New England Soccer Today

30 Thoughts: #NEvCLT

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

BOSTON – It’s safe to say that Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup clash didn’t exactly go as scripted for the Revolution.

Yes, it took a #SCTop10-caliber strike from Jorge Herrera to pull off the upset for the Independence. But there were many, many other things from Wednesday’s match worth talking about.

Here are 30 thoughts/observations/random tidbits from the Revolution’s stunning loss to the third-tier Independence.

1. Yes, the upset stings, but in many respects, it’s for the best in the long run. Given the absence of Jermaine Jones, and the likely departures of Lee Nguyen and Juan Agudelo for Gold Cup action, did we really, really want to see this team make a deep Open Cup run? If you weren’t impressed by Wednesday’s lineup, imagine what it would’ve looked like during the fifth round (Jun. 30/Jul. 1) or quarterfinal (Jul. 21/Jul. 22)? Better to bow out early, without injury, than to play Russian roulette with your roster with a brutal early-summer league schedule on tap.

2. That said, this was not the kind of performance, regardless of the personnel, the Revolution needed going into a big game against DC on Sunday.

3. Either way, the Independence deserve a tip of the cap for their play. It’s not every day that a lower division side sees out a 1-0 game against a defending MLS conference champion.

4. Donnie Smith at center back. Let’s be honest: It could’ve been a lot worse.

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

5. Jay Heaps on his decision to pair Smith and London Woodberry in the back: “I think with where we are, depth-wise at center back, we just want to make sure with Jermaine (Jones) being out for a little while, we just don’t want to lose a center back right now.”

6. First observation after referee Mark Kadlecik blew the whistle: Independence coach Mike Jeffries fielded a really tall team.

7. Second observation: Revolution coach Jay Heaps fielded a really short team. Woodberry and Okoli may have been the only field players in the XI above six feet tall.

8. Speaking of height, 6-6 Independence defender Patrick Slogic was a beast in the air, and ventured forward plenty. That doesn’t make him an MLS-caliber defender, but it wouldn’t be the worst idea if Heaps spoke to Jeffries about Slogic afterward.

9. The grassy knolls behind each net were definitely missed.

10. Semi-related note: if you think the turf at Gillette Stadium is bad, the stuff the Revolution played on last night made the carpet in Foxboro look like a country meadow.

11. A quick glance at Twitter and Instagram revealed that, thankfully, no one missed that beautiful sunset just after halftime.

12. Props to Jack’s Militia and the Charlotte supporters who made the trip to Harvard. They were relentess thoughout the game, and truly added their own flavor to the game.


13. A hearty round of applause is also in order for the Midnight Riders, the Rebellion and the supporters who brought their A-game for Open Cup fare.

14. Imagine if Kelyn Rowe had actually pulled off that audacious, no-angle chip in the 28th minute…

15. Even without that that spectacular move, Rowe remained his usual Open Cup self on Wednesday.

16. Steve Neumann put together a nice effort, as well. It would not be surprising if we see more of him on Sunday.

17. Take away his 55th minute golazo, and Jorge Herrera was still one of the best players on the pitch Wednesday night.

18. Not to twist the knife any more, but the Revolution were kept off the scoresheet by a defensive unit that consisted of 1. a former Revolution player (Bilal Duckett), 2. a goalkeeper who was called up on an emergency loan (Hunter Gilstrap), 3. a right back who only played three games this year (Ben Newnam), and a 6-6 left back (Slogic).

19. When Heaps inserted Zach Herivaux in the 86th minute in favor of two other players who’d been warming up – Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney – it was obvious the result wasn’t as important as it was at the start of the match.

20. Even so, it was nice to see Herivaux make his debut in front of a large group of friends and family, including former Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph.

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

21. Still no word on whether Shalrie has retired, though.

22. Is it a reach to say that Diego Fagundez, who went 90 minutes on Wednesday, won’t be starting on Sunday?

23. It was also good to see Tyler Rudy get a decent run. He wasn’t a world-beater by any means, but if he continues to progress in Rochester, he could become a valuable contributor before long.

24. Even though it probably wouldn’t have happened even if he was healthy, but it would’ve been fun to see Jermaine Jones out there on the Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium pitch.

25. The fact that Darrius Barnes was seen walking without crutches is a great sign for everyone.

26. Speaking of Barnes, this was the kind of game that was calling his name, a game in which the Revolution sorely missed his versatility, veteran savvy and leadership.

27. Overheard in the media tent after one of Gilstrap’s goal kicks: “My God, I could kick the ball farther than that.”

28. Another noteworthy behind-the-scenes aspect of Wednesday’s match: the superb job done by Revolution Communications. Hosting a game at a place like Harvard can be a logistical nightmare, and team communications ensured the media was informed and well-situated.

29. The energy surrounding Wednesday’s match was much different than it was the first time the Revolution played at Harvard two years ago. Biggest difference (other than the fact that some of the novelty had worn off): the 2013 match pitted the Revolution against a longtime MLS rival (New York), one that fielded a host of recognizable players/villains (Fabian Espindola springs to mind).

30. Still, football in the city just doesn’t get old.

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/


  1. peter

    June 18, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Last night game shows that some reserve player are not up to par I still think to get players to par the Revs need a reserve team if the Revs were playing in a reserve leaugue last night could have been a different result

  2. Seth Macomber

    June 18, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Obviously you’d rather have more depth to use at center back but lots of respect to Donnie Smith.

  3. Brian O'Connell

    June 19, 2015 at 8:25 am

    @Peter, I’m with you 100%. It’s clear the Rochester arrangement isn’t the best way to get the younger guys the experience they need. Hopefully, we see the Revs field a proper reserve team in USL before long.

    @Seth, I think he goes by “Donald” these days 😀 But yes, definitely, good effort by a guy whose experience at CB was limited to a closed-door scrimmage against the Boston Rams.

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