New England Soccer Today

Adjustments Pay Dividends in Win

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – In the week leading up to Sunday’s match against Columbus, Revolution coach Jay Heaps had a specific role carved out for one of his most positionally-sound players. But on matchday morning, that plan had to be scrapped.

Not long before Sunday’s kickoff, Revolution midfielder Scott Caldwell came down with the flu, forcing Heaps to improvise when it came to lineup construction.

“All week we trained with Scotty in a certain way,” said Heaps. “He does a lot of good things for us defensively. We had to make that change and we brought Femi [Hollinger-Janzen] in, moved two pieces to make it work.”

Predictably, the Revolution weren’t as sharp, nor particularly organized with the change in place. Crew SC set the tone early, and made their intentions clear in the 20th minute when Wil Trapp played a diagonal ball to Ola Kamara, whose sublime strike put the hosts in a hole early.

“Unfortunately, we just didn’t have enough time to correct everything,” Heaps said. “Ultimately, if you’re a little bit late or somebody’s not in the right spot, they hurt you. So we had to switch that.”

To get his players into the right spots, he did something he’d never done before.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever passed a note, I think, in my career,” Heaps said. “We passed a note on to Diego [Fagundez] and they did a good job switching formations.”

That switch – which tweaked the shape from a 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 – allowed the Revolution to get into better defensive blocks, and better break positions from Heaps’ perspective.

But getting tactically set wasn’t the only mid-match change that benefited the Revolution, who went on to score the equalizer and winner from Fagundez in the first half.

“I think we needed a little bit more energy, and that’s why the guys really picked themselves up.” Heaps said. “I was really proud of that. That we went down, it wasn’t feeling really good. It just didn’t seem right, but then Diego and Kelyn [Rowe], just really started to win some balls [along with] Lee [Nguyen] and Kei [Kamara].”

Heaps admitted that Sunday’s performance “wasn’t the prettiest,” but credited his defenders for holding up their end of the bargain as well.

While Caldwell was able to get a late cameo to help shore up the defense, Heaps’ belief in the front four’s ability to break through – something the Revolution weren’t able to do two weeks ago in Columbus – was no doubt rewarded on Sunday.

“I just felt like if we could just string some passes together on that break, we know they’re susceptible and we were able to do that,” said Heaps. “I think that first goal was what really gave us some confidence.”

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