I don’t put a lot of emphasis on preseason results, but there were some promising signs for the New England Revolution coming out of Saturday nights 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in the 2015 Desert Diamond Cup.Diego Fagundez scored the Revs only goal of the game in the 54th minute, canceling out a Gabriel Torres strike to earn a share of the points for the Revs.
Without the injured Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen in midfield, Jay Heaps went with a midfield of Scott Caldwell and Andy Dorman protecting the back four with Teal Bunbury, Daigo Kobayashi and Kelyn Rowe ahead of them. Kobayashi had the best chance of a scoreless first half when he got on the end of a Kelyn Rowe cross, but could not beat Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin from six yards out. It was a chance that Nguyen would have buried, and shows the weakness in Kobayashi’s play. he is a good squad player defensively, but is not an offensive threat5 at all.
Kelyn Rowe seem stop be still finding his legs after ah injury riddles 204 season. In 2013, Rowe was one of the Revs best players, but he has been unable to get back to that level since. If New England are to challenge for the MLS Cup this season, they need the 2013 Rowe and not the 2014 version.
The 2013 Revs run to the playoffs was largely due to the addition of Juan Agudelo and the play of homegrown star Diego Fagundez. Both came as second half substitutions on Saturday, and it was not surprising that the Revolution suddenly looked more of a threat gong forward than they had in the first half.
The two of them teamed up for the Revs equalizer. Agudelo used good strength to hold off the challenge of Rapids defender Jared Watts and play the ball into the path of Fagundez whose mazy run took him past a Colorado defender before he clipped a shot over the on-rushing Irwin. It was a vintage 2013 Revs goal and if Diego and Agudelo can recapture that form, the Revs will be difficult to beat this season.
One worrying point from the game was the ease that Colorado scored as once again New England struggled to handle a simple long punt up field from the Rapids. It looks like Jose Goncalves and Andrew Farrell will be the Revs starting center backs when the season starts, and their inability last season to handle long balls has to be a concern to Jay Heaps.
While New England has arguably the best attack in the Eastern Conference, their central defense/goalkeeper is still an area of concern to me. The Revs cannot expect to score two or three goals every week, and at times they will have to grind out 1-0 wins. At this point in preseason, I am not convinced that the trio of Shuttleworth, Goncalves and Farrell is as strong as what New England needs to return to the MLS Cup Final.
New England will be back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 25 when the club takes on Seattle Sounders FC in the third of four games at the Desert Diamond Cup. That game, which will be streamed live on revolutionsoccer.net will be played on the Kino North Grand Stand and kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
For up-to-the-minute information on the Revolution, visit the team’s official website at revolutionsoccer.net, or join the conversation and interact with fans on any of the team’s social platforms.
New England Revolution 1, Colorado Rapids 1
February 21, 2015 – Kino Sports Complex – Stadium (Tucson, Arizona)
COL – Gabriel Torres (Dominique Badji, Clint Irwin) 48’
NE – Diego Fagundez (Juan Agudelo, Andy Dorman) 54’
NE – Andy Dorman (Yellow Card) 24’
COL – Axel Sjoberg (Yellow Card) 25’
NE – Kevin Alston (Yellow Card) 36’
COL – Nick LaBrocca (Yellow Card) 83’
New England Revolution:
Bobby Shuttleworth; Darrius Barnes (Jeremy Hall 46’), Andrew Farrell (London Woodberry 73’), Jose Goncalves (Zachary Herivaux 80’), Kevin Alston (Marco Fenelus 71’); Scott Caldwell (Tyler Rudy 78’), Andy Dorman (Steve Neumann 58’); Teal Bunbury (Timi Mulgrew 67’), Daigo Kobayashi (Diego Fagundez 46’), Kelyn Rowe (Sean Okoli 65’, Justin Rennicks 87’); Charlie Davies (Juan Agudelo 46’).
Subs Not Used: Brad Knighton.