in 2013, all three could have career years.

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

8. Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen’s absences may have been blessings in disguise, as they allowed Fagundez, Rowe and even Daigo Kobayashi to elevate their games.

9. Meanwhile, A.J. Soares’ departure was evident from the first to final preseason games.

10. There’s no question that Andrew Farrell is capable of playing the center back spot, and he proved that last season. But getting on the same page with Jose Goncalves has proven to be a difficult exercise.

11. Injuries opened even more opportunities for Tyler Rudy and Marc Fenelus, the former signing with the Revolution right before Saturday’s preseason finale. Although Fenelus remains unsigned, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him to stick around given his versatility and pace.

12. Despite all the talk of mixing and matching the front four, it doesn’t appear that Heaps is anxious to put Charlie Davies and Juan Agudelo on the field at the same time. Nor is he going to tailor his formation to accommodate that idea, as intriguing as it sounds.

13. Donnie Smith still dominates during the preseason, and it was a shame to see an injury cut it short.

14. Given how well Rowe and Fagundez played this winter, it’s a shame that their minutes are at risk once Jones and Nguyen return.

15. Even though the Revolution finished the winter with a winning record, it was clear this that getting preseason results wasn’t quite as important as it was in previous years under Heaps.

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

16. There are more questions – mostly good ones, mind you – than there were at the start of camp after Fagundez, Rowe and Agudelo dazzled.

17. After Agudelo was re-acquired, Sean Okoli needed to have a strong camp, and he did by scoring two goals (tied for tops on the team along with Charlie Davies) and involving himself in the attack whenever the opportunity was presented.

18. No one wanted to see it: even though he’ll get opportunities to contribute, the truth is Charlie Davies, who was sensational during the postseason last year, has lost his spot in the lineup.

19. Given how smoothly things have run down in Tucson over the years, it’s a wonder that the Revolution even bothers to conduct a portion, albeit a small portion, of its preseason in Foxborough.

20. Whether it was the intended effect or not, the absence of names on the back of the kits this winter speaks to an old school idea: each player has to earn the right to have his name on his jersey.

21. The fact that Revolution U-16 forward Justin Rennicks was called into camp speaks volumes on how high the organization is on both his talent and mental makeup.

22. One aspect of Nguyen’s absence that might be concerning is that he didn’t get the opportunity to get minutes with Agudelo on the field. Given that Nguyen and Davies were essentially partners in crime late last year, there could be some growing pains in that department.

23. This team – even with seven open roster spots – is more talented than the one that came inches away from lifting the MLS Cup trophy last year.

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

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