Six goals, six different goalscorers and three equalizers highlighted a wild season opener for the Revolution, who clawed its way into a 3-3 draw against the Houston Dynamo. In the end, Diego Fagundez and Daigo Kobayashi saved the visitors by combining for a stopping-time equalizer.
How did the rest of the club fare in the Lone Star State? We break down the match, position-by-position, and offer a final match grade below.
Report: Bobby Shuttleworth looked out of form on Sunday. He failed to command his box on the awkward miscommunication with Goncalves that resulted in Cristian Maidana's goal. And, like the rest of his back line, he was caught flat-footed on the Giles Barnes tally. There's no reason to worry about Bobby—he rarely turns in back-to-back subpar performances. But the Revolution will certainly need more from him on Saturday against D.C. United.
Report: That's two season openers in a row that left the Revolution back line scratching its collective head. And for good reason: while this unit looked more cohesive than the one that lost 3-0 in Seattle a year ago, it struggled to protect an attack that scored three road goals. The back line lost its shape on Andrew Wenger's second-half finish, with Goncalves out wide and Andrew Farrell attempting to cover two bodies in the box. And, in the 77th minute, Farrell gave Will Bruin acres of space to pick out Boniek Garcia at the top of the 18. Garcia's dummy ultimately froze three Revolution defenders and set up Barnes' tally.
The lone highlight was newcomer Je-Vaughn Watson, who turned in a strong two-way performance: six clearances, a blocked shot and a run into the box that set up Teal Bunbury from three yards out. Watson's play helped the grade, but couldn't save a disappointing performance from his fellow defenders.
Report: Jay Heaps seems intent on moving Kelyn Rowe into a box-to-box role. But on Sunday, the midfielder looked uncomfortable in his new position. Paired with newcomer Gershon Koffie, Rowe struggled to interrupt the Houston attack, which pushed forward with ease for most of the first half. Teal Bunbury, who made dangerous runs into the box but committed a game-high five fouls, and Lee Nguyen, who was dispossessed five times on the dribble, also turned in less-than-stellar matches.
All of this left room for Fagundez to play hero. And the young midfielder made it count. A blistering first-half finish, coupled with flawless feeds to Charlie Davies and Daigo Koboyashi, saved the overall midfield grade—and enabled the Revs to salvage a point on the road.
Report: From the opening whistle onward, Davies pestered the Dynamo back line. He made strong runs at goal and held his line well, ultimately turning a Fagundez through ball (and a favorable first-shot rebound) into a second-half equalizer. If he can maintain Sunday's work rate, Davies figures to build on his ten-goal 2015 campaign.
Report: In an attempt to place Rowe in his natural center-midfield position, Heaps tinkered with something that didn't need fixing: Scott Caldwell in a withdrawn midfield role and Nguyen in the no. 10 attacking spot. The decision proved costly, as Rowe failed to find the match and struggled to link with Nguyen moving forward. Starting Rowe also left Heaps with a lopsided bench that featured three defensive midfielders: Caldwell, Daigo Kobayashi and Zachary Herivaux.
To Heaps' credit, his in-game management may have saved the match. He pulled Bunbury at the right moment—he looked scarily close to a second yellow—and inserted Kobayashi in the waning moments, who scored a last-gasp equalizer. Look for Caldwell to get the nod beside Koffie on Saturday.
Final Word: It wasn't pretty, but timely contributions from Fagundez, Davies and Kobayashi backed the Revs' never-say-die mentality.