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Damian Rivera’s brace leads New England Revolution to first preseason win

Homegrown midfielder Damian Rivera scored twice as the New England Revolution defeated the Colorado Rapids 3-1 in preseason action.

• New England Revolution play against Colorado Rapids
New England Revolution took on the Colorado Rapids in a preseason match Thursday (Photo credit: New England Revolution)

A banner performance by homegrown midfielder Damian Rivera powered the New England Revolution to a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids in a preseason friendly Wednesday.

Rivera, a 17-year-old from Cranston, RI who became New England’s seventh all-time homegrown player signing in November, scored in the seventh and 19th minutes of his first-team debut as the Revs captured their first win of preseason.

New England, which opened preseason Monday with a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park, will now travel to Portland, Oregon for a trio of friendlies against Minnesota United FC (Feb. 16), the Vancouver Whitecaps (Feb. 19) and the Portland Timbers (Feb. 22).

Rivera finished a cross from the right flank by Dejuan Jones, who also played the final 30 minutes versus the Galaxy, to open the scoring against Colorado. Rivera’s brace came 12 minutes later when he finished a run through the Rapids’ back line with a left-footed drive.

Tajon Buchanan converted to make it 3-0 in the 53rd minute by finishing another Jones cross from the right wing.

Jonathan Lewis pulled a goal back for Colorado in the 57th minute.

Additional notes:

  • Rivera follows in the footsteps of fellow New England homegrown player Diego Fagundez in having a productive debut. Fagundez drew a penalty kick and scored a goal in his first professional start, a 3-2 loss to Chivas USA in August 2011. However, Rivera’s tallies against Colorado won’t be officially logged as his first professional goals, as they came in a preseason friendly.
  • New England’s starting XI Wednesday featured just one change to the team that was on the field at the final whistle of the 2-1 loss to the Galaxy: Rivera for midfielder Nicolas Firmino.
  • As was the case Monday, veterans Antonio Delamea, Carles Gil, Luis Caicedo, and Alexander Buttner did not play against Colorado. Revolution head coach Bruce Arena said their absences were a fitness matter.
  • Michael Mancienne, who also did not play Monday for the same reason as the aforementioned quartet, came on at the hour mark Wednesday against the Rapids. Mancienne lated 17 minutes and came off injured.
  • Brad Knighton started in net for New England against Colorado after Matt Turner – fresh off his return from U.S. men’s national team duties – joined the club in camp. Knighton came out at halftime for Jeff Caldwell.
  • Simon Lekressner played in both preseason games and is the only 2020 SuperDraft selection not yet under contract.




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