New England Soccer Today

Five Things We Learned: #PHIvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

On a night in which Diego Fagundez made MLS history, and the Union did what they do best (i.e. lose), the Revolution seized a 1-0 victory at PPL Park on Saturday.

Yes, the record will show that the original Revolution Homegrown talent reached 25 goals faster (age-wise) than anyone before him. And yes, the match witnessed the hosts drop their league-high 14th defeat, which puts them in prime position for next year’s first overall pick. While the match had its share of nervy moments for Revolution supporters, there’s sure to be few complaints about the final score.

So what did we learn from the Revolution’s third-straight win along the shore of the Delaware River (where Fagundez himself nearly deposited a shot in the early going)?

1. Rustiness wasn’t an issue following another bye week. One of the biggest concerns going into Saturday’s match was whether we’d see the Revolution would come out flat after playing only once in the last three weeks. Led by a number of adventurous forays into the final third by Jermaine Jones, the guests announced their intentions early by orchestrating some dangerous runs. Were there defensive hiccups on the other end of the pitch? Yes, yes there were. But there was little doubt that the attack was anxious to get on the board, which they did just after the break thanks to a well-worked sequence that saw Diego Fagundez score his third goal of the season. Speaking of the skunk-haired wunderkid

2. Giving Diego Fagundez space is a death wish. You would think that a top-flight club like, say, the Union would be well-aware of the danger that lies in allowing Fagundez to roam free. Then again, we are talking about a team that seems to exist for living at the bottom of the table. Not only did they allow the 20-year-old midfielder a free path to the box, but they granted him the opportunity to hit a decent shot once he got there.  If you ever need a reminder why Philadelphia continues to struggle – sometimes against all odds given the talent at their disposal – that goal-scoring sequence is your answer in a nutshell.

3. Scott Caldwell proved to be the unsung hero (again). Jay Heaps has never been shy to sing the praises of his less-heralded Homegrown Player, and with good reason. Caldwell is often relegated to doing mop-up work in the rear, providing cover and clogging passing lanes while others score, celebrate, and lift their shirts to reveal personal messages. On Saturday, it was more of the same for the Braintree, Mass. native, and in a match decided by a single goal, Caldwell’s contributions were vital. Not only did he complete a team-high 89.8 percent of his passes, but he racked up three interceptions while also setting up three key passes. He didn’t earn a spot on the Team of the Week, but he probably would have if Heaps – or anyone who watches soccer in general – had anything to say about it.

4. Juan Agudelo will need to do better against Toronto to get his job back. To be fair, it wasn’t the best forum for the 22-year-old striker to make the strongest push for playing time. Coming on in the 76th minute with a one-goal lead on the road, it wasn’t long before the Revolution were packing it up in the rear, and doing their best to kill the game instead of rejuvenating it. As a result, Agudelo only recorded seven touches, and butchered a golden opportunity to score an insurance goal late. That said, it’s very likely he’ll continue to get opportunity to win his spot in the XI back, but with Kelyn Rowe remaining in strong form, it won’t be easy.

5. Andrew Farrell continues to be the defensive MVP. When we talk about the concept of clutch, it’s often in reference to offense. A player scores a clutch goal, or makes a clutch pass to unlock a stingy defense. But on Saturday, it was a center back whose efforts were crucial to the Revolution’s fourth win over the course of their last five. Farrell connected on 86.7 percent of his passes, collected a team-high five clearances, and picked off four of Philadelphia’s passes. While Fagundez got plenty of accolades for scoring the winner, credit is also due to Farrell for allowing the 50th minute goal to stand as the decider.

Leave a Reply