New England Soccer Today

Time to Experiment?

Should Diego Fagundez see more time on Saturday? (Photo: Chris Aduama/

The New England Revolution’s (6-12-5, 23 points) playoff hopes are all but dead, even if the team manages to win Saturday night against the Chicago Fire (11-7-5, 38 points) at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL. The Revolution have scored just twice in their last six games and haven’t won since July 7. Tomorrow night’s game could be an opportunity to try something new.

Revolution coach Jay Heaps says he plans to shake things up a bit.

“There will be some changes,” Heaps told on Thursday. “I think we’ve made a few changes when we’ve needed to in the last couple of games, but there will be some changes for Saturday.”

With the end of the season approaching, the changes Heaps makes tomorrow could just be experimental. With the Revolution’s postseason hopes realistically gone and 11 games remaining, experimenting may not be a bad idea.

Diego Fagundez and Tyler Polak are among the youngest members of the team and without much playing time thus far this season, it may be the right time to get the pair more MLS experience to help them acheive their potential.

Saer Sene, who leads the Revolution in scoring with nine goals, hit the crossbar last weekend against Montreal but has only scored once in his last seven games, while hardly looking like a clinical finisher in front of net. Though Fagundez has scored just once, a late-winner against Seattle on June 30, he could be a better option — or at least provide a different look to an offense in need of one — at forward given Sene’s drought.

Based on recent line-ups and playing time, either Sene or Fagundez are the likely choices pair with Jerry Bengston at forward. Unlike his club team, Bengston has been in scoring form, notching three goals with Honduras at the Olympics and a goal against Boca Juniors in a friendly on Wednesday.

“Any time a striker scores, it’s good for his confidence,” Heaps said of his Designated Player to “Obviously, we want him to be scoring for us.”

Fagundez and Bengston have yet to combine this season, though the pair could develop a chemistry since both are Spanish-speaking and look like they could do some damage for the Revs in the future.

Heaps could also experiment by having Polak — or if he’s still not ready, Darrius Barnes — start at left back, allowing Chris Tierney to move into left midfield where could help improve the team’s inconsistent service into the penalty area. Polak has made just one appearance this season — coming on as a substitute in the first game of the season — and his ability to play at this level is still unproven. But given that at this point the Revolution have almost nothing to lose, it could be worthwhile to see what the 20-year-old Polak can add to the table.

No matter what group of players Heaps goes with, winning against Chicago will come down to limiting lapses that allow goals and ending the current scoring drought. The Revolution defeated Chicago 2-0 on June 2, a win that came from strong midfield play and solid defending.

That 2-0 victory was the beginning of a five-game winning streak for the Revolution. But that streak has been followed by this seven-game winless run and a serious dip in form. Experiments or not, the idea is to win. And if the Revolution are going to get out of their slump they’ll have to recover their scoring form and establish a dominant midfield.


  1. Risapres

    August 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Once again its time to thank the Rev’s front office and ownership with providing New England’s soccer fans with a highly entertaining and successful season in which money was no object($40.00 to park for the game to Satudays ago) and for filling the roster with top level talent and a payroll to match. We at Bass Pros United Stand behind you!!!!

  2. rick sewall

    August 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Touche,Risapres! Also, something should be done about he midfield, especially the combination of Clyde and Benny. They should be able to play together well now, seeing how they have been on the same roster for quite a while. It is bothersome to hear reports that they are not. Now is when coaching should come in in to improve this situation.

  3. Chris B

    August 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Fagundez yes, Polak no. Fagundez, though younger than Polak, has more experience with the first team and should absolutely be given a chance to show Heaps he can start and, more importantly, score over Sene. Perhaps Diego and Jerry can form a deadly partnership up top?

    I’d save Polak for when we are officially/mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. I’d like to see what he could do partnering Tierney or Nguyen on the left flank. Especially Tierney because Chris could help out Tyler defensively while helping him get forward. Plus, the defense should be as consistent as possible from now until official playoff elimination.

    Other players I’d like to see given a chance/more chances soon: Gavin, Purdie, Nyassi, Imbongo and Lechner.

