Alec Purdie and Shalrie Joseph scored as the New England Revolution defeated Boston College, 2-1, on Wednesday afternoon.
Purdie opened the scoring in the 28th minute, but the Eagles equalized just five minutes later thanks to some sloppy defensive play by the Revs. Joseph would score the winner seven minutes into the second half.
“I think we struggled a little bit at times today,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “We kept possession, but we didn’t really break anyone down today.”
The Revs started the match with Matt Reis in goal behind Chris Tierney at left back, Kevin Alston on the right and Darrius Barnes and Stephen McCarthy in the center. Shalrie Joseph and Benny Feilhaber played in the center of the midfield with Rookies Kelyn Rowe and Alec Purdie on the wings and Fernando Cardenas partnering trialist Blake Brettschneider up top.
Injuries or illness made Zak Boggs (ankle), Ryan Guy (calf), Ryan Kinne (illness), John Lozano (adductor), Sainey Nyassi (hamstring), and A.J. Soares (knee) unavailable for the match.
The Revs got off to a fairly slow start with a couple of shots from Purdie – one comfortably saved by Justin Luthy and one sent wide of the post – the only offensive moves of note in the opening 15 minutes.
Brettschneider, who joined the team on trial this week, nearly found the back of the net in the 18th minute, getting on the end of a cross from the right wing. The former D.C. United forward saw his header saved in impressive fashion by Luthy.
“[Brettschneider’s] a strong kid,” Heaps said. “You could see he can hold it up at times. We just don’t have that physical presence right now up top, so we’re taking a long hard look at him. We wanted to see him in a lot of situations today, which he put himself in, and I thought he did well.”
Purdie, a 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft pick, would finally make the breakthrough for the Revs in the 28th minute after some impressive work by Rowe. After a nice combination with Alston, Rowe played Purdie into the box, where he finished with a powerful shot inside the far post.
But the lead wouldn’t last long. Five minutes later BC’s Diego Medina-Mendez broke free of the Revolution defense and sent a shot that Reis got his hands to, but saw it slip though his grip and bounce into the net.
“Some of the bad moments you don’t always see that in a bubble or in a training facility,” said Heaps. “When you get on a field and they are five, ten yards out of position, you can see it clearly out here and that’s good. I think now is the time when we need to get these things sorted.”
Cardenas nearly put the Revs back ahead just a couple minutes after the Eagles’ equalizer, breaking behind Boston Colleges’ defense. The Colombian attacker sent a shot on frame towards the far post, but Luthy was there to make another impressive save.
Heaps would switch things up at half time bringing on Clyde Simms, Blake Wagner and Bobby Shuttleworth for Cardenas, Purdie and Reis, respectively. Wagner moved to left back with Tierney starting on the left while Simms joined Joseph and Feilhaber in the midfield, leaving Brettschneider alone up top.
“We wanted to get Clyde [Simms] on the pitch playing in front of the back four just to see him fit in,” said Heaps. “That helps Shalrie [Joseph] be able to do what Shalrie did and that’s get in the box.”
The move seemed to have worked wonders in the 52nd minute when an unmarked Joseph pressed forward and got on the end of a cross from Rowe to head in the winning goal from close range.
“With the system changing [at halftime] and me switching and advancing to an attacking position, it allows me to get forward and that’s what the goal comes from,” said Joseph. “Kelyn played a great ball in and all I had to do was finish it and I did that.”
The Revs brought on Diego Fagundez, who turned 17 on Tuesday, for Feilhaber at the hour mark and the Leominster native nearly added to the Revs tally five minutes later after getting behind the defense. Fagundez was denied by Luthy, but the rebound fell to Tierney, who couldn’t keep his shot on frame.
“I thought Diego did a lot of nice little things tonight,” said Heaps. “There are some days where he’ll make mistakes – he’s young – but there are times when his awareness is top class.”
Zack Schilawski, Tyler Polak, Kenny Mansally, Supplemental Draft pick Michael Roach, and trialist Gabe Mercier all saw time as late substitutes.
The match is the team’s last scheduled scrimmage before the Revs head to Arizona for the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup featuring the MLS Cup Champions Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake. The Revs kickoff the tournament on Wednesday, February 22nd, at 8PM EST, against the Galaxy.