On Saturday, Mar. 1, the New England Revolution concluded their preseason schedule with a 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids. The result came after the Revs conceded the lead on two separate occasions. Teal Bunbury got his second preseason goal in the 5th minute before Edson Buddle equalized in the 25th. Later, Patrick Mullins’ 57th minute strike was neutralized by Vincente Sanchez’s 82nd minute effort. The Revs will finish their preseason with a record of 2-1-4. Below are five thoughts from the game.
1. Teal Bunbury is what this team needs. Bunbury has scored two goals in 136 preseason minutes. The Canadian-born striker has quickly built chemistry with his new teammates while showcasing that he’s a first-choice striker in this league. On Saturday, Bunbury hit a stunning early strike to give the Revs the lead. The quick passing of Diego Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe almost led to a second tally, but Bunbury was off the mark. It’s bold to say, and certainly too early to tell, but Bunbury could supersede Juan Agudelo in terms of importance to the Revs, especially if he can stay healthy.
2. I’m not worried about the final result. You have to remember that it’s preseason. There are lineup experiments, mass substitutions and, as we saw on Saturday, unpredictable circumstances involving weather. It’s never good to lose a lead, but I’m certain that head coach Jay Heaps would’ve employed better tactics if his team was ahead in the second half of a regular season game. While it’s fun to analyze the games, it’s important to remember that it’s simply preseason.
3. If you want to be worried, worry about the defense. Jose Goncalves was unavailable for Saturday’s game after sustaining a midweek injury to his quadriceps. The captain was the only constant in last year’s record-breaking back line, so his omission is concerning. The troubles worsen when it’s considered that Andrew Farrell and Chris Tierney have been regulars on the injury list. The panic button shouldn’t be pushed yet, however, because Kevin Alston, Stephen McCarthy and Donnie Smith have provided some solid moments. Still, the Revs will hope to have their first-choice defenders ready by first kick.
4. Pierre Omanga is the most likely candidate to sign a contract before the season opener. The Revs currently have two open roster spots and two available international slots. While the team has brought in many trialists, including Evan Melo, Marvin Ogunjimi and Gorka Lorrea, it looks like Omanga is the most likely to sign. The Southern New Hampshire University product has been with the Revs throughout preseason after being drafted 50th overall. The strong, tall forward is capable of playing as a lone striker or as a winger. He’s a grappler that can win the ball and distribute it well. The issues with Omanga revolve around his international status, his similarities with Dimitry Imbongo, and his age. That having been said, he was the only trialist to get minutes on Saturday, which makes him the most likely to sign.
5. Imbongo’s red card is concerning. Now in his third year with the Revs, Imbongo has shown great promise and growth, but has struggled with the physical side of the game. In 2013, the Congo native had three red cards to complement with his four goals. The infractions occurred primarily midseason, which prompted hope that things were getting better. On Saturday, Imbongo earned a red card after stomping near/on an opponent out of frustration. Imbongo has an important role on this team as a holdup forward that can tire defenses or maintain the lead. If this is going to continue, Imbongo must be able to curb his emotions in order to stay on the field.