Archive | July, 2010

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Union will feel hard done by tie with New England

Posted on 31 July 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Le TouxThe Union returned to league action after a whirlwind of international friendlies and a flurry of roster changes to end July. Young goalkeeper Brian Perk was shown the door while a trio of new players joined the Union fold. Veteran Justin Mapp, journeyman Eduardo Coudet, and local boy J.T. Noone were on hand to take in the battle between two in-form sides. The Revolution are coming off three straight 1-0 wins in SuperLiga play while the Union enjoyed wins over Celtic FC and Toronto FC – much to Preki’s dismay – and a hard-fought loss 1-0 to Manchester United.

Two of the three new additions saw time on the day as New England and Philadelphia settled for a 1-1 stalemate after creating plenty of chances. Marko Perovic, as he has been recently for the Revolution, was the deciding factor in the Revolution’s fate scoring a late, fluky free kick to steal a point from the industrious Union eleven.

Early on, Fred looked the liveliest providing some creativity but the final touch was lacking. On more than one occasion, Fred’s final decision was just a step off from connecting with forward Danny Mwanga and Alejandro Moreno. It wasn’t until the 14th minute that there was a definitive chance on net but in spite of the lively play by the Union, it was New England’s Sainey Nyassi that provided the heart-stopping moment. A fantastic build-up started by Marko Perovic led to a wide open shot from Nyassi that missed just wide of the far post. Play continued to build back and forth but Fred and the revolving forward trio of Le Toux, Moreno, and Mwanga finally broke through in the 25th minute. Pinpoint interplay from those three allowed Le Toux the space to rocket a rolling Mwanga ball into the top right corner catching New England’s Matt Reis off guard. Le Toux’s 8th goal of the season proved to the Union faithful that just because his first half of the season was All-Star worthy for Le Toux, that doesn’t mean he plans on letting up in the second half. Danny Mwanga deserves huge credit on the goal, holding off Emmanuel Osei to create enough room for Le Toux to curl it far post. After the goal, things got a little chippy out there, especially in the midfield. Joseph, tired of the pesky Union distributors, was booked after chopping Miglioranzi down about 30 yards out. Referee Jasen Anno did the right thing to minimize injury time and blow for the end of the first half.

The start of the second half was slow to begin with the physical nature of the game wearing several of the players down. Moreno saw more time on the ground then on his feet as Emmanuel Osei chipped at him throughout the half. A possible handball on Califf in the 54th minute left Zach Schilawski jumping up and down, hoping the referee would change his mind. Much to his dismay, the whistle stayed quiet.

With Eduardo Coudet already enjoying an impressive debut, fellow new addition Justin Mapp entered the game for Danny Mwanga in the 56th minute. Mapp’s entrance caused quite the stir from the raucous River End, a very warm welcome after such a hasty exit  from Chicago. New England showed real signs of life with the entrance of Kenny Mansally for Zach Schilawski and allowing talisman Shalrie Joseph to push forward. Twice, a scramble in the box almost led to a New England player poking the ball home. Joseph’s mere presence in the penalty box forced Danny Califf and Cristian Arrieta to clear in a hurried manner. The chippiness continued with potshots being taken on both ends but the Revs firmly getting the calls that counted. In the 71st minute, after a questionable foul called on Marko Perovic roughly 40 yards out, the Serbian attacker unleashed an ambitious dipper that bounced in front of Chris Seitz. The shot’s english bounced the ball up and over the diving Seitz to tie things up and end Seitz’s bid for his first MLS shutout, a product of consistent pressure on the counterattack. It was a goal even New England’s coach admitted was a bit “lucky”. Piotr Nowak did not hold Seitz accountable for the goal, blaming it instead on something in front of the goal or “maybe, it’s the Jabulani?” he joked. Jack McInerney entered in the 83rd minute for Coudet announcing Nowak’s intention of attacking for the three points. McInerney put fresh legs into the attack but it was the dangerous Perovic that almost negated his influence on the game finding space at the top of the box and cracking one just over the bar in the 84th minute. The physical play continued but Anno was content to let it continue as the Union pressed for yet another dramatic turn of events. In the 88th, a loose ball caromed off the omnipresent Le Toux. One hard touch later, Le Toux – six yards out – rocketed a shot that was blocked by Emmanuel Osei. Less than a minute later, Le Toux found space from marker Shalrie Joseph and looked free to head home a Jack McInerney redirection across the box. Joseph tugged at Le Toux from behind sending the 18,147 in attendance rightfully clamoring for a penalty kick. Anno refused to give the crowd what they wanted and the game was over, a relatively lopsided 1-1 tie.

The Union still created chances amidst a hostile back and forth between the two teams. Danny Califf played admirably, snuffing out the opportunistic and Zach Schilawski and pacy Kenny Mansally. Once again, however, it was a story of missed chances and lack of execution with the final decision. The Union will have to execute in the final third this Thursday if they want to have a chance at grabbing more than one point from the visiting Columbus Crew.

We will have much more up tonight and tomorrow including pictures, video, and quick chats with Danny Mwanga, Justin Mapp, and Chris Seitz.

