Jermaine Jones could have hardly picked a better time to make his New England debut. His new teammates did most of the hard work in the first half and gathered a three-goal lead by the hour mark. Toronto FC flailed around for much of the game in its attempts to find a foothold in the match somehow.
The balance of the game provided an ideal opportunity for Jones to make his first competitive appearance since the World Cup. The former Schalke midfielder replaced Daigo Kobayashi for the final 25 minutes and immediately set about working on his fitness for the remainder of the 3-0 victory.
Jones’ contributions to the game reflected his desire to find his footing with his new club and move forward in his quest to achieve full fitness. He did not push himself – there was no need in a 3-0 game, after all – yet he found a way to establish his presence nevertheless.
It isn’t particularly easy to measure how Jones influences a match. He isn’t always found on the tradition areas of the scoresheet. But the extent of his reach is somewhat apparent when broader factors are taken into account.
Jermaine Jones v. Toronto FC (25 minutes)
Those stats – rudimentary as they are given the lack of advanced data made available to the public – reflect how Jones put himself about during his first shift in a Revolution uniform. He covered space well and interjected himself into the play. He linked up with his teammates and used the time wisely to figure out how they functioned.
Most importantly, he offered a glimpse of his roving presence in the center of the park. If everything is proceeding according to plan with Jones, then his heat map should look something like it did against TFC. The sight of points plotted everywhere through the middle third bodes well for Jones as he continues to find his footing.
Jones is going to face sterner tests than he did in his first MLS match. This game posed little challenge given the circumstances and the temerity of TFC’s efforts. The tasks will get harder as the Revs push for a playoff berth, but this first step supplies the ideal starting point to grapple with them further down the line.