He dropped Lee Nguyen into his customary No. 10 spot and shifted Juan Agudelo to striker, reigniting his partnership with Kei Kamara. The move paid major dividends, as the trio exploded for a combined four goals and one assist in a 5-2 win at Gillette Stadium.
“When Juan is at his best, he makes Lee and Kei even better,” Heaps said. “I think he’s the pivot person. When he’s that little bit better, Lee starts to play better and then Kei starts to play better.”
Then Agudelo drew a penalty kick 11 minutes later, which Nguyen deposited past Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, his former teammate. To add insult to injury, Agudelo added another in the 41st minute, driving home a near-post finish.
“When they’re in rhythm and they’re firing on all cylinders, I don’t think there’s a front three in the league that can be better than them,” said Tierney, who scored New England’s fifth on a penalty kick. “If we can get those guys going, we’re going to be tough to deal with.”
Their onslaught, though, comes with a grain of salt. The Loons, one of two expansion sides in 2017, have now allowed 18 goals in their first four MLS games. Furthermore, head coach Adrian Heath’s side were without nine players to international duty, injuries and suspension.
Still, the Revs were held scoreless from the run of play in their first two matches, only to explode offensively on the backs of Agudelo, Kamara and Nguyen’s adjusted roles.
“Me and Juan have always connected, and now with Kei it adds another dimension to our game,” Nguyen said. “Now that we have this triangle partnership, it’s going to be great going forward.”
Looking ahead, the question for New England is whether or not they can build off their performance against Minnesota. They take on the Portland Timbers next Sunday at Providence Park (9 pm ET | ESPN2 in US, MLS LIVE in Canada), a squad that raced out to a perfect start through their first three games. But with Agudelo, Kamara and Nguyen – a US national team hopeful, 2015 MLS MVP finalist and 2014 MLS MVP finalist – the Revs are optimistic about the future.
“When you have good players like that [who] are always moving and want the ball,” said Diego Fagundez, “then you just have to give them the ball and they just score goals.”