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Revolution v. Rapids: Three Thoughts

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Agudelo should play as a striker and two more thoughts.

MLS: Desert Diamond Cup-New England Revolution vs Colorado Rapids Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution dropped their second straight Desert Diamond Cup game on Saturday when they were downed 3-1 by the Colorado Rapids. Juan Agudelo got on the score sheet first, but the Rapids responded with two tallies from Caleb Calvert and one from Dominique Badji. Here are three thoughts from the game.

  1. Will Xavier Kouassi and Benjamin Angoua be ready for the season opener? On Wednesday, Kouassi played his first game since his knee surgery, contributing 17 minutes before making way for Daigo Kobayashi. Three days later, the defensive midfielder was held out of Desert Diamond Cup action, though he did see time during a scrimmage that was held afterwards. It’s going to take time for Kouassi to get back to full fitness and you certainly don’t want to rush the process. That said, you have to wonder if he’ll be ready for First Kick. The same can be said for Angoua, who has yet to play in a preseason game.
  2. Defensive depth remains an issue. When the Revs are at full health, they should be tough to break down. That said, there isn’t a lot of options beyond the starting core. If Kouassi isn’t ready to go, you’ll likely see Scott Caldwell, Je-Vaughn Watson, or Daigo Kobayashi play as the defensive midfielder. These players can get the job done for a game or two, but lack some of the qualities you’d want from a full-time starter. Things are more troubling along the backline as there aren’t many centerback options. If a starter is sidelined, attention will turn to Watson, Woodberry, or possibly unsigned rookie Josh Smith.
  3. Juan Agudelo should play as a forward. It was interesting to see the Revs’ lineup, as Agudelo started in the midfield while Kei Kamara and Lee Nguyen marshaled the front line. Using Nguyen as a forward makes some sense because his quick footwork can open up space. That said, Agudelo is an outright goalscorer that needs to be close to the net. Playing Agudelo as a midfielder gives him too many defensive responsibilities, which burdens the backline.