New England Soccer Today

Five Things We Learned: #NEvVAN

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

On Saturday, about 400 miles to the west of Foxborough, the Revolution’s USL affiliate in Rochester gathered a healthy collection of ex-Rhinos players for an exhibition match dubbed “The Legends Game.” Naturally, it was a hit for everyone involved. This, of course, begs the question – when will the Revolution orchestrate a Legends Game of its own?

Picture the scene: Steve Ralston, Taylor Twellman, Matt Reis, Joe Franchino and, heck, even Shalrie Joseph, all on the same field in Revolution uniforms, and kicking the ball around. The sight of Steve Nicol and Paul Mariner on the sidelines would certainly evoke memories, as well. And what about the possibility of some surprise appearances? Can anyone honestly say they’d hate seeing Alexi Lalas and Beto Naveda come on as second half subs?

MLS is celebrating its 20th anniversary this season, and to its credit, the Revolution have done well to remember some of its past stars like Franchino and Joe-Max Moore. But taking it to the next level – i.e. a legends game or testimonial – would be epic. After 20 seasons, the Revolution are no longer the new kid of the block. They’re not upstarts anymore. They’ve established a rich history over these last two decades. And the time is now to give that history its proper due.

Speaking of legends, Joe-Max was at Saturday’s Revolution-Whitecaps match, and like many supporters, took issue with Allen Chapman’s penalty call given to Vancouver (“A terrible PK decision, in my opinion.”). With the book closed on Saturday’s match, let’s examine what we learned – other than the fact that Chapman won’t be a popular choice to officiate any potential Legends Game in Foxborough.

1. The Revolution may have had their moments, but they still fell short of putting together a complete effort. Say what you will about Farrell’s red card, the penalty call, or the general absence of consistent officiating, but it’s worth remembering that during the first 28 minutes, the Whitecaps were still the better team. Even without Pedro Morales, the Whitecaps’ passing and off the ball movement was impressive, and both kept the Revolution on their heels during the first half hour. Yes, it may have helped that the Whitecaps were no stranger to playing on turf. And yes, the Revolution were playing their third game in seven days. However, the Revolution should’ve been better at home, where they’d gone unbeaten in their previous 17 regular season matches. Instead of making it a fortress, the Revolution made Gillette Stadium a pillow fort for the Whitecaps.

2. It’s officially official: the Revolution are in another summertime slump. It was no secret that the Revolution’s form was on the rocks even before Saturday’s match. They’d dropped eight of their last nine league games, and their only victory during that span came against the USL-quality Chicago Fire. Even so, they still had one thing going for them: their unbeaten mark at home. Then, Saturday happened, and it was farewell to that successful run, their last bastion of hope against the slide. Now that the Revolution have shown they’re beatable at home, the annual summertime slump is officially in effect. And with road games against FC Dallas and the Red Bulls on tap, it doesn’t look like it’ll come to an end during the next two weeks.

3. The coaching staff has to do a better job to prepare its players. There’s an old saying in sports that players win games, and coaches lose them. That, of course, is not always true, but you have to think that the players aren’t the only ones that need to do better during this rut. After the match, Jay Heaps said that he and the team has stick to the process to get out of their slump. That’s all great and well, but “the process” that Heaps often refers to isn’t perfect. It has obvious flaws, as evidenced by the fact that we’re witnessing the third summertime slump in the last four years. There’s something commendable about keeping your head up when the chips are down, staying the course, and taking each week, each half, and each play one at a time. Those are all great concepts. But concepts alone aren’t going to right the ship. At some point, the staff may want to contemplate what it needs to do better instead of simply adhering to what has repeatedly failed them once the summer months arrive.

4. Diego Fagundez may have looked good at home in recent weeks, but he was a non-factor on Saturday. Given the well-deserved praise that Fagundez has received for his stellar play at home as of late, it wasn’t a shock to see him get the start on the right side of the midfield over Juan Agudelo. With the Revolution pitted against a side in the midst of a five-game road trip, this should’ve been the type of game Fagundez would’ve thrived in – at least on paper. But even though the Whitecaps parked the bus to protect their two-goal lead, allowing plenty of chances for the Revolution to attack, Fagundez failed to make an impact. On a positive note: he still rocks the blonde-streaked mohawk well.

5. The organization should file a complaint with MLS to avoid a reprisal of Saturday’s game. After the game, Heaps told the media that the staff was well aware of Chapman’s history with the Revolution. Prior to Saturday, Chapman called three penalties against the club in his last two matches, including two alone in a 2-1 loss in Salt Lake last summer. In light of that, and what happened on Saturday, the organization would be wise to petition the league to keep Chapman off their remaining slate of regular season games. After all, the last thing most soccer fans east of I-90 want to see is another episode of the Allen Chapman Show.

2 Comments

  1. Adrian

    June 30, 2015 at 10:06 am

    I thought Diego actually had a very decent game. Towards the end of the match he was almost playing alongside Caldwell, picking up the ball and moving it up the field pretty well.

  2. pauloblitzz

    June 30, 2015 at 10:30 am

    I think the team is getting frustrated with it all and is going to snap out of this funk soon. They’re at risk of dropping in the standings a lot if they don’t that’s for sure.

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