With captain Shalrie Joseph and starting right back Kevin Alston sent back to Boston for undisclosed disciplinary reasons, the New England Revolution were forced to try some new players in their positions in Monday’s preseason exhibition against a team of U.S. U-17s at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. While several players were required to step into new spots and the Revs went without a captain, substitutes Chris Tierney and Pat Phelan managed to convert off of two second-half set pieces to give the Revs a 2-0 victory against their youthful opponents.
New England finally broke the deadlock and took the lead in the 68th minute through Tierney, who came in as a second half sub in the center of the midfield for the Revs. Fellow sub Zack Schilawski was taken down at the edge of the box to earn a dangerous free kick and Tierney stepped up, curling a shot, untouched, into the net to give the Revs a 1-0 lead.
He would combine with his partner in the midfield, Phelan, five minutes later to double that lead. This time Tierney curled a corner kick into the box, where Phelan headed it into the back of the net to finish the scoring.
The Revs featured a starting XI almost entirely different from the line-up that began their 2-0 victory over the University of Central Florida on Friday. Matt Reis again got the start in goal, but center back Darrius Barnes was the only other holdover from Friday. He was joined in the defense by left back Seth Sinovic and natural midfielders Roberto Linck, a second-year unsigned player, and Stephen McCarthy, a rookie, playing out of position at right and center back, respectively.
Sainey Nyassi got the start at right midfield, while forward Kheli Dube was slotted as a center midfielder. Unsigned rookies Andrew Sousa and Fernando Cabadas joined them, with Cabadas playing as a left midfielder. Up top, two more unsigned rookies, Steven Perry and Alan Koger, made their preseason debuts.
The U-17s, meanwhile, with most of their top players at the U-17 CONCACAF Championship, had a makeshift squad of their own.
The Revs attack was held to just a few opportunities in the first half, but an early shot from distance from Perry threatened to open the scoring only for a U-17 defender to clear it off the line.
The Revs overhauled their entire line-up at halftime with Bobby Shuttleworth coming in for Reis in goal. Didier Domi, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane, and Zak Boggs made up the defense in the second period. Tierney and Phelan were joined by Marko Perovic and unsigned rookie Ryan Kinne in midfield. Schilawski partnered with Ilija Stolia up top.
While the team looked more dangerous offensively in the second half after the wholesale changes at halftime with Tierney, Phelan, Stolica, Schilawski, and Kinne particularly active, it took until the two set pieces in the final half hour of the match for the Revs to find the back of the net.
New England’s final match of their Orlando trip takes place on Wednesday at 11 a.m. against FC Dallas at ESPN Wide World of Sports. The Revs will then return to Foxboro, where it is unclear whether Joseph and Alston will rejoin the team, before heading to Atlanta on Thursday, March 3rd for three more preseason matches.