New England Soccer Today

Technically Speaking: #HOUvNE

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Welcome back to the first installment of “Technically Speaking” for the 2016 season. If you’re new to this feature, this is where our very own resident coach and former pro Rick Sewall takes a deeper look into the Revolution’s latest performance.

Have any questions you’d like Rick to address? Feel free to ask away in the comments section below.


As someone who regularly preaches the importance of proper shooting technique, what did you think of Diego Fugundez’s third-minute rocket?

Rick: This goal gives evidence that shooting from outside the area is an important way to score and should be given appropriate attention in practice.

Shooting from 30 yards or more means hitting the ball cleanly with the instep and on target. Any slight mishit will often result in the ball curving violently into a corner of the goal, and this is exactly what happened with Diego’s shot—he hit it a bit with the outside of his foot (or maybe he had a slight curve in his leg swing).

The ultimate goal is to shoot a ball on the volley, as Diego did, but with similar technique when the ball is on the ground (a skill easy to perform once you know how).

Anyway, it was a great shot, and Diego deserves full credit.


On the Dynamo’s first goal, who and what is to blame for allowing Cristian Maidana to easily collect the ball and tap into an open net?

Rick: It is hard to fault any particular Rev player for this flukey goal. More than anything, it was the result of an unfortunate series of events, beginning with a clear DaMarcus Beasley foul on Lee Nguyen in the penalty area that should have set up a potential 2-0 Revolution lead. The series:

Keeper Joe Willis punts the ball to midfield, where Kelyn Rowe might have won a header if he had been more assertive in going for the ball. Andrew Farrell gets beaten when the ball is tipped over his head. Jose Goncalves gets turned around as the ball progresses up the field toward Bobby Shuttleworth, who collides with an onrushing Goncalves, giving Christian Maidana a loose ball and an easy push-in.

I’d tend to chalk this one up to the unfairness of life.


Did the decision to go with Kelyn Rowe as a deep-lying midfielder over Scott Caldwell help or hurt the Revs in the first half?

Rick: I was surprised to see Kelyn Rowe at defensive midfield with Scott Caldwell on the bench at the beginning of the game, and I was pleased when Scott entered the game at the beginning of the second half. I thought Kelyn was unsure of what to do and where to be when playing this unfamiliar position. His lack of experience was partly the reason the Revs were under the gun for the last 20 minutes of the first half. They were statistically outplayed and handed the Dynamo several good scoring chances.

It was evident that Scott had more aplomb playing defensive midfield. He is experienced at both communicating with and coordinating his play with that of the back four. As a result, the Revs were the better team in the second half.


What was the Revs’ most glaring error on the second Dynamo goal?

Rick: On this goal, as with Houston’s first, not one Rev player could be blamed totally. Rather, it resulted from a series of the kind of venial missteps that normally don’t add up to a goal against.

To start, Bunbury was easily dispossessed near midfield by the eventual scorer, Andrew Wenger, who then passed the ball to Ricardo Clark on the wing. Wenger then ran past a totally unaware Gershon Koffie to his eventual scoring position, while, in the meantime, Clark beat Goncalves, and passed to Will Bruin in the center, who in turn passed to an unmarked Wenger, who scored.

I couldn’t help but notice Chris Tierney up the field, uninvolved in the whole scoring sequence. As a member of the back four, his primary job has to be to play defense and to try to keep the opposition from scoring.


What else stood out to you about Sunday’s game?

Rick: Before the Revs’ final goal they showed what they can do as well as any team in the league, which is keeping ball possession and attacking the opposition just outside and inside their penalty area. They were attacking the Houston goal for what seemed like minutes before the well-deserved Daigo Kobayashi header. Awesome display, and it wasn’t the first instance of their showcasing this talent in the second half.

I was also surprised to see Juan Agudelo on the bench for more than half the game. I still say the Revs should put Charlie up top, Juan as a withdrawn striker along with him, Lee behind the two of them, Gershon (or someone else) behind him, Jose behind him, and Andrew behind him, all in a zig- zag formation. Having one of your best goal-scorers on the bench radically reduces your ability to test the opposing back four.

Midway through each half, the thought came to me that the teams were very even, and the fairest score would be a tie. So in that sense, justice was done when Kobayashi headed through the equalizer right before the whistle.

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