New England Soccer Today

Five Things We Learned: #NEvTOR

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Do the Revolution absolutely need to make a move before the close of the transfer window on Thursday in order to make another late-season push? If recent history is any indication, then the answer is a hard and fast “no.”

In the last five years, the Revolution have acquired three players during the summer transfer window: Milton Caraglio, Jerry Bengtson and Dimitry Imbongo. Yeah, those guys. Clearly, what’s come through the window for the Revolution hasn’t exactly translated to greater success down the stretch.

It may not be sexy to watch the window close without a new player coming through. But it’s worth noting that Jermaine Jones – easily the best summertime signing in club history – was signed after the close of the window.

That said, the more important deadline for the Revolution is probably the Sept. 15 roster freeze deadline. No doubt the locals could use another defender or two, and as well as another striker, before the postseason race starting heating up.

Time will tell whether Revolution general manager Michael Burns has something up his sleeve. But it won’t be long before we find out, whether that’s before Thursday or next month’s roster deadline.

In the meantime, let’s take a gander at what we learned from Saturday’s match against the Reds.

1. Charlie Davies erased any doubt about the need for a potential switch at striker. Going into Saturday’s match, Davies hadn’t scored in over a month, and some were wondering whether it was time to give Juan Agudelo a go up top. So Davies did what any good striker would do in his position: he quieted the critics with a strong performance. Not only did Davies score in scrappy fashion, but he also scored a poacher’s goal later on to remind us that he’s not going anywhere. For weeks, Davies had put in the hard work behind the defense, attempting to open it up. Time after time, he’d make the run, or take the abuse, and get little in return for it. But on Saturday, when the opportunities were there for the taking, the veteran striker did well to pounce on them.

2. Fortune favors the bold, and Jay Heaps proved that when he started Kelyn Rowe over Teal Bunbury. It’s fair to say there were a few raised eyebrows when the lineups were announced and Kelyn Rowe was on it. After all, the fourth-year midfielder had only recently found success, and in limited action, against Chicago the week before. Typically, that’s not enough to warrant a start. But Heaps looked at the matchup against Toronto, compared against Rowe’s skill set, and decided that Saturday was the perfect time to give the midfielder his first start since late-June. Any sense that Heaps was gambling was put to rest when Rowe set up Davies’ opener, which of course, preceded the penalty Rowe earned before halftime, and, oh yeah, a near-assist on Davies’ second goal. All in all, it was an impressive performance for the former first-rounder, not to mention a great piece of coaching by Heaps.

3. The form that Diego Fagundez has found is bad news for Juan Agudelo. Following Saturday’s match, Heaps made it a point to credit his creative midfielder’s performance, and with good reason. Although Fagundez didn’t find the scoresheet, or assist on any of the three goals scored by the Revolution, he continued to undertake the dirty work on defense, and liven the offense with his passing (92.9 percent accuracy). Given the patch of form that Fagundez is currently in, it’ll be all that much harder for Agudelo to get back in the lineup – which is a startling development in and of itself. It wasn’t long ago that many were raving about the front three of Agudelo, Davies and Teal Bunbury, a trio that was torching opposing defenses. But things have clearly changed since. Unless Fagundez’s form suddenly nosedives, Agudelo may have to be content as a substitute for the foreseeable future.

4. The starting goalkeeper’s spot still belongs to Bobby Shuttleworth. Following the 2-2 draw at Chicago, Heaps commented that his decision to go with Brad Knighton for a second straight game was, essentially, due to playing the hot hand. The backing of Knighton for a second straight game seemed to plant the seeds for a goalkeeping controversy until the lineup was released on Saturday, and Bobby Shuttleworth was listed as the starter between the sticks.  While Shuttleworth was rarely tested, he hardly looked like a keeper whose job was in jeopardy. With Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore lurking, Shuttleworth kept the lines of communication open, and organized his backline well enough to keep either from finding the back of the net, let a lone manage a shot on goal. While Knighton proved himself capable during his two-game stint, it was abundantly clear that when push came to shove, Shuttleworth remains the no. 1 in Heaps’ mind.

5. The fact that Jeremy Hall remains the starting right back speaks to how much London Woodberry’s stock has dropped. If you had asked a Revolution supporter a month ago whether Hall would eventually overtake Woodberry in the rear, you probably would have gotten a lot of LOLs. But lo and behold, on Aug. 1, Hall, the converted right back, was back in the XI for the third straight game. So what happened?  Hall may not be as flashy as the attack-minded Woodberry, but his conservative approach in the rear has helped strengthen the defense over the last three weeks. Woodberry, on the other hand, had become an obvious liability in the rear during the club’s five-game losing streak. Before long, it became clear that Heaps was willing to trade Woodberry’s attacking instincts for Hall’s defense-first approach in order to improve the team’s shape. So long as Hall continues to stay true to his defensive responsibilities, Woodberry will likely remain on the bench.

What else did we learn from Saturday’s conference clash? Let us know in the comments section!

One Comment

  1. Chris B

    August 5, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    I learned that Gillette has been a House of Horrors for Jozy Altidore this year. First, he injured his hamstring in the first half of the first meeting of the year between the Revs and TFC. Second, he was subbed out at halftime for not being fit enough against Haiti in the Gold Cup after all the hype about him playing against them and of course he was sent off for the kick out at JoGo.

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