Jay Heaps’s New England Revolution may be in the doldrums of a tough season, but at least they are still winning games. At Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Lee Nguyen’s 56th-minute goal gave the Revs a 1-0 victory over Wilmer Cabrera’s Chivas USA. The Revolution still have a long way to go before they can think about the postseason, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
Here are six things we learned, followed by player ratings, for the match between the New England Revolution and Chivas USA.
1. Lee Nguyen makes all the difference
With his goal in the 56th minute, Lee Nguyen leads the New England Revolution in goals with nine. Watch the play from Kelyn Rowe and Daigo Kobayashi and how they set up Nguyen on this goal.
“It was going from left to right I believe and Kelyn (Rowe) and Daigo (Kobayashi) did a good little combination and Kelyn put in a great effort to get a little poke in to get the ball through his legs to me,” said Nguyen. “I just took a touch and was able to get a good enough shot on it to make it tough for (Dan) Kennedy.”
“I love playing with (Daigo Kobayashi), we’re on the same wavelength. He doesn’t speak much English, but I feel we’ve been playing together for a long time. He’s very smart, very composed and can keep possession in tight spaces so I think that help us out. I think it helps out Scottie (Caldwell) and the defense, as well. It helps when you can keep the ball and catch a little breath between plays.”
2. New England are as resilient as you can get
It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. Even if you’re on the outside looking in; in MLS, you play to win your games and get whatever points you can. Revs goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth knows what’s up.
“I think it’s been an up and down season for us and not just for myself but the whole team,” said Shuttleworth to the media. “It’s been very frustrating but we’re right in the thick of things and it’s going to be a fight till the end. But we’re going to give it everything and continue to try and take three points at home and make it difficult for other teams on the road.
“We were on such a good stretch that I think we started taking some things for granted and not grinding as much as we were in those five to seven games. I think the performances we’ve put together recently have showed that we’re ready to get back to grinding and we know what we have to do. Come out and fight and then be able to play. I think the performances more recently have showed the kind of team we are and hopefully we continue to do that.”
3. Scottie Caldwell, the unsung hero for New England
Scottie Caldwell is one of those blue-collar players in MLS that isn’t a big name but contributes to the team in a big way. Heaps noted that his performance was, to put it in franker terms…noteworthy.
“When you say width, you want to go one side, then you want to open up the other side. So right away, Scottie (Caldwell) started to find Darrius (Barnes) a little bit, started to find (Andrew) Farrell a little bit and it was a little bit more advanced,” said Heaps. “It was really hard work for the outside backs because when you play a team that keeps two forwards high, locked on two center backs, you have to find a help defender.
“We were pivoting really well. Farrell would go high and Darrius would get in, and visa-versa, so it was a lot of hard work for those guys. That was part of our game plan and we just had to fine-tune it at halftime.
4. Erick Torres can’t do it alone
Let’s face it: Chivas USA is a one-man show. The man: Erick Torres. When he gets shut down, so do all of Chivas USA. None of the players were able to step up their game and it cost them, according to Chivas USA assistant coach Paul Caffrey.
“(Erick) Torres scored 14 goals at the beginning of the season, and none after. We can’t just rely on one player to score, and we need other players to step up and score some goals as well,” Caffrey said. “Tonight other players had chances, but couldn’t finish. In the future, if we continue to have chances such as the ones we had tonight, we can put some of them away. This could also help Torres because it will lift some of the pressure off his back and could play more relaxed.”
5. Reo-Coker and Hurtado could save this team’s season…right?
It’s sink or swim for Chivas USA at this point in the season. The arrival of Nigel Reo-Coker and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado will make for an interesting showdown between Chivas and the Los Angeles Galaxy on Aug. 31.
“Anytime you make these types of changes, you make them to improve the team. (Nigel Reo-Coker and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado) are two quality players that are going to help us tremendously going forward,” said Caffrey. “Hopefully, they will improve other players around them, as well. Not only will these players improve our play, but they will also make the team better altogether.
6. Stats back up scoreline
If you take a look at the team statistics, this was a one-sided match, with the Revolution winning a majority of the numbers. Chivas kept it close but when they can’t finish, they can’t finish. Even with the acquisitions of Reo-Coker and Hurtado, it’s going to be a tough ask for them to win the final SuperClasico in MLS history next weekend.
New England in blue, Chivas USA in red
|3||Shots on Target||4|
|4||Shots off Target||2|
|82 %||Passing Accuracy||62 %|
|64.9 %||Possession||35.1 %|
New England Revolution Player Ratings
Bobby Shuttleworth 7, A.J. Soares 5.5, Andrew Farrell 6, Darrius Barnes 6, Jose Goncalves 6, Daigo Kobayashi 7, Diego Fagundez 5, Kelyn Rowe 7, Lee Nguyen 8, Scott Caldwell 7, Charlie Davies 6, Teal Bunbury 4, Steve Neumann 4, Tony Taylor NR
Chivas USA Player Ratings
Dan Kennedy 4, Akira Kaji 4, Andrew Jean-Baptiste 3, Donny Toia 4, Tony Lochhead 3.5, Agustin Pelletieri 3, Eric Avila 3, Nathan Sturgis 4, Oswaldo Minda 3.5, Erick Torres 4.5, Felix Borja 4, Leandro Barrera 3, Marco Delgado 3, Ryan Finley NR