PORTLAND, Ore. – The New England Revolution battled at Providence Park on Wednesday night, but ultimately fell to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 2-0, in preseason action.
New England and Vancouver remained scoreless until the 68th minute, when the Canadian side scored a pair of goals three minutes apart.
“I thought the first half the boys did – especially the first 80 minutes – we worked really, really hard,” said center back Michael Mancienne. “The midfielders and the strikers, Justin [Rennicks] worked really, really hard trying to put pressure on the ball, and that was kind of the game plan today.
“We got punished on two of their chances, which was a little bit devastating for us. I thought the boys played well and everyone worked their socks off today.”
“I thought there were moments where we had some positive play, created some good chances, but obviously moments we need to be better, as well,” said left back Seth Sinovic.
Head coach Bruce Arena took note of both the positives and the negatives against Vancouver, and will use these insights to make decisions regarding player positions leading up to the start of the 2020 campaign.
“Well, it was good to see a number of players that are competing for positions on our roster,” said Arena. “Today’s game helps us formalize our final roster and understand how we want to develop it going into the regular season.”
Several youngsters get more important preseason minutes
The Revs' roster rotation for their starting lineup against Vancouver served as a big opportunity for young New England players to get formational minutes under their belts.
“It’s massive for them,” said Mancienne. “There’s a great learning curve for them, as well. It’s a great experience to play – some of them are still young boys, really – and to play against physical men, it’s a good challenge for them to see where they’re at in their career so far.”
The Revolution starting 11 featured four Homegrown players in Diego Fagundez, Scott Caldwell, Justin Rennicks, and Damian Rivera, and added two New England Academy products off the bench with Isaac Angking and Nicolas Firmino.
Additionally, second-year players Tajon Buchanan and DeJuan Jones, as well as rookies Henry Kessler and Simon Lekressner, also received starts in this match.
“I think today our center backs, Mancienne and Kessler, played well,” said Arena. “I thought Rennicks had a real good game, so that part was good. It was obviously a lot of young players that got on the field and it’s a good experience for them.”
Sinovic said those minutes are important for everyone to learn on the field. Whether it’s a chance for rookies or veterans, with each opportunity for extended run-outs, the players will continue to develop.
“It’s a huge experience for younger guys,” said Sinovic. “Experience is something you really can’t just fabricate. It’s something you have to gain and every game, every opportunity, especially for the younger guys and even for guys like me who have played plenty of games.
“Every game is big and it’s an opportunity for us to grow as a team and learn from new players and different situations.”
Caicedo makes preseason debut with 30 minutes off the bench
A bright spot for the Revs against the Whitecaps came in the second half, when midfielder Luis Caicedo was called off the bench in the 60th minute to make his preseason debut.
“He did fine,” said Arena. “He played 30 minutes. That’s his first 30 minutes of the preseason and I thought he did well.”
Caicedo has been working through a minor injury so getting minutes in a preseason setting against MLS competition is pivotal to build his fitness.
“I thought he did great,” said Sinovic. “I thought when he came in, things settled down a little bit for us. The game slowed down a little bit for us and we started to create a few more chances, so that’s another guy who’s been a little but nicked up and needed to get some fitness in.
“I’m really happy for him to get some minutes.”
Three players have not yet made their preseason debuts and were unavailable for selection against the Whitecaps: Antonio Delamea, Carles Gil and Alexander Büttner.
Six more New England players play full 90 minutes
The Revs continue to move forward in terms of their fitness with another preseason game in the books.
Six players saw a run-out of 90 minutes last Sunday against Minnesota, and with the rotated lineup against Vancouver on Wednesday, six fresh faces – Mancienne, Sinovic, Kessler, Rennicks, Buchanan and Lekressner – had the same physical test.
“To be honest, [I’m feeling] better than I thought I was going to feel,” said Mancienne regarding playing the full match. “I got through it and I feel fine. I’m happy to get 90 minutes under my belt.”
“I’m feeling good,” said Sinovic. “It felt great. It’s good, conducive weather for a 90-minute game so fitness is good. There are things we can improve on, but definitely some positives we can take out of it, as well.”
Seeing players in both games go a full 90 minutes was an important tool for Arena.
“I think in the first two games, we had gotten a number of players getting 90 minutes and that will help us as we enter the regular season. On Saturday we’re going to play closer to a first-choice lineup.”
The Revs will play their final preseason game on Saturday, February 22 against the Portland Timbers at 8 p.m. ET.