MLS’s Revolution Dominates Harvard in Scrimmage at Ohiri Field

On Friday afternoon, the Harvard’s men’s soccer team got a chance to see how the pros do it up close and personal. And they came away quite impressed.

The Crimson came up on the losing end of a 4-0 contest against the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer in the first of back-to-back 45-minute scrimmages for the Revolution.

In what was just its first competitive action since beginning spring practice last week, the Crimson struggled to mount any significant offensive attacks against a team that featured the likes of former U.S. national team player Joe-Max Moore and current national team star Taylor Twellman.

This match marked the first time the team played without its outgoing seniors, including Kevin Ara, now of the MLS’s DC United.

Also missing was Matt Hoff, Ivy League Rookie of the Year and last year’s leading scorer.

Twellman, who tied for the MLS lead in goals scored last year despite missing eight of 30 games, got off to a quick start for New England in the sixth minute.

A run down the right side by midfielder Felix Brillant led to a pair of corners for the Revolution. Harvard deflected the first out-of-bounds but was unable to deny Twellman on the next as he headed the feed from José Cancela into the top left corner by Crimson keeper Ryan Johnson.

New England continued to push the ball up the right side for the remainder for the half as Harvard seemed unable to contain Brillant. In the 22nd minute, Twellman connected again off a well-placed Brillant cross from near the end line for the 2-0 lead.

Paul Mariner, an assistant coach with the Revolution, described Twellman simply as a “goal scorer.”

Mariner, who last year served as an assistant to former New England player and current Harvard coach John Kerr, added that though Twellman “needs to work on some things, he’s a very good player.”

In the 25th minute, a cross from the right side intended for Moore was deflected by Harvard into its own net, increasing the margin to three.

Twellman completed his hat trick in the 40th minute with another header off a terrific feed from Brillant.

Jamie Roth, who replaced Johnson in goal for the Crimson partway through the scrimmage, was impressed with the touch the Revolution showed near the net.

“Their ability to put the ball wherever they want to really sets them apart from most people we play,” Roth said.

Although the Crimson was unable to pose a threat to last year’s MLS Eastern Conference runner-up, incoming captain Will Craig was happy with the team’s performance and described the learning experience of playing against professionals as “great.”

“[The Revolution were] so much smarter,” Craig said. “They think two steps ahead. They helped expose some of our problems [including not] staying compact on defense [and not] communicating enough.”

In the second half of the doubleheader, the Revolution played to a 1-1 draw with UConn. New England, playing without Brillant, Moore and Cancela, went down early on a goal by Huskies forward Steve Sealy. A header by the Revolution’s Jay Heaps in the 15th minute knotted it up, but the Revs couldn’t pull ahead despite several chances late in the period.

New England opened its regular season with a 3-2 loss in Los Angeles against the Galaxy on April 3. The Revolution’s home opener will be held next Saturday in Foxboro against the defending MLS champions, the San Jose Earthquakes.

—Staff writer Gregory B. Michnikov can be reached at michnik@fas.harvard.edu.

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