TUCSON, Ariz. – Benny Feilhaber has a history of scoring breathtaking goals – most notably his stunning game-winner in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final against Mexico – but the 27-year-old U.S. National Team midfielder admits he’s never scored a goal in quite the same fashion in which he scored on Wednesday night against the LA Galaxy.
Less than two minutes into the opening match of the Desert Diamond Cup, Feilhaber scored what will likely be the goal of the tournament, twisting his body to drill a picturesque bicycle kick past helpless Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Feilhaber’s only regret is that it didn’t happen in a regular-season game.
“Unfortunately, it’s preseason,” he joked. “But I’ll try to score one of those during the season if I get the chance; if I get so lucky to get an opportunity like that again.”
There’s plenty the Revs would like to see translated from Wednesday night’s 3-2 win over the defending champions to the regular season, which is now just a little more than two weeks away. Feilhaber was particularly sharp playing in a wide left position – but often drifting into the middle – while rookie Kelyn Rowe eventually settled in on the opposite wing and picked up his team-leading fourth assist of the preseason. French striker Saër Sène was also lively in his first preseason action with the Revs, buzzing around up top and using his pace to stretch the Galaxy backline.
But there were also moments which reminded the Revolution’s coaching staff that there’s still work to be done in the coming weeks before the Revs take on the San Jose Earthquakes on March 10. Both Galaxy goals were preventable in Jay Heaps’ estimation, but the rookie head coach found a silver lining in the manner in which the mistakes were made.
“There were some really positive things we did,” said Heaps. “Of course, there was some negative wrapped in there. We gave a couple goals away where we didn’t have to, but at the same time, the mistakes that we made were of our own doing. We made a couple bad passes.
“We feel comfortable with those mistakes,” he added. “They weren’t situations where we feel like we have to go back to the drawing board. They were mistakes that we make and are correctable.”
Wednesday night’s game also afforded Heaps the chance to assess many of the 10 unsigned players currently participating in the Revolution’s training camp. Blake Brettschneider started up top and played 45 minutes, while Jeremiah White, Bjorn Runstrom, Michael Roach, Alec Purdie, Luisito Campisi, Gabe Mercier and Florian Lechner all saw limited time in substitute’s roles.
Heaps indicated he plans to give many of the non-contracted players more extensive playing time on Saturday night against the New York Red Bulls.
“I wanted to get those guys some minutes because it’s important for us to get a look,” said Heaps. “It was by design to get them 30 minutes. A lot of them came on long flights so we kind of calculated with (strength and conditioning coach) Nick Downing that 30 minutes would be ideal to get a good run in, but at the same time not hurt them so we can get some more minutes for them on Saturday night.”
As for what Heaps would like to see improve against the Red Bulls, it comes down to simple – and easily correctable – mistakes.
“There were times that we really looked good and then there were times where we put ourselves in trouble,” he said. “If we can limit those chances, continue to do the passing we’ve done, but limit the needless mistakes, I feel like we’re going to have a much more complete game.”