New England Revolution Starting XI

————————————–Reis———————————————–

Alston——————Osei——————Barnes————————-Gibbs

Nyassi—————–Joseph—————Phelan————————Tierney

————————————Perovic———————————————

———————————–Schilawski——————————————-

Philadelphia Union Starting XI

————————————–Seitz———————————————–

Orozco F.—————-Califf—————–Arrieta———————-Harvey

—————————Coudet————-Miglioranzi—————————-

Le Toux—————————————————————————-Fred

—————————Mwanga————–Moreno——————————-

Scoring:

PHI — Sebastien Le Toux 8 (Danny Mwanga 3) 25

NE — Marko Perovic 4 (unassisted) 70

Misconduct:

NE — Shalrie Joseph (caution; Reckless Tackle) 45

PHI — Fred (caution; Reckless Tackle) 60

NE — Marko Perovic (caution; Reckless Tackle) 85

Lineups:

New England Revolution — Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Emmanuel Osei, Darrius Barnes, Cory Gibbs, Sainey Nyassi, Shalrie Joseph, Pat Phelan, Chris Tierney, Zack Schilawski (Kenny Mansally 61), Marko Perovic

Philadelphia Union — Chris Seitz, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Danny Califf, Jordan Harvey, Cristian Arrieta, Sebastien Le Toux, Fred (Andrew Jacobson 77), Stefani Miglioranzi, Alejandro Moreno, Danny Mwanga (Justin Mapp 56), Eduard Coudet (Jack McInerney 83)

Referee: Jasen Anno
Referee’s Assistants: Thomas Supple; Steven Taylor
4th Official: Lee Suckle
Weather: Sunny and 83 degrees
Attendance: 18,147

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Revolution Draw Union at PPL Park

Posted on 31 July 2010 by sstoehrst

Chester, PA — The New England Revolution and the Philadelphia Union fought to a 1-1 draw Saturday afternoon away from home. Sebastien Le Toux continued his MVP form with a wonderfully-taken goal in the first half but the Revs hit back through the red-hot Marko Perovic, his fourth league goal this season.

The Revs picked up a much-needed road point to continue their league resurgence. While the Union faithful may look at this as a point lost, but they’ve maintained their league unbeaten streak at home and in the end, the teams were evenly-matched.

FIRST HALF:

The Revolution entered play on a 4-match shutout streak, but faced a daunting task as Philly are 2-1-0 at PPL Park and the Sons of Ben make it a hostile atmosphere for any visiting opponents. Sometime captain Cory Gibbs got the start at left back after returning from injury.

The match started slow, with neither team making any meaningful inroads. For the first 12 minutes or so Philadelphia had the better of the possession but the Revolution were giving them no ground in the attacking third. In fact, it was New England who had the first meaningful chance in the 14th minute. Shalrie Joseph started a mesmerizing passing sequence with a long floor pass to Schilawski, who laid off to Chris Tierney. The left midfielder cut inside and played a little one-two with Perovic before sending the ball to a wide-open Sainey Nyassi, but the young Gambian scuffed his shot just wide of the far post.

Sebastien Le Toux and Perovic both attempted speculative drives from distance that came to naught as each side pressed on in a match that looked very even. In the 23rd minute Alejandro Moreno committed a high-boot foul on Pat Phelan, but ended up worse for it and had to receive treatment on the sidelines.

(Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

It was Philadelphia who drew first blood. Le Toux played a slick one-two with Moreno before playing it in to rookie Danny Mwanga. The Congolese ex-pat striker did well to hold the ball up before making a quick turn. Le Toux read it well and curled a brilliant shot to the far-post upper 90 to make it 1-0 in front of their home fans.

Emboldened by their goal, Philadelphia took the match by the scruff of the neck and pressed the Revolution hard. Ten minutes after the goal Le Toux caught the Revs on the break and nearly had another chance in a similar position, but Emmanuel Osei managed to nick it off his feet to prevent disaster.

The Revs next meaningful chance was from a free kick. Perovic, ever-dangerous, hit it hard and beat the wall with some wicked swerve on it, but it flashed just over the bar. Seitz had the angle covered regardless. Joseph received the first yellow card of the match (and only his second of the season) in the 45th minute for a sliding challenge from behind on Miglioranzi. The Brazilian was shaken up on the play; he also collided with Le Toux and the combination appeared to put some stress on his knee.

In first-half stoppage time Le Toux nearly had his second has he dipped a good free kick on frame but Reis palmed it over the bar.

SECOND HALF:

The Revolution came out after the interval with guns blazing and took control of the first ten minutes or so of the half. A dangerous cross whipped in met the head of Shalrie Joseph, but he was well-covered and the ball bounced tamely into Chris Seitz’s gloves. That was followed up in the 51st minute by a blast from Kevin Alston at distance that blazed over the bar.

New England then had a very strong penalty shout turned away by the officials. A free kick was met by the head of Schilawski and the effort was goal-bound, but blocked by the arm of Stefani Miglioranzi. Schilawski immediately appealed for the penalty but it was refused, despite replays showing the ball meeting Miglioranzi’s outstretched arm. Minutes later, Schilawski set up Phelan for a long drive that didn’t threaten Seitz. Just after that Justin Mapp made his Union debut, coming on for Danny Mwanga.

