Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
New England remains winless this pre-season and still has yet to score a goal from the run of play. Not only that, but now they've potentially lost the services of Chris Tierney for some time courtesy of Seattle's Osvaldo Alonso. So, are there ANY positives we can take away? Hell, let's at least give it a shot.
I'll start off my saying that I was unfortunately unable to watch this one, so by all means please engage me in conversation via the comments section once you are done reading. Now, although I was promised a full replay of the match on MLS's Youtube channel, I've instead had to react to this match based on the various recaps and twitter ramblings I've read this morning (thanks, MLS). So, the first thing I'll say, which of course doesn't even need saying, is that there's no reason that this game should have been as aggressive as it was. The Osvaldo Alonso tackle on Chris Tierney was just uncalled for and Sainey Nyassi's lunge on Marc Burch came from no better of a place (I at least got to see those video replays).
It remains to be seen just what the prognosis is on Tierney, but most accounts thus far have pegged it as not good. If Tierney has to miss significant time, the Revolution backline will be reduced to basically two options at left back in Kevin Alston and Tyler Polak. Polak, who seemed to be a prime candidate to pack his bags for Rochester, may have just been given a reason for Jay Heaps to keep him in Foxborough.
On the right side of the defense, it sounds as though both Andrew Farrell and Bilal Duckett had very encouraging outings. From what I've gathered, Farrell has the strength to out-muscle ensuing attackers as well as great vision to anticipate their onslaught (I did catch the first 13 or so minutes and saw him stuff Steve Zakuani), while Duckett provides attacking width up the field with his speed and ability to whip in good service from the wing. I can see these two splitting time at right back all season, and I feel good about that.
Looking at the stats from last night, the Revs seem to have some things to be proud of despite the loss. All together, New England attempted 15 shots (even though only 5 were on goal). To me, that means that they are generating some offense. We're still yet to see that offense produce any goals, but hopefully those will come soon enough.
On the other end of the pitch, Bobby Shuttleworth was only forced to make one save. To me, that says that the Revs were able to keep the ball out of harm's way for the most part. Perhaps this is a telling sign that the Revolution defense has stepped up their game and/or that their midfield has found a way to keep more possession. Or maybe I'm off base on that analysis (You tell me!).
Even though Seattle got the best of us on the score sheet, what I'm most pleased with is that New England made a bold statement yesterday that they will not be bullied around this year like they were in 2012. Kalifa Cisse, Jose Goncalves, Andrew Farrell, Clyde Simms, and A.J. Soares know that part of their jobs this season will be to put an exclamation point at the end of that statement-game in and game out.
The Revolution midfield still seems to be wide open in terms of who will be starting on March 9th, although I fully expect that Cisse will be on the pitch at the very least. Andy Dorman and Scott Caldwell are making their case and meanwhile Donny Smith and Gabe Latigue appear to be on track for Revolution contracts. There's so much talent in this group that it will really be fun to see how it all plays out over the course of the season. I still do not believe there's any room for Nyassi on this squad, however. But a year with the Rhinos could be just what the doctor ordered.
Trialist Marko Jesic may just find himself with a contract as well if he can continue to impress. The Australian winger/forward is still young and a bit raw, but has a ton of upside that just might be too enticing for Jay Heaps to pass up. The Revs need more options at forward, specifically the type of forward who makes smart runs, generates attack, and can set up plays. He may not be a very good finisher (yet), but he just might be the fill-in for Saer Sene until he returns from injury. After watching highlights and reading various articles on the Aussie, Jesic can fit into Jay Heaps' 4-4-2 system as a second striker or a winger on either side of the pitch. The kid knows how to cross a ball and can be very dangerous on a counter attack. If Andrew Farrell takes to right back as quickly as we hope, then Jesic might be the perfect compliment on the right. I, for one, am hoping to see more of him on Saturday against the Red Bulls.
As for the rest of our forwards, well, we need to start seeing some production. Bengtson clearly needs more time to adapt to his New England teammates, which was already pretty much known, but difficult to have to see nonetheless. Matt Horth and Dimitry Imbongo are pretty much in a dog fight for higher pegging in the depth chart, and whoever scores more (or scores at all) this pre-season will likely end up being the victor. Chad Barrett is obviously a toss-up at this point. So, really, Diego Fagundez seems to be the only glimmer of hope that we've got up top as things currently stand. And he just turned eighteen.
So, there you have it: a reaction to a match I wasn't able to actually fully watch. But please, those of you who did watch, help me expand upon the points above by leaving some comments below.