New England Soccer Today

Heaps Sees Value in Loss to Houston

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

It wasn’t the scoreline Revolution coach Jay Heaps was shooting for, but given the circumstances, Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to Houston was far from a wasted effort.

With veteran center backs Antonio Mlinar Delamea and Benjamin Angoua sorting out visa issues, defender Je-Vaughn Watson in camp with Jamaica, and Juan Agudelo recovering from facial surgery, Heaps wasn’t able to field the kind of lineups used during the club’s first trip to Arizona a few weeks ago.

The result? A match that ran away from the Revolution in the second half, where an inexperienced New England squad filled with rookies and trialists was run over by a first-choice Dynamo group.

“We got mix-matched,” Heaps told the media after the match. “That was, I think, close to their starting group. It was difficult for our guys.”

Of course, matters weren’t helped by the Revolution’s first unit. Despite having the likes of Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez, and Kelyn Rowe at their disposal, the club was unable to register a single shot on goal against a youthful Dynamo group during the initial 45.

With scoreline unblemished at the break, Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera rolled out a first-team grouping for the second half. Pitted against the Revolution’s collection of hopefuls, the Dynamo wasted little time putting their foes in a hole as Erick Torres pickpocketed Trevor Haberkorn and scored in the 54th minute.

“We were a little bit light on numbers, so we had a lot of trialists in and guys that we hadn’t really seen, quite frankly – hadn’t even trained with us,” Heaps said. “So, [we were] putting them all together and trying to tactically get them all on the same page in about a 10- or 15-minute session before the game.”

The Revolution’s jagged form was evident for all present at Kino Veterans Stadium to see. While trialist Tristan Bowen came close to leveling it in the 68th minute, there simply weren’t enough connections to stretch the Dynamo backline.

With the local XI fielding only two players under contract (Brian Wright and Donnie Smith) after Zachary Hervaux was cut down by a vicious tackle from Juan David Cabezas in the 58th minute, the second half took on the appearance of an extended tryout for many wearing the gray tops and navy shorts.

“We had some young guys out there,” Heaps said. “Guys that are young guys on our roster that are trying to fight for minutes, and then we had some trialists that we’re looking at. And we were able to get Joe Brito in, an Academy product, as well.”

Even before Alberth Ellis put the game out of reach in the 89th minute, there was little doubt the veteran Dynamo side would see the game out.

Yes, Wednesday’s match didn’t unfold the way Heaps had originally hoped. And yes, Heaps could’ve done without the tackle that took out Herivaux. But even so, the Revolution boss didn’t overlook the value in what transpired during the second half.

“(I) thought the guys worked hard there,” Heaps said. “That last 45 minutes was not easy and our guys worked really hard to just try to play together.”

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