For 84 minutes of Sunday’s match at Providence Park, the Revolution look destined to start the season 0-3 on the road with no goals from the run of play. All of that changed in the waning moments, however, when Lee Nguyen took advantage of a loose ball in front of goal to equalize with the mighty Timbers.
It wasn’t a pretty result for the Revs, but—in the words of Jeff Lemieux—“they don't ask how pretty road points were come October.”
Here are two players whose stock rose, and two whose stock fell, following the 1-1 draw.
The fourth-round SuperDraft pick didn’t turn in a flawless performance, but did hold his own during a menacing matchup vs. Fanendo Adi and the Timbers attack. Perhaps more than anything, Smith showed he has a big enough chip on his shoulder to hang with the best in MLS. His physicality disrupted Adi just enough to keep him out of Cody Cropper’s net, and his strong positioning helped cut down a handful of dangerous opportunities for Portland.
Smith has a way to go to unseat Benjamin Angoua in the Starting XI, but—based on Sunday’s performance—could be the first-choice center back off the bench for Jay Heaps. If true, that means Smith would surpass London Woodberry and Je-Vaughn Watson on the depth chart, who combined for 42 starts last year. The future looks bright.
Delamea’s stock just keeps rising. The Slovenian center back turned in another strong performance vs. Portland, collecting a game-high ten clearances while spacing himself well beside Smith. He also picked up eight recoveries and two blocked shots.
What separates Delamea, though, is his ability to do all the little things well. In the dying moments of Sunday’s match—with Portland pushing forward for a game-winner—he drew a foul on Adi, which enabled the Revs to drain the remaining minute-and-a-half off the clock. It’s a veteran move that flew under the radar, but played an important role in the Revs securing a road point.
If Delamea made a mistake on Sunday, it went unnoticed.
In three of the Revs’ first four matches, an individual defensive miscue resulted in a goal. Tierney served as the latest offender on Sunday, sending a header into the center of box that Diego Valeri finished with an emphatic volley.
Though Tierney largely held his own the rest of the way, Heaps yanked him in the 57th minute in favor of Je-Vaughn Watson. The Revolution gaffer described the move as a tactical switch, though it seems unlikely that Heaps would have made a defensive sub in that spot—down a goal, with 33 minutes to go—if Tierney had offered a strong two-way shift.
For those counting, that’s the second time Tierney failed to go 90 minutes in a start this season. The first, vs. the Rapids on opening weekend, was reportedly a pre-planned move due to injury concerns. Either way, Tierney hasn’t looked like himself in the early stages of 2017.
In all fairness, the entire Revolution attack struggled to influence Sunday’s match for the first 84 minutes of play. But Lee Nguyen saved his night with a strong run and finish, and Kei Kamara saved his night with the cross that set up Nguyen’s goal. That leaves Agudelo, who followed up a two-goal performance with a quiet showing vs. Portland.
During a static shift, Agudelo struggled to stretch Portland’s center backs and conceded possession with a few sloppy passes. The Revolution attack boasts too much talent for a player of Agudelo’s caliber to look lost moving forward. He’ll need a bounce-back performance against a strong Dynamo side next weekend.
Whose stock rose the most vs. Portland?
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