New England Soccer Today

A New Wrinkle

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Jay Heaps isn’t in any hurry to scrap the one-striker formation, but that didn’t stop him from giving Revolution supporters a glimpse of what many have clamored for during Saturday’s scoreless draw.

For the first time since Juan Agudelo was re-acquired two months ago, Heaps kept the physical forward on the field when he called Charlie Davies’ number in the 62nd minute, putting both strikers in play as the Revolution hunted for the game-winner.

“It was something we worked on,” Heaps said. “Charlie is returning from an injury, so his minutes have to be limited, but he was great all week in training and was buzzing.”

The one-two punch of Agudelo and Davies may not have yielded the goal the Revolution have craved since they kicked off the season in Seattle, but Heaps was nevertheless encouraged by what he saw.

While the presence of both strikers didn’t give the Revolution a 4-4-2 look – the formation many fans have argued for with two talented strikers on the roster – Agudelo’s ability to drift wide opened opportunities for Davies in the center.

“I thought there was some space for (Davies),” Heaps said. “I think we underplayed him a couple of times. Charlie’s got some wheels and he can really open up back fours, and I think a couple of under hit balls. If we’d over hit those he would have been in, and that also allows us to now play Juan.”

Davies’ pace flummoxed the Impact back four, and he was immediately fouled less than two minutes after he entered the match to set up a dangerous free kick.

Like Davies, Agudelo is a striker by trade, but his ability to stretch defenses on the wing was apparent during the Saturday’s match. And after he was neutralized by the Impact back four – who spent much of the match clogging the central channel – a switch to the wing allowed him more space to operate.

“I think (Agudelo) did a nice job when he went out while he was able to occupy a defender,” Heaps said. “We had a lot of play through him once we moved him out wide.”

Although the offense opened up with the duo on the field, neither player was able to record a shot on goal with the Impact committing numbers to the rear, especially after Hassoun Camara was sent off shortly after Davies’ introduction.

“As a striker, I think me and Charlie, we have to have at least two shots a game,” Agudelo said. “I wasn’t even able to get one and Charlie wasn’t even able to get one, so I think that’s an important thing we need to look at.”

That situation should improve once both players return to full fitness, and the attack, which created a handful of chances during the second half, starts to find its rhythm.

“Yeah, things aren’t clicking the right way,” Heaps said. “But I’m not worried yet because I think we’re having chances. I felt like the last two games we were dangerous. We’re missing by inches not by feet. We weren’t dangerous at all in Seattle but the last two games we’ve been dangerous.”

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