New England Soccer Today

Five Things We Learned: Revolution vs. Whitecaps

Kevin Alston (30) silenced Whitecaps' forward Omar Salgado at length during the Revolution's 4-1 win on Saturday. (Photo: Walter Silva)

You could say that Revolution fans got their money’s worth on Saturday night.

In a display of firepower rarely seen in Foxboro during the last two years, the Revolution racked up four goals – including a SportsCenter Top 10 effort from Lee Nguyen – to pound the hapless Whitecaps 4-1 on Saturday.

So as the glow from the fireworks fades, we contemplate five things we took away from the Revolution’s fourth win of the season.

1. If Lee Nguyen can bottle the edge he played with against his former team, there’s no telling how far he can help carry the attack. Yes, the Whitecaps may have come into Saturday’s game with tired legs. And yes, the squad wearing white may have may not have resembled the unit that blanked its opponents six times already this season. But, Nguyen went off with a fury against his ex-mates. And it wasn’t just the two goals and the assist. It was the way he delivered them. His first goal was a rip that, unlike a few of his previous looks this season, was hit with a certain level of anger. The assist to Sene was classic Nguyen, playing a cheeky ball through to the Frenchman to make it 2-1. Of course, he saved his best for last with the #2 play of Saturday night’s SportsCenter broadcast (A Revolution player on SC? When’s the last time that happened?). If Nguyen can harness that edge – that extra little bit of energy – and stay healthy, there could be more nights like Saturday’s on the horizon.

2. Make no mistake: Although Jay Heaps didn’t throw lighter fluid into the fire in his post-game presser. But, Saturday’s 4-1 win sent a message to the rest of the league. That message: Leave your starters at home and on the bench, and the Revolution have returned to a form that’s capable of doling out some punishment. For all the extra motivation Nguyen may have had against the ‘Caps, it looked like the squad as a whole were looking for a measure of vengeance as well. Why? Well, it turned out Martin Rennie didn’t bring Jay DeMerit and Camilo Sanvezzo for the trip, and proceeded to rest Martin Bonjour as well. Call it a cautious use of resources given the Whitecaps hectic schedule if you want. But to the Revs, it was something else. It was a dose of disrespect. It was a manager taking the Revs a little too lightly. And for that, the Revolution attack unleashed the hounds against the overmatched ‘Caps.

3. Saturday night’s win was another sign that the Revolution are maturing. No team ever intends to allow an early goal. But after Eric Hassli scored the opener in the 5th minute, the Revolution did something that they’ve rarely done: they fired right back. In fact, Heaps mentioned that the Hassli goal jolted his team awake after it opened in caution mode early. Granted, we’ll never know whether or not the Hassli goal truly signaled the Revolution to open the floodgates. But one thing was for sure: the Revolution did the exact opposite of quit. They didn’t hold their heads down. Instead, they got right back on it, they put the ball into the back of the net seconds later. And they did again and again and again. Same old Revs? Not anymore.

4. If the manner in which Saer Sene scored his 24th minute goal is a sign of things to come, expect double-digits from the Frenchman this year. If there’s one thing that haunted Sene through the first quarter of the season, it’s his inability to finish on the dribble. Whether it was against New York, D.C. or Salt Lake, it seemed like he simply couldn’t collect with the ball at his foot. Well, that changed on Saturday. With Nguyen providing a perfect through ball, Sene took it, then buried it without a second thought. If Sene can start doing that with greater frequency, and continue his form on first-time balls, then it won’t be long before the rest of the league is put on notice about the mohawked marauder.

5. For all the focus on the center back pairing, Saturday night proved that Kevin Alston may be quietly putting together his strongest season yet. There’s no question that the pacey right back endured some struggles last season. Sure, there were brief moments – see the game he had against Sporting K.C. on Jul. 30 when he flicked the off the lights on Sporting’s left flank – where he looked like the player that Bob Bradley called into camp a couple of years ago. Well, that very same player may be back. Against Omar Salgado, the fourth-year wingback effectively outmarked the dangerous forward. And it was more than just the way Alston used his speed. Rather, it was the way he used his instincts to jump a pass, muscle him off the ball or dismantle a threat. The former Hoosier has always had the potential to become an elite right back. Now, it looks like he’s in the process of reaching that full potential.

One Comment

  1. rick sewall

    May 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

    The Revs have at least two things that were sorely lacking last year. Nguyen and Sene can both attack defenders on the dribble because of their quickness and skill. Nice to have people who are difficult to stop.

Leave a Reply