After waiting four months for MLS soccer to begin again, Revolution fans witnessed a mixed-bag performance during Saturday’s season opener. Some players, like newcomer Antonio Delamea, offered plenty of reason to feel optimistic. Others struggled to meet expectations.
Here are three players who impressed, and three who didn’t, during the Revolution’s season-opening loss to the Rapids.
On Saturday, the 25-year-old defender made history as the first Slovenian player to appear in an MLS match. And he made the most of his debut, playing 90 minutes of clean soccer.
Taking the preseason into account, Delamea appears as advertised: he’s polished, smart and physically imposing, despite his not-so-imposing, six-foot frame. Against the Rapids, he led the way defensively with seven clearances, four aerial wins and a pair of interceptions.
Don’t look now, but Rowe appears to have finally found his own. The midfielder turned in a hard-fought shift in all phases of Saturday’s match, leading the Revs in chances created (two), tackles (five) and duels won (eight). His shining moment arrived in the 16th minute, when he sent a pinpoint cross onto Kei Kamara’s chest, creating a promising goal-scoring chance that ended in a Zac MacMath save.
Look for Jay Heaps to continue zeroing in on Rowe as the season progresses.
Mr. dependable turned in a classic Kobayashi shift: he didn’t grab any headlines, but delivered a hard-fought performance. His ability to link passes and maintain possession brought life to the Revolution attack, something he did so often during his 27 appearances last season.
Every club needs a consistent supersub. Daigo looks poised to carry that role again in 2017.
Though Nguyen looked active in the first half, he never seemed to find a rhythm while playing as a second forward. Whether he sat back and created or pushed forward in search of a game-changing run, he struggled to connect with his free-flowing cast of attackers.
A pair of tackles ultimately knocked him out of the match, and his availability for Saturday’s home opener remains uncertain. If he doesn’t play, Heaps may move Agudelo back up top, potentially halting the Nguyen as a forward experiment after just one week.
After missing the Revs’ final preseason match, Tierney looked out of sync for stretches of Saturday’s season opener. Defensively, he had a tough time staying with Dom Badji, highlighted by his yellow-card foul in the 14th minute. And offensively, he misfired on all six of his crosses, turning in an uncharacteristically inaccurate night of service.
Despite this performance, there’s no reason to worry about Tierney; he seems to have plenty left in the tank. Saturday simply served as an off night.
Like Nguyen, Agudelo struggled to acclimate to his new role. He sporadically chased the match, disappeared for stretches and failed to create a goal-scoring chance from his advanced midfield position.
There’s no arguing that Agudelo has the skillset to thrive in the number 10 role. Heaps just needs to determine if the investment is worth the reward.