It really is a bad case of “one step forward and one step back” for the New England Revolution.
On the one hand, yesterday’s 1-1 draw with New York extended the Revolution’s home unbeaten run against the Red Bulls to 17 games, a truly amazing number. The Revs are 11-0-6 in that time, having not lost to their East Coast rivals since June of 2002.
On the other hand, manager Jay Heaps and his crew are left to lament conceding a goal due to one of the truly elemental mistake of soccer: fumbling away concentration and “switching off” after a goal scored.
Diego Fagundez, who just keeps getting better and better and finding more ways to put those great instincts to good use, got into the right spot again for a 54th minute goal. But, this being New England, a team not exactly accustomed to dealing with success over the last few years, Heaps’ men went to sleep on defense. The visitors scored a minute later, opening up the Revs’ back line with stunning ease.
Where is the leadership? Where is the old hand to remind the young bucks that one goal does not mean it’s time to order up the celebratory pints, that there’s still a few miles to go?
Heaps certainly wasn’t happy with it. Nor should he have been.
I don’t think it’s (our) mentality. I think it’s concentration. Those situations where you score goals, you are elated and tired. I hate celebrations; I like one or two guys to celebrate. If you ever go back and watch my film, I didn’t run past half field, we tried to get back and defend. That’s a defender’s time to gather his breath. After you score goals, you have to turn on. It was poor.
And then again, there is Fagundez. Just 18, he was easily New England’s most dangerous man Saturday.
With Juan Agudelo coming in, Heaps’ list of enticing offensive options keeps growing. (Agudelo did not dress last night; next chance for his first minutes as a Revolution man will be in Texas, where the Revs meet the Dynamo in Round 12. Here’s what Heaps had to say about young Fagundez:
He’s hungry … I work a lot with Diego (Fagundez). He’s been in and out of our lineup and I’m pushing him for more and more. I think you are seeing him become a more complete player, two-way. I think the goals are going to come because of how he was creating. I don’t know if you know he’s the one who setup that chance – the one (Luis) Robles saved. He’s the one who played it wide then got underneath got it back then got in the box. He’s going to create more by being more involved in the offense, I like that about Diego. His awareness tactically that’s natural, but it’s his two-way play that shows me he is ready for the next level.