The New England Revolution suffered their first preseason loss on Wednesday when Erick Torres and Alberth Elis scored second half goals to give the Houston Dynamo a 2-0 win on opening day of the Desert Diamond Cup.
The game was scoreless through halftime with neither team providing much action, though the Revs did have a couple of looks within a minute of each other.
In the 33rd minute, Lee Nguyen beat the Houston backline before laying the ball off to Teal Bunbury, who’s shot was high. Soon after, Bunbury found Nguyen, who’s shot was blocked.
Both teams returned from the locker room with wholesale changes, which made all the difference. The Revs gave minutes to many unsigned trialists, including defenders Trevor Haberkorn, Joshua Smith, and Tyler Turner. Meanwhile, Houston’s lineup featured experienced players like A.J. DeLaGarza, Ricardo Clark, and Torres.
The difference in personnel was evident early in the half, as Torres tormented the young backline. After missing a sitter in the 53rd minute, the Mexican striker stripped Haberkorn before beating Brad Knighton to give the Dynamo a 1-0 lead.
The Revs had a couple of chances of their own, largely through rookie Brian Wright and trialist Tristan Bowen. In fact, Bowen hit the outside post only to have his shot bounce away.
Houston sealed their victory in the 89th minute when Alex beat an offside trap and squared the ball to Elis. The ensuing shot was hit with complete confidence.
Despite the loss, the game was notable because Xavier Kouassi played his first minutes since February 2016. The defensive midfielder offered 17 minutes before being replaced by Daigo Kobayashi.
While one player returned to the field, another was forced to exit early, as Zachary Herivaux left in the 58th minute after a hard tackle by Juan David Cabezas. The Homegrown product was replaced by Academy player Joe Brito.
The Revs return to action this Saturday, Feb. 18 when they face the Colorado Rapids at 3 pm ET.