New England Soccer Today

Quick Hits: Revs Edge Sounders Late

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Charlie Davies grabbed the winner from the spot for a short-handed Revolution, who claimed a 2-1 victory over the Sounders in a match that featured a pair of curious refereeing decisions.

Here are some quick thoughts on the penultimate preseason match for the Revolution:

-It was something of a surprise to see Revolution coach Jay Heaps use a lineup packed with regulars against the same opponent they’ll face again in 11 days – and with points on the line. Building cohesion – especially in the rear – is obviously the name of the game during the preseason, so in that respect, in made perfect sense. But to give the Sounders a preview of coming attractions with what could very well be the same lineup we see in Seattle on Mar. 8 seemed outside of norm for a coach like Heaps, who rarely affords his opponent the opportunity to gain the slightest edge whether real or otherwise.

-Diego Fagundez continued his torrid form and may have cemented his spot in the First Kick XI. Stationed on the left with Kelyn Rowe in the center and Juan Agudelo up top, the 20-year-old was everywhere he needed to be, and then some. Channeling his inner Lee Nguyen, he wasn’t shy to drop back and start a deep run, and looked particularly comfortable on the dribble. His only blunder came midway through the second half when he misfired on an absolute sitter.

-Lee Nguyen joined the team in Tucson on Wednesday, but as expected, did not see action as he continues to recover from a groin injury. The creative midfielder, who spent the first half of the preseason in U.S. camp, still hasn’t played a minute of action this winter for the Revolution, and unless he has Wolverine’s healing powers, he probably won’t see the field before camp concludes.

-After missing Saturday’s match due to injury, left back Chris Tierney returned to the pitch on Wednesday. The veteran defender went the first 45 with the rest of the regulars, and didn’t seem to miss a beat.

-Wednesday’s clash marked the first time since the first set of scrimmages that Jeremy Hall received significant minutes with the rest of the first-team back line. During the first two Desert Diamond Cup clashes, the former Toronto midfielder found himself alongside trialists and reserves, indicating that his case for earning the starting right back’s spot wasn’t as strong as it was during the earlier part of the preseason. But with Kevin Alston and Darrius Barnes both healthy, Hall’s inclusion on the First XI is, if anything, a vote of confidence in the converted fullback.

-Much like he did during his squad’s first two preseason matches, Heaps made wholesale changes to his lineup at the half. The only first-half holdovers were Fagundez and Brad Knighton.

-For the second straight match, midfielder-by-trade Marc Fenelus found himself stationed at left back. Normally, you’d expect the left-footed Donnie Smith to slot into that role, but after missing the last two matches, it appears that he may have an injury of some sorts keeping him from seeing the field. Either way, the fact that Fenelus is getting a shot at an area of need can only improve his chances of making the roster.

-Tyler Rudy’s red card in the 57th minute was harsh considering the circumstances. First, the challenge itself was one that looked worse than what it actually was (on the tackle in question, Christian Roldan looked like a stunt-double given how quickly he went airborne). It was a late challenge that probably warranted a caution, to be sure, but the referee didn’t stop there, even though it was a preseason match that essentially pitted the second-teamers against each other. But even though Rudy obviously didn’t need the early exit, he’ll probably take solace knowing that he’s already made the roster.

-Sean Okoli didn’t do anything to hurt his chances to make the gameday roster for Mar. 8. Coming on in the second half, he helped steer the Revolution’s attack with Fagundez and Charlie Davies near. Say what you will about the validity of the penalty he earned after he was fouled in the box in stoppage time – which led to Davies’ winner – but being in the right place at the right time when the game is on the line is probably something that the coaching staff will make a note of.

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