It might be preseason, and some of the New England Revolution's big names might be missing, but Juan Agudelo and Diego Fagundez are playing like 2013 never ended.
Agudelo combined with Fagundez who scored the equalizing goal as the Revolution played to a 1-1 tie with the Colorado Rapids during their second preseason game in Tuscon, AZ for the Desert Diamond Cup.
The first half was mostly played in the midfield although each team delivered one good chance. Diago Kobayashi forced Clint Irwin to make a brilliant save as he crashed the box and headed a Teal Bunbury cross goal bound and Bobby Shuttleworth was forced into action as Gabriel Torres sent a hard free kick from close range right at him.
The second half started with a flurry as Torres got on the end of flick-on in the 47th and rounded Jose Goncalves to slot the opener past Shuttleworth. Goncalves was caught between playing the ball on a bounce and shielding his man it seemed, and that moment of indecision at the back was all Torres needed to exploit the Revs defense. It was the first goal conceded this preseason by the Goncalves and Andrew Farrell pairing at the back for New England.
But the Revs would not have long to wait for their first goal of the DDC, as just minutes later in the 54th, Agudelo played a simple touch pass to Diego, who surged forward splitting two defenders and chipping the ball neatly over Irwin for the tying goal.
It's a much needed boost for the young midfielder who struggled in 2014 coming off a career year in 2013 when his partnership with Agudelo netted the young winger 13 goals. Fagundez also played centrally with Lee Nguyen noticeably absent for the Revolution with an injury, a position he played with Uruguay's U20s this winter and it's possible early this season with the Revs until Nguyen is healthy.
Other highlights for New England included a wonderful display from Scott Caldwell who was a constant pest defensively and hounded the Rapids throughout the match. Kevin Alston featured well at left-back with Chris Tierney getting the night off and Alston's creativity was a much needed boost in the first half with the Revs stagnant offense struggling in the final third.
The rest of the match played out with a flurry of substitutions as both teams emptied their benches and brought on fresh legs (the box score below is my unofficial record but I'm sure I missed a few) and the Revs brought on two academy players in Zach Herivaux who featured for Haiti's U20s last month and 15 year old Justin Rennicks.
Neither team found much success after the early goals in the second half, but right before the final whistle, Fagundez played in Steve Neumann who was unable to slot home and the ball was eventually smothered by Irwin before the game ended.
The Revolution now have a 0-1-1 record through two games and will play the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday, February 25th at 8:00 PM EST and a final placement game on Saturday, February 28th to finish up their 2015 preseason.
(Unofficial Box Score)
REVOLUTION LINEUP: Shuttleworth; Alston, Goncalves (Herivaux 80'), Farrell (Woodbury 73'), Barnes (Hall 45'); Dorman (Neumann 58'), Caldwell (Rudy 78'); Kobayashi (Fagundez 45'), Rowe (Okoli 65', Rennicks 87'), Bunbury (Mulgrew 67'); Davies (Agudelo 45')
RAPIDS LINEUP: Irwin; Hairston (Riley 65'), Watts (Burling 71', Sjoberg, Harrington (Burch 71'), Pittinari, Sarvas, Sanchez (Serna 58'), Torres (Powers 71'), Ramirez (Alvarez 58'), Badji (Brown 71')
GOALS: Torres (COL - 47'), Fagundez (NE - 54')