The New England Revolution embarked on a three-game road trip this past Wednesday, falling to the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Last night, the Revs took on the Columbus Crew in their second road game, and they defeated the Crew 2-0 with two stoppage-time goals. The Revolution will face D.C. United next Saturday in the last game of their road trip.
Revolution manager Jay Heaps made a few important lineup adjustments going into this game against the Crew. He gave Dimitry Imbongo the start at striker, moved Chad Barrett to the right wing and used Diego Fagundez as a midfield substitute.
Looking at the Revolution’s performance against the Rapids and then, consequently, their performance against the Crew, you can tell that Heaps’ adjustments definitely helped generate more offense for the Revolution. Barrett playing on the wing gave the Revolution some force and power on the edges of the pitch, and the use of Fagundez as a substitute was very beneficial because he brings a bundle of energy and quickness whenever he’s on the pitch. Imbongo is definitely reliable at striker due to his overall athleticism and determination to put the ball in the back of the net. This group increased the pressure on the Crew’s midfield and back line, generating several chances for the Revolution but failing to convert during regulation time.
It was nice to see the Revolution’s defense returned to form last night, shutting out the Crew and maintaining their league-best goals against statistic. This game was definitely an overall improvement over the Rapids’ match, but you have to keep in mind that the Crew were missing multiple starters to injury, including arguably their best player, Costa Rican striker Jairo Arrieta.
While these lineup changes were able to provide the Revolution with a significant 2-0 victory over Crew, who stood at seventh place in the East, right behind the Revs, you can still tell the Revolution are missing 20-year-old Colombian-American forward Juan Agudelo. Agudelo is a very talented, well-rounded player. He’s boasts a nice blend of finesse and power, as he has the strength to hold off defenders in the box but also has the speed and quickness to get around them. For his young age, the 6-foot-1 striker has great patience and vision in the box, and he gives the Revolution that offensive spark that they so often need. If Agudelo was playing against the Crew, I would say that the Revs would have generated more meaningful scoring opportunities from the wing because Agudelo is so dynamic when making runs down the middle of the field. Also, finishing inside of the box wouldn’t have been as much of an issue for the Revolution with Agudelo on the field.
If the Revolution would like to contend with the top teams in the MLS and grab a hold of that fifth playoff spot in the East, they need Agudelo to return from injury.