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Friedel has revitalized New England

New England Revolution
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New England Revolution lose U.S. Open Cup final to FC Dallas

Juan Agudelo works to get around FC Dallas midfielder Ryan Hollingshead at Toyota Stadium during New England's 4-2 loss.
Juan Agudelo works to get around FC Dallas midfielder Ryan Hollingshead at Toyota Stadium during New England's 4-2 loss.

Juan Agudelo scored twice, but it wasn't nearly enough for the New England Revolution, who were thrashed by a potent FC Dallas attack that staked a 4-2 win to claim the 2016 U.S. Open Cup championship following Tuesday's tournament final at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Agudelo, who scored in his third straight game with a sixth-minute tally, gave the locals a lead that didn't last. Following the early strike, FC Dallas stormed back. Max Urruti's first goal leveled it in 15th minute, before Matt Hedges grabbed the go-ahead in the 40th minute. Mauro Diaz essentially put the match to bed on a 45+7' strike from the spot after Hedges was pulled down inside the box by Jose Goncalves. Urruti scored his second in the 61st minute, and Agudelo tallied goal No. 2 in the 73rd minute.

The Revolution suffered a pair of key losses before halftime. Defensive midfielder Gershon Koffie and left back Je-Vaughn Watson exited with injuries in the 42nd and 45+3 minutes, respectively.

With Tuesday's Cup final loss, the Revolution are now 1-2 all-time in U.S. Open Cup title matches, with their lone win coming in 2007 against Dallas. Across all Cup finals, the club is 1-7, a record that includes five MLS Cup final losses.

On the other side of the pitch, Dallas, which entered the match with an MLS-best 51 points, was able to avenge its 2007 Cup final loss to New England. The victory assures the team a spot in the next edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.

What it means: Aside from the obvious -- a missed opportunity to lift a trophy -- Tuesday's final was a reminder of why the Revolution currently reside below the red line in league play: a porous defense plagued by fundamental mistakes. On Urruti's goal, Watson was little more than a bystander, as the Dallas striker used the space and time afforded to him to rip one into the Revolution net. On the game-winner, Hedges was hardly marked when he put his header through.

In a fine piece of overcompensation, Goncalves pulled Hedges down inside the box on his next chance at a header, a scene that didn't go unnoticed by the assistant referee, who signaled to head referee Baldomero Toldeo that a penalty was warranted. Finally, Urruti used his speed to burn a pair of defenders en route to a breakaway goal after the hour mark. Despite their promising form in league play, the Revolution were quickly brought down to earth by the best team in the league and were punished for their carelessness in the process.

Stat of the match: The final score of Tuesday's final was identical to that of the previous Revolution-FC Dallas matchup, which occurred May 21 at Gillette Stadium.

Tierney absent from XI: The Revolution coach made one change to his lineup following Saturday's triumph over New York City, and it was a noticeable one. Starting left back Chris Tierney was dropped from the lineup in favor of versatile defender Je-Vaughn Watson, who squared off against the same FC Dallas side he suited up for from 2013-15. Tierney saw action when he spelled an injured Watson right before halftime.

Five to go in league play: With their attention turned toward the playoff hunt, the eighth-place Revolution will play the first of their last five regular-season matches on Saturday, when they head north to face the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The Revolution will attempt to avenge their 3-2 loss on July 2 in a game that featured three unanswered goals from the Impact after Kei Kamara scored the first two in the early stages.

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