    • Sean Donahue

      August 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      I see your point about waiting till they are “officially” eliminated, but waiting for mathematical elimination would be a mistake. If they lose tomorrow, their playoff chances, statistically, become 0.1% (down from 0.3% currently). If they lose two in a row, even if they win out (9 in a row), they’d need a heck of a lot of help from other teams. 3 in a row? It’s possible they’re still mathematically in it, but the outrageous combination of results they’d need isn’t worth considering. At that point it’s a waste not to give the rest of the team a run out.

      This team could be “officially” still in it for quite some time, but realistically, once they fail to to take maximum points out of three more games it’s over and should be treated as such. They are already at the point where it would take an unprecedented run by MLS standards to make it.

      • Chris B

        August 17, 2012 at 9:02 pm

        Thanks for those stats. I agree with you. I just don’t like that they’d be essentially “giving up” you know what I mean? I understand your point though; the more experience younger guys like Polak can get, the better and especially now they can technically be playing games that matter (even though we all know we’re not making the playoffs) which only gives them more of an experience.

        There’s also the fact that we don’t want to finish dead last as well but I know Heaps will never field a mostly reserve lineup anyway. I’m okay with him slowly integrating some reserves in now though.

  4. W Peter Jones

    August 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Hey there lets bring the Kid on to play for the Revs he brings a spark to the game when he comes on to the field, I attendeded the Sporting game Mr Heaps had all the revs warming up @ half time behind the Fort goal and bought Diego on for the last 10mins ?What chance does he have to do anything in the match???????????? Bent musket( has an article today regarding BENNY F ie trading him and get some players back for him, he on approx just under $1/2 million to me he is over rated and over paid. He is not worth a USA cap at the moment the only player that may get a USA call up is Lee.?? I am asking all you American fans out there in REVS Land Should the Revs trade BENNY F??

  5. rick sewall

    August 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Trading Benny F is certainly a logical option, but somehow I feel he hasn’t been taught how to play he game properly. He is too obsessed with the through or killer pass. He doesn’t understand that, although you always look for this pass, an element of surprise is critical for it to be successful, and that the simple pass is usually the most effective play. I agree that way he currently performing he should be traded. His attitude and leadership qualities are suspect. Also,I agree that Diego needs more of a chance.

  6. John B

    August 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    It’s not about Benny F’s talent. It’s in his head. He is mentally weak and lets his emotion get the best of him and loses his focus (the turn over last game that turned into a goal).
    If Sene was a decent striker, Lee Nguyen would have been called to the National Team. Lee would have had like 10 assists already this season. One decent player can’t really do much to help this team offensively.

  7. rick sewall

    August 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I totally agree that Benny’s problems are mental. The really disturbing thing is that this situation has been around for a very long time and shows no sign of improvement. No wonder other teams passed on him. It’s a shame because he does some things well.

  8. W Peter Jones

    August 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I think that the REVS were wrong to trade Joseph who was a work horse for the REVS he ran his heart out for the REVS over the years compared what BENNY F brings to the table with the REVS he is a DUD. I hope Mr Heaps keeps Benny F & Rowe on the bench tonight and puts Lee in Benny F spot and Diego up front?? What do we have to loose

  9. rick sewall

    August 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    It is very hard to explain Sene’s slump. He has speed, size, a pretty good left foot,is a fair passer, and has a bag of tricks. I think it is a tendency to get easily discouraged or fatigued.

  10. John B

    August 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Trading Shalrie was the only option they had. Honestly, he is old and not the same player that the fans used to see. It happens in every sport. The Revs have to think about the future. Also there was some conflict with Jay Heaps as we later found out. It was a clean break that had to happen.

    The problem with Benny F is he is trying so desperately to get to the World Cup in his home country of Brazil and when it seems like it is not gonna happen, the disappointment is too much for him to handle. And it has really affected his game.

    Sene is too soft. And he is not the only one. Trust me, it is a bad sign when you are the number one team in the league in terms of fouls commited (the least fouls commited by a team). Fair play is one thing, but physicality wins games. After all, this is a physical sport.

  11. W Peter Jones

    August 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I have been a REVS fan from day one there has been a lot of players that have gone through the doors of Gillete since day one, and if the Revs have kept those players we would have a good team know and still there are a lot of those players still playing in the MLS. A young team does not work , look at Arsenal since they got rid of all the older players have they won any cups lately??? The problem with Benny F he is overated not a great passer of the ball, and gives the ball away to easly in the midfield, what happened last week when BENNY F gave the ball away in midfield,Montreal scored a goal???????????????????

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