New England Soccer Today

Technically Speaking: #NEvTOR

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Welcome back to another edition of “Technically Speaking,” where our very own resident coach and former pro Rick Sewall takes a deeper look into the Revolution’s latest performance.

Have any questions you’d like Rick to address? Feel free to ask away in the comments section below.

The biggest change to the Revolution lineup was the return of Jose Goncalves to the backline. How do you think he played in his first game back?

Rick: From the standpoint that the Revs’ defense allowed only one goal, one could say that Jose played pretty well, but I thought he occasionally looked unassertive, especially when confronted by the likes of Sebastian Giovinco and Michael Bradley. This situation can occur when a player has not been as involved in the game as he was previously (Jose hasn’t started for over a month). This unease was especially apparent in the 6th minute when Giovinco hit the post with a shot, and Jose responded too slowly to effectively contain him. Jose also missed a chance to tackle Bradley on his 52nd minute goal. He should have at least tried to do so instead of just standing in front of the middle of the goal.

Andrew Farrell’s energetic play helped to mask Jose’s indecision for much of the game.

Too bad Jose’s third-minute scoring chance was stopped by the woodwork.


It seems like the Revs’ inability to convert their chances, especially late, is becoming an ongoing theme. How surprised were you to see the Revs watch those chances waste away?

Rick: Pele was once asked about the possibility of making the goals bigger to increase scoring. His response was that a better way to solve this problem was for players to practice more.

Much as I would generally second that sentiment, I wouldn’t particularly fault the Revs for not converting more in this game. Soccer is essentially low-scoring. Teams average about a goal and a half per game (much to the chagrin of a large percentage of the potential American audience). Typically, I figure it takes about five or six good chances to get a goal.

Both teams set up excellent scoring chances from beginning to end of the game. I counted about nine prime scoring opportunities for the Revs, and about eight for Toronto. Giovinco failed to convert several times, especially when he hit the post in the sixth minute. Michael Bradley was alone with the ball and only Bobby Shuttleworth to beat in the fourth minute but couldn’t score. For the Revs, the most notable late-game misses were Andy Dorman’s in the 85th minute and Diego Fagundez’s in the 93rd minute.

If I were to pick the score I thought the two teams most deserved, I would probably say 3-2, Revs. But in soccer, you can’t be surprised when the breaks don’t fall the way you think they should.


Just after the hour, Jay Heaps took out Jermaine Jones in the 63rd minute due to what he called “a combination of fitness and a bit of an injury.” Jones did not seem to be thrilled with coming out early, as he ran straight to the locker room rather than sit on the bench. What do you make of Jones’ response to the sub?

Rick: The only thing I can say for sure here is that no competitive player wants to be removed from a touch-and-go, hard-hitting, tie-game situation. It’s tempting to speculate about Jones’s odd beeline to the locker room, especially given Heaps’ cagey non-explanation for the early substitution. But the only way to answer this question would be to know a lot more than I do about Jones’s injury, and about the many factors that might have influenced Heaps’s assessment of how to get the most out of his 33-year-old star with the Kansas City game coming up in just four days.


Heaps has singled out Diego Fagundez for praise during the past two weeks. How would you assess the way Fagundez played off the bench on Saturday?

Rick: Diego did OK coming off the bench. In the 11 or so minutes he played in this game, with a mob of Toronto guys plugging up their penalty area, he still nearly connected (though he didn’t) with several killer penetrating passes. I also give him credit for getting in position for that final scoring chance. Too bad it didn’t work out!


What stood out the most to you about Saturday’s game?

Rick: Michael Bradley’s play. I generally think of Bradley as a basic knock-off midfielder, just a little lacking in attacking creativity. Not so in this game. Saturday he augmented his normal possession game with several delicate penetrating passes that resulting in good scoring chances for Toronto. His 52nd minute goal came off an exciting run that exposed weak tackling by Scott Caldwell and Teal Bunbury. Bouncing the ball off Chris Tierney’s shin may or may not have been on purpose, but it worked (interestingly, this was one of Pele’s very deliberate ploys). Even though the Revs had more possession in this game than Toronto, Bradley’s midfield play stood out. By my book, he and keeper Chris Konopka were tied for man of the match.

The old man should be proud of him.

Leave a Reply