New England Soccer Today

A Constant Presence

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With the amount of change that New England has had in its lineup this year, there’s been one constant in the midfield.

Scott Caldwell.

The 24-year-old Braintree native is the lone player on the team to appear in all 29 of the Revolution’s games so far this season, has a team-high 28 starts and leads the club in minutes played with over 2519, nearly 200 more than the next field player.

No matter his partner in the center of the pitch, Caldwell doesn’t seem to miss a step. He’s started 11 games with Andy Dorman (5-5-1) in the middle, 10 with Daigo Kobayashi (5-3-2) and seven with designated player Jermaine Jones (3-0-4). The lone game Caldwell didn’t start was the second of the season in a loss against New York City FC. He subbed on in the 71st minute with the team pushing forward for an equalizer.

And despite the change, Caldwell’s role remains relatively the same. He sits back in more of a defensive role and helps protect with the defense. When the opportunity arrives, he can get forward, as seen with his pair of goals in 2015.

“Scott’s role doesn’t change a ton,” Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. “He sits [back] when Jermaine’s in there and he holds and protects and plays really well. I think Daigo’s role is a little more offensive if Scotty is in there with him, he knows he can he find a little bit. If it’s Jermaine and Daigo then it’s Daigo that sits a little bit more. We really like the way we have that midfield balance and each one has a little different role when they’re around.”

One small change to his role in Wednesday night’s 2-1 over New York Red Bulls was due to the absence of Jones.

“There’s not a lot different,” Caldwell said about his role. “We don’t have Jermaine to win air balls so you can probably see that as a difference.”

Although Caldwell didn’t necessarily win the majority of his aerial challenges, he took on more of a role in doing so. It paid off for the Revolution.

In the 65th minute, a corner kick from Kobayashi was punched clear by New York keeper Luis Robles. Caldwell then sprinted to the loose ball and beat Lloyd Sam to the punch and sent a header back into the area. That header forced Kemar Lawrence to stand his ground at the six yard box and head it clear. That header deflected off of London Woodberry and right back to Caldwell, who hit a one time through ball with his left foot to find a wide open Kelyn Rowe behind the defense. Rowe buried his chance, which proved to be the game-winner.

And with Rowe so wide open behind the defense, the obvious first thought was that he was offside.

But he wasn’t and that’s because Lawrence had to stay home to deal with Caldwell’s header and he was the lone player to keep Rowe onside and allow him in for the winner.

“Luckily the ball came back to me and Kelyn was in a great spot,” Caldwell said, admitting he didn’t see Rowe at the far post. “I wasn’t shooting it, I’m not going to finish one from there but I didn’t know he was going to be there, I was hoping. He made a great run, he was very opportunistic.”

When partnering with Kobayashi, Caldwell still stays back in a more defensive role but knows that some more responsibilities may fall to him.

“I just know I have to go up for more,” Caldwell said. “If there’s a loose ball and I think have a chance at it I’m always going to go up for it. I always have to be ready for that.”

And beyond the assist on the game-winning goal, Caldwell provided stability to a defense that saw two outside backs making their first appearances since early July.

New York was entering the game with 11 goals in their previous four matches and with 21 goals combined from their starting midfield — and 34 assists on top of that — it was a tall task for Caldwell and the Revs back four.

“It’s tough but we just have to keep our on ball defending tight so they can’t get a service off,” Caldwell said. “I thought our outside backs and outside mids did a great job at that. And when it did get in the middle, besides their goal, we were able to protect our goal.”

“I thought tonight was really good especially against an excellent midfield,” Heaps added. “I really respect the way New York’s midfield moves. I mean Dax McCarty and Felipe, and Sacha has a lot of freedom and those guys are a good midfield, as good as it gets in this league.”

New England has now won six straight games, becoming the first team in MLS to do so in 2015. In that stretch, the team has scored 14 goals while just surrendering three goals.

“We’ve all been playing together so much all season really,” Caldwell said. “We’re all in training and we’re out there together. We can play with anyone in there and we’re comfortable.”

Caldwell and the Revolution have yet another quick turnaround as they travel north to take on Montreal on Saturday.

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