It was a comfortable but not dominant performance from the New England Revolution as they closed out their 2015 preseason with a win over the PDL-side hosts of the Desert Diamond Cup, FC Tucson.
Teal Bunbury, Kelyn Rowe and Sean Okoli all found the back of the net as the Revs closed out their preseason action in Arizona with some stellar play from regulars Diego Fagundez and Kevin Alston. The starting lineup Jay Heaps sent out in this one could very well be the starting lineup against the Sounders next week with Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones unlikely to be playing.
1. THE REVS STILL MISS NGUYEN, JONES BUT OTHERS STEPPING UP
On a day when the FC Tucson was clearly outmatched, the Revs still had similar problems they've had from last year. They're really good at building from the back and really bad and getting any shots from their efforts in the final third. Juan Agudelo didn't score, he did have an assist, but he and the rest of the Revs were always looking for the perfect final pass and cross into the box. While the combination play was there, and the FC Tucson keepers were admittedly excellent on the day, Okoli's consolation goal was a gift. The scoreline reflects dominance even if at times Tucson were more than holding their own.
On the plus side, Diego Fagundez's time with the Uruguay U20's has brought back shades of 2013. He's everywhere on the left wing, tracking back and causing turnovers and doing all the little things that got him benched last season. Kevin Alston seems to have wrapped up the starting right back spot and he's already in midseason form, especially on the offensive end starting a counter attack by causing a turnover that led to Bunbury's opener.
2. GONCALVES, FARRELL LOOK THE PART
There's still a few things to work out, but even when beaten there's probably not a partnership in MLS that will recover better than these two. The combination of speed and athleticism will make these two very tough to break down individually, but Tucson was still able to find some space. MLS-level opponents won't make it as easy for Goncalves and Farrell to recover at the back, and Goncalves made it look effortless at times, but with Tierney and likely Alston out wide, there's nothing wrong with the backline going into the season.
3. YOUNGSTER'S GET TO SHINE
I am convinced at this point that Steve Neumann could play any position as an outfield player and hold his own. Minutes after coming off the bench he put a shot on target from distance and nearly set up Kelyn Rowe from close range. There's an excellent chance he leads MLS is substitute appearances again if he plays like that off the bench. London Woodberry fresh off his contract signing with the Revs had a solid shift, including a few minutes at right back coming in for Farrell initially. The former FC Dallas homegrown impressed with his overall play in preseason and even if he's a player for the future in New England he'll offer solid depth this season. Sean Okoli scored a late consolation goal on a gift misplay in Tucson's backline, but the story of his day can be summed up moments before. After pushing a shot just wide of the far post, Andy Dorman was clearly irate that he didn't see him and another open Revs player in the box. It was a bad miss, but shows Okoli even in limited action as a lone striker isn't afraid to shoot and there are times when I wish the Revs were more selfish around the box.
Shuttleworth; Tierney (Mulgrew 85'), Goncalves, Farrell (Hall 82'), Alston (Woodberry 67'); Kobayashi (Dorman 61'), Caldwell; Fagundez (Neumann 69'), Rowe (Fenelus 88'), Bunbury (Barnes 76'); Agudelo (Okoli 69')
GOALS: Bunbury (30'), Rowe (48'), Okoli (90')