New England Soccer Today

Technically Speaking: #COLvNE


*Editor’s note: Similar to last week’s edition of “Technically Speaking,” we’re going with a Q & A format with our coach and former pro Rick Sewall to get his perspective on Saturday’s match in Colorado. Let us know what you think!

First and foremost, what did you think of Juan Agudelo composure and finish on his 18th minute goal?

Rick: No question, Juan Agudelo’s 18th-minute goal was as good as I have seen by any Revolution player. A lot of credit should also go to Kelyn Rowe, whose approximately 40-yard cross was, to say the least, on the money. Rapids defender Michael Harrington was chasing Juan just before the goal, and ended up a half-step too late to possibly block the half-volley shot. I will never forget Juan’s exquisite skill and his opportunistic ability to take full advantage of this minor defensive mistake.

What did you make of the tactical switch, with Agudelo starting on the right and Rowe on the left, then switching sides right before the goal?

Rick: This type of tactical switch is not unusual. I recall Gareth Bale, when playing for Tottenham, frequently switching sides this way. The major purpose of the switch is to create some sort of tactical advantage, like an advantageous 1 v 1 confrontation, by keeping the defenders out of a groove. It certainly worked out well for the Revs this time around. Agudelo’s goal made Coach Jay Heaps look like a genius!

How do you think Andy Dorman performed in Daigo Kobayashi’s absence?

Rick: Andy Dorman did fine in the Revs’ offensive possession game. One caution on defense, though: last year when Jermaine Jones came on the scene, the positional play of the Rev defensive midfielders (mostly Jones and Caldwell) was much more helpful to the back 4 because they positioned themselves 5 yards or so nearer to the defensive line. On Dillon Powers’ point-blank try in the 41st minute, Andy was way up-field, nowhere to be seen. I would play more conservatively when up by a goal.

What did you make of how the backline performed in the second half given how many clear-cut chances the Rapids were able to find?

Rick: The Rapids certainly had their chances in the second half, and the back 4 have to take some blame for this, but don’t discount the mistakes the Revs made late in the first half as well. The Rapids had two excellent chances even then. On Dillon Powers’ wide-open, point-blank try, Farrell was way out of position, and on Gabby Torres’ header in the 46th minute either Jose Goncalves or Andreww Farrell, perhaps even Chris Tierney, could and should have been marking him. In the second half, the Rapids hit the woodwork at least twice, and the Rev defense made several mistakes, fortunately not glaring enough to result in a Rapids goal. Bobby Shuttleworth was man of the match, and for good reason.

What aspect of the way either team played stood out to you the most?

Rick: The Rapids are a team in transition, having brought on twelve new players in an attempt to deal with not winning a game since last July. Their play reflects both this transition and a sense of too much urgency. This can – and did – result in too many mistakes. There is enough talent there to have a decent team, though. Getting another experienced player like Marcelo Sarvas would be a big help. They need to work on their possession game, and that takes a lot of practice. They put in an excellent effort Saturday, a level of effort that usually will result in a team getting a goal or two. If I were a Rapids player I would have been proud of the way the game went, despite the loss.

The only starting-11 Rev player new this year is Juan Agudelo, and he took only a year off from the Revs. This team continuity is helping the Revs immensely, and it showed Saturday, especially in their superior possession game in the first half. The Revs understand each other, and when you combine this understanding with Lee Nguyen’s dribbling talents you get some stellar possession sequences. Generally, the game came to the Revs more easily (except for a few moments in each half), and the Rapids had to work like dogs for everything they got.

Have a question for Rick? Let us know in the comments section, via Twitter (@nesoccertoday) or e-mail (


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