New England Soccer Today

Five Things We Learned: #NEvSJ

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

It’s not often that Week 4 contests are worthy of the “instant classic” designation. But Saturday’s Revs-Earthquakes clash will probably go down as one of the more memorable early-season matches we’ve seen in recent years.

Combine the elements, the way all three goals were scored, and the yellow ball (!) and you’ve got yourself the kind of clash that you’ll be telling your grandkids about. Okay, maybe just your already-born kin. Now, if a tractor had come on the field at some point, or some sort of obscure rule had come into play…

With the drama firmly embedded into minds, and the frostbite still lingering in our fingers, let’s plow right into what stood out the most from a rare March-time classic.

1. BREAKING: The Goncalves-Farrell pairing isn’t a lost cause. Yes, the early reviews weren’t promising. Three goals in Seattle, and two more in New York City. At the time, it looked like only two things could’ve helped the situation: 1. a lot of money or 2. a time machine. Since the Revolution used option one on Jermaine Jones, and the technology for option two doesn’t yet exist, all that the club was left with was to cross its fingers and hope for the best. On Saturday, it looked like those crossed digits were starting to work. The duo wasn’t perfect, but at least they looked like they resembled a pair of center backs who’ve met each other in person, a refreshing departure from the first two debacles. They also got bonus points for keeping the ‘Quakes off the board from the run of play. Time will tell if the partnership proves successful, but for now, it no longer looks like the Revolution are going to concede 2,937 goals this year.

2. Scott Caldwell continues to play like a guy who doesn’t realize he’s 5-8. For the second straight week, the diminutive defensive midfielder performed with the verve of someone who found his car on blocks before heading up to Gillette. After tussling with the likes of Maxim Tissot and Eric Alexander, he wasn’t afraid to mix it up with Clarence Goodson, who’s like seven feet taller than him. And that tackle on Goodson to set up the PK? If there was such an award for foul of the week, that would’ve won it, handily. Perhaps it’s just the residue of hanging around with Jermaine Jones. Or maybe it’s something else. Either way, Caldwell has provided some brute force in the midfield while Jones recovers, and you know what? We don’t hate it. We don’t hate it at all.

3. Sometimes, all you need is a little help from a San Jose defender. After allowing its chances to be senselessly destroyed during the first three weeks, it only stood to reason that the first Revolution goal would come from a fortuitous deflection. A deflection that froze an already frozen David Bingham. We’ll never know if Kelyn Rowe’s 21st minute shot from the corner of the box was going to fall into the back of the net without the aid of Shaun Francis’ forehead. Unless, of course, we can somehow slide to an alternate universe like Jerry O’Connell (no relation) used to do on that FOX sci-fi series. Either way, the visual record will show that, for the second year in a row, a member of the Earthquake backline aided in the procurement of goal no. 1 for the Revolution.

4. Daigo Kobayashi was no ‘Player X’ on Saturday. The Japanese midfielder probably won’t get his own bobblehead, nor will you see him prominently featured on a Revolution billboard anytime soon. But that doesn’t appear to phase Kobayashi in the least. With Jones out, Kobayashi has been remarkably consistent, and that was especially evident on Saturday. Not only did he win the ball that led to Rowe’s opening goal, but his passing accuracy rate was 93 percent, which was actually down from 97 percent at one point in the game. Heaps said that Kobayashi’s contributions have been especially evident in the last three games. The only shame is that once Jones does return, the former Vancouver midfielder is likely headed back to the bench.

5. We may have to wait awhile to see Diego Fagundez in the XI again. It may not have been the biggest surprise when the lineup was released, but the fact that Fagundez wasn’t included can’t be a good sign. While Heaps has said many times this year that he won’t be afraid to change personnel on a week-to-week basis to maximize the matchups, the fact that Fagundez hasn’t been great during the last two games may have had something to do with that absence. And when he didn’t come off the bench in the latter stages? True, Fagundez isn’t a defensive dynamo, and so putting him into match where the object is lead preservation probably doesn’t make sense. Then again, his absence from Saturday’s win begs the question as to whether we’re watching the Fagundez of 2014 reappear.

One Comment

  1. Chris B

    March 30, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Apparently there is a personal reason re: Fagundez that likely affected his play/benching. It’s obviously something that shouldn’t be spoken of out of respect for privacy, but I’m vaguely referring to it because it potentially provides somewhat of an answer to question number 5.

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