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Revs, Rapids looking to fix flaws in Desert Diamond Cup match

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MLS preseason

Revs, Rapids looking to fix flaws in Desert Diamond Cup match

  • Colorado's Dillon Powers scores a penalty kick in Wednesday's match against Sporting Kansas City.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comColorado's Dillon Powers scores a penalty kick in Wednesday's match against Sporting Kansas City.

The Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution suit up Saturday for a Desert Diamond Cup game. It won’t only be a dress rehearsal from their March 4 opening day contest against each other, but will be a chance for both teams to work on some necessary changes from last season.

“A little consistency,” was how New England coach Jay Heaps summed up what was missing for the team in 2016. “We have to put together not 15 games, 20 games. It’s got to be 34 games.”

The Revs had high hopes after last year’s preseason when they won the Desert Diamond Cup here in Tucson. But, a summer swoon left the team with only three wins between June and August. A late season run was not enough to get the team into the playoffs.

Heaps and company will be looking to solidify a back line that gave up 54 goals last season. In addition to a more cohesive back line, U.S. national team prospect Cody Cropper has joined the team to provide depth and competition at goal.

The Rapids are a very different story.

“We’ve identified defense as our strength. We are pretty much taking care of that ourselves,” Colorado midfieler Dillon Powers. “Our weakness is we are not scoring goals, so we are really focused on the attack.”

The stats bear that out. They shut out opponents 10 times last season. The trouble is, they only scored 39 goals. Only two teams were either at or below that level. It still got them deep into the playoffs, but left them without answers when they faced the strong attack of Seattle in the conference final.

A rope, a tree, hang the VAR!

Powers became a part of soccer history on Wednesday in Colorado’s match against Kansas City. Late in the match, with Colorado down by a goal, he was called on to take a penalty for his side.

It was a bit odd given that the infraction, a handball in the box, came a few minutes before.

The call was part of FIFA and Major League Soccer’s experiment with “Video Assistant Referees.” The delay came because, soccer being soccer, there had to be a break in the action before the play could be reviewed.

Video review can only be used in a very limited set of circumstances. According to FIFA, a play can only be reviewed if a goal was scored, it is a penalty decision, a direct red-card incident, or to review mistaken identity.

Plays have been reviewed in preseason, but this was the first one to result in a goal.

“It was strange,” said Powers. “Things happen on the field. If the whistle doesn’t blow, you tend to forget about it. To have them go back and make the call was very strange.”

“I’m undecided about it,” said Powers about how he thinks of the new system. “We’re so used to the way it has been.”

Powers may need to get used to the new way. MLS plans to implement the system by the mid-season All-Star break.

Ted Prezelski writes about all things soccer, fútbol and piłka nożna for and at the blog How Flair is Punished (

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