SANDY, Utah – It was an evening short on silver linings, but Mark Segbers provided a rare bright spot for the New England Revolution on Thursday night at Rio Tinto Stadium, making an energetic MLS debut in the Revs’ 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake.
Segbers, selected ninth overall in this year’s MLS SuperDraft, took over at right back to start the second half. Although he entered a match that the Revs already trailed 3-0, he was active up and down the right side of the field, completing 22 of 34 passes while making five recoveries, two tackles and an interception.
“I thought Mark did well when he came on,” said head coach Brad Friedel. “He’s got the physical capabilities and I thought he competed really well, and he gave us a little bit of a boost.”
Although he was forced to wait until the 33rd game of the regular season to make his MLS debut, Segbers was thrilled to get those first minutes under his belt, despite the frustrating result.
“It’s definitely a dream come true to get those first minutes,” Segbers said. “It’s something you think about when you’re a little kid and you want to play professional, just stepping on that field and playing that professional game.
“Unfortunate result, but like (coach) Friedel said, we’re starting our next year. Every chance to get on the field and showcase yourself, you’re playing for spots. I was blessed to get an opportunity and I tried to make the most of it.”
Segbers certainly made the most of it, and he looked particularly comfortable at right back. Although Friedel drafted Segbers as a right back, he spent the majority of his time on loan at Orange County (USL) at right midfield, where he also played during his college career at the University of Wisconsin.
“When I’m here in practice, I play a lot as a right back,” Segbers said. “I think just getting those first minutes under my belt at the highest level at the right back position was kind of calming, honestly. I felt more comfortable than I expected and it was a good experience, definitely.”
With those first 45 minutes logged Segbers can now move forward, and he believes that when his next opportunity arrives, he’ll be even more confident and comfortable.
“The first time you step on the field, you’ve got the butterflies and you want to make sure you keep the ball; you have all the thoughts running through your head,” Segbers said. “I think after that, when I get my second and third (appearances) going forward, I’ll be more comfortable and hopefully more effective.”
Segbers could have one more opportunity to impress this season as the Revs will close out their 2018 schedule next Sunday afternoon when they’ll host the Montreal Impact at Gillette Stadium.
It remains to be seen whether Segbers will feature in that match, but his teammates certainly feel that he earned more minutes with his performance on Thursday night.
“I don’t think he got beat, and if he did, he recovered very quickly,” said Kelyn Rowe, who scored the Revs’ only goal in Thursday’s loss. “He was very good on the ball. He attacked. He put some good crosses in, and you can see his ability, his talent that he’s been working on all year.
“Hopefully he gets another chance. It was a great debut.”