New England Soccer Today

Quick Hits: Revs Win Preseason Finale

Photo credit: New England Revolution

Photo credit: New England Revolution

Talk about saving their best for last.

In their most complete performance of the winter, the Revolution rolled 3-0 over PDL side FC Tucson in Saturday’s preseason finale at Kino Stadium North.

Here are some quick thoughts and observations from the match:

– As expected, Jay Heaps went with a first-choice XI for Saturday’s contest, though it was who wasn’t included in that selection that had social media abuzz. The most notable exclusions: Jeremy Hall, who’d seen the bulk of the minutes at right back this winter, and Andy Dorman, who shared the field with the first team for much of the preseason. Although a spot in the lineup against FC Tucson doesn’t guarantee a place in the First Kick XI, it’s quite likely there will be a strong resemblance between the two. Barring injuries or a poor week of training, it appears that Kevin Alston and Daigo Kobayashi will man the right back and the deep-lying central midfielder’s spots against Seattle.

-While FC Tucson didn’t get many attacking opportunities against their top-flight opponent, the ones they were able to muster were through the heart of the Revolution defense. Using long balls and quick, incisive passes, Tucson had no fear of throwing themselves headfirst toward Andrew Farrell and Jose Goncalves. Yes, the Desert Diamond Cups hosts ultimately had nothing to show for it. Nevertheless, it was clear that they’d keyed in on an obvious weakness, and at the very least, created some nervous moments for Revolution supporters.

-A few interesting assignments from Saturday’s clash: Newly-signed defender London Woodbury, who’s seen much of his time at center back this winter, got the nod at right back for Kevin Alston before eventually sliding inside. Sean Okoli, who’s seen time as an attacking midfielder, was stationed up top after coming on for Juan Agudelo after Charlie Davies experienced calf tightness ahead of the match. Timi Mulgrew found himself at left back after spending the entirety of his time in the midfield, while Marc Fenelus was back in the central midfield after coming on for Kelyn Rowe.

-If there were any concerns about Agudelo’s fitness keeping him from being ready for First Kick, they were promptly put to pasture on Saturday. Not only did the 22-year-old showcase excellent hold-up play and technique, but he also connected well with Diego Fagundez and, perhaps just as importantly, Kelyn Rowe and Teal Bunbury. Oh, then there was the exquisite sequence in the 35th minute in which he brought down a long ball inside the box, toyed with keeper Keegan Rogers, and ripped a shot destined for the back of the net before a Sebastian Pineda cleared it off the line.

-It’s hard to accurately gauge how close the Revolution are to getting into regular season form against a lower-division opponent. However, there were plenty of developments that suggest the locals are just about there. For starters, the passing was sound and the high-press was evident. Fagundez, who’s been the team’s star in Tucson, continued to make deep runs and play stingy defense, while the interchanging between Rowe, Fagundez and Bunbury was virtually seamless. In fact, Fagundez’s dedication to his defensive responsibilities allowed Chris Tierney to inject himself into the offense frequently. While the defense could’ve been better, crisp passing and sharp runs gave the Revolution a number of opportunities to widen the margin.

-Saturday’s contest was a dual reminder that 1. Agudelo loves to latch onto long balls, and turn them into bonafide scoring opportunities and 2.) Jose Goncalves is all too happy to send those kinds of passes over the top. Agudelo nearly capitalized not once, but twice on such opportunities, giving the Revolution another layer to the attack that simply wasn’t there last year.

Leave a Reply