While Saturday night was mostly a nightmare for New England Revolution fans, there was one bright spot.
Among a heavily rotated squad, a debut occurred. Ryan Spaulding got his first MLS start and he took advantage of the opportunity.
“Yeah, it was a dream come true getting my MLS debut,” he said. “Obviously, not the conditions I would’ve even thought about playing in and obviously it’s a tough result. [It’s] definitely not what we were going for. I thought it was a good performance up until the last 15 minutes, and then, we kind of just lost it from there. Would’ve hoped for a better result, but we’ll move on and just focus on the next week, next game.”
There was a calmness to Spaulding’s game. He didn’t look out of place and made smart decisions when the ball was at his feet. The left back played all 90 minutes, registering 79 touches, three interceptions, and three clearences. His three interceptions were the most by a Revs player on Saturday.
Teammate and MLS veteran A.J. DeLaGarza was impressed with the left backs performance.
“I thought he did really well for his first time with these conditions and the circumstances,” said DeLaGarza. “I told him yesterday to take advantage of every opportunity you get because you don’t know how many you will have. So, I think he did tremendous and I’m sure he will have plenty of other opportunities and better conditions.”
Speaking to the media after the game, Spaulding showed some wisdom and experience when being asked about officiating and the weather conditions. He didn’t risk getting fined by criticizing the officials and is ready to learn from the mistakes that were made against Real Salt Lake.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely a grind in a game like that, but again, both teams are playing in it, so you just kind of go out and you fight and you try to play as much of a normal game as possible,” Spaulding said when asked about the conditions. “And in terms in moving on, I think no matter what, you always have to look at what you did poorly in a game, what you did well, and you take that, you learn and you just move on to the next game. And right now, we’ll be focusing on getting to Mexico City and playing Pumas.”
While there is no way to know when Spaulding’s next start will be, he proved on Saturday that he can be trusted to make the right plays when called upon by Bruce Arena.