To counter-act their ill-timed bye week, the New England Revolution participated in a closed-door scrimmage against the New England Force today at Gillette Stadium winning 4-0 (that means they scored FOUR GOALS!). The Force are a semi-professional team based outside of Hartford, CT that have aspirations of joining one of US Soccer's lower-division leagues by this time next year.
For the Revs, this was a good opportunity to keep their squad game-fit during their week off as they start preparing for their first of three journeys to Cascadia this season to take on the Seattle Sounders. The only information we have on this match (at the time of this writing) is the Revolution's @NERevsLive twitter feed which provided lineup, goal, and substitute updates through the course of the match.
Although the Force are a young, semi-professional club, the Revs sent out a first-team lineup to start the game:
#NERevs lineup: Shuttleworth, Tierney, Goncalves, McCarthy, Farrell, Nguyen, Cisse, Simms, Rowe, Fagundez, Bengtson— NERevsLive (@NERevsLive) April 5, 2013
Jay Heaps' side, fresh off a three-game stretch without a single goal, hit the ground running, testing the Force with their attack early on including a shot from Jerry Bengtson that hit the crossbar. They opened the scoring in the 7th minute with an unassisted goal from midfielder Clyde Simss (his first in a Revolution shirt).
Bengtson was subbed off after 32 minutes and replaced by Dimitry Imbongo. Shortly after the substitution, Diego Fagundez put the Revs up 2-0 with another goal that was assisted by Kelyn Rowe. The sides entered halftime with the scoreline at 3-0 after a Lee Nguyen penalty kick was netted just before the half.
The Revolution made a few lineup adjustments to start the second half including Sainey Nyassi at what appears to be right-back:
Second-half #NERevs lineup: Soffner, Tierney, Barnes, McCarthy, Nyassi, Smith,. Caldwell, Cisse, Dorman, Guy, Imbongo— NERevsLive (@NERevsLive) April 5, 2013
At the 64 minute mark, Jay Heaps replaced Kalifa Cisse with Fernando Monge, a guest player who was drafted by the Montreal Impact in this year's MLS SuperDraft. Monge is a central midfielder who played at UCLA as well as for the Seattle Sounders U-23 squad, and, as I've learned through the magic of google, was on the 2011 United States Beach Soccer National Team. Monge was cut by the Impact before the start of the season to help them make room for their academy products Wandrille Lefevre and Maxim Tissot. He netted the Revolution's fourth goal in the 86th minute of today's match (assisted by Chris Tierney).
Monge provides perhaps the most interesting talking point from this match. Perhaps Jay Heaps is looking at the midfielder as a possible back-up for Simms and Cisse. Or maybe Monge's role would be to simply just add additional competition across the midfield. Or maybe there are no plans to sign him whatsoever. The Revs do have one roster spot still open, however.
Another interesting note is the inclusion of Chris Tierney in the left-back spot for the full 90 minutes. Tierney was of course the Revs' primary left-back for most of 2012 before a late-season injury forced him out of the lineup and made way for Kevin Alston's switch to the left, which has been consistent since that time. With Kevin Alston drawing some criticism from his recent performances this season, perhaps Heaps is considering a return to the starting XI for Tierney.
What do you take away from this match? Was it purely just a chance for the Revolution to stay game-fit during their bye week? Or do you think there's something more to it? Let us know in the comments section below.