The Union had their first registered shot in the 57th minute when Alejandro Moreno screwed a shot wide from just outside the box. Fred then became the second player to go into the referee’s book when he cynically kicked Shalrie Joseph in the hamstring with no attempt to play the ball three minutes later.

Kenny Mansally replaced Zack Schilawski in the 61st minute and just five minutes later found himself right in the thick of the action as he headed a dangerous Chris Tierney cross to Shalrie Joseph but the ball was cleared by Califf. The referee then incorrectly awarded a goal kick.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

New England kept up the pressure and in the 70th minute the inevitable finally happened and the Revs equalized. Marko Perovic curled a free kick from around 30 yards out, keeping it low. Seitz appeared to have it covered and dove, but the ball took a freak bounce from six yards out and jumped over the prostrate keeper and into the net. The goal was Perovic’s fourth in the last five matches, continuing his searing form over the last few weeks.

The Revolution continued their dominance after the goal. Smelling blood in the water, Kenny Mansally connected with a diving header in the 74th minute but it was right at Seitz who gobbled it up quickly.

Marko Perovic almost picked up his second goal of the match when he received an excellent pass from Kevin Alston at the top of the eighteen. He turned Orozco Fiscal inside-out but his shot flashed just high and wide. Perovic then earned a yellow card for a challenge from behind on substitute Andrew Jacobson. The ensuing free kick resulted in a very tame shot off the boot of Orozco Fiscal that Matt Reis saved very easily.

As the match wound down to full time, the Union took back the initiative. In the 89th minute there was a scrum in the Revs’ box as substitute Jack McInerney had a shot blocked that fell to Sebastien Le Toux, but Reis was out in a flash to deflect it wide. Just seconds later Justin Mapp blasted a shot wide from a tight angle.

In the dying seconds both teams had chances. Sebastien Le Toux put a header just wide and had a legitimate shout for a penalty turned down as Shalrie Joseph tugged his shirt as the ball came in. Then, at the other end, Marko Perovic sent a long-range free kick towards goal that took a deflection on the way in and nearly snuck inside the post. Seitz punched away the following corner and that turned out to be the last touch of the match.

The Revolution will be back in action on Wednesday, August 4th against Puebla in the SuperLiga semi-final, at home. A win would put them into their second final in the competition’s four seasons.

Attendance: 18,147

Scoring:

PHI – Le Toux 8 (Mwanga 3) 25’

NE – Perovic 4 (unassisted) 70’

Misconduct:

NE – Shalrie Joseph (caution, reckless tackle) 45’

PHI – Fred (caution, reckless tackle) 60’

NE – Marko Perovic (caution, reckless tackle) 85’

Lineups:

NE – Reis; Alston, Osei, Barnes, Gibbs; Nyassi, Joseph, Phelan, Tierney; Schilawski (Mansally 61’), Perovic
PHI – Seitz; Arrieta, Califf, Orozco, Harvey; Le Toux, Miglioranzi, Coudet (McInerney 83’), Fred (Jacobson 77’); Moreno, Mwanga (Mapp 56’)

Referee: Jasen Anno
Linesmen: Thomas Supple, Steven Taylor
4th Offical: Lee Suckle

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After the Dream Week, Wizards Set To Host Toronto

Posted on 31 July 2010 by Nate Brinson

The Kansas City Wizards have experienced a truly magnificent week. Their 2-1 victory over Manchester United last Sunday drew worldwide attention, particularly with the Wizards forced to play the entire second half with ten men after Jimmy Conrad’s red card. The Wizards organization could not possible have imagined that everything would go so well. The 52,000 fans in attendance (a newa Kansas City soccer attendance record) saw Peter Vermes’ team at its best. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made several key saves. The back line remained organized even after Conrad’s expulsion. Stephane Auvray impressed in his holding midfield role. Davy Arnaud’s storming runs forward were rewarded as he bagged the first goal against the Red Devils. Ryan Smith and Kei Kamara gave the United defense fits on the wings, and Sir Alex Ferguson singled out “the big lad up top”, aka rookie striker Teal Bunbury, for his impressive performance.

Perhaps even more vital to the Wizards organization was what happened after the game. In part inspired by the victory over Manchester United, the club sold 700 new tickets alone the day after the game. The club has sold a total of 1,100 new season tickets this past week for the 2011 season when they will open their new stadium.

Now, the team must find a way to put all of the hoopla behind them as they return to league play at CommunityAmerica Ballpark against Toronto FC. Two weeks ago, the club snapped a three game losing streak with a 1-0 road victory over Eastern Conference leading Columbus, and then picked up a point in a 1-1 draw with the Rapids in Colorado.

The turnaround in form is due in part to Vermes finding a successful starting eleven. Shavar Thomas, recently acquired from Philadelphia, has been an improvement in the center of defense. The midfield trio of Auvray, Craig Rocastle, and Arnaud has been able to control the center of field, and Bunbury’s physical presence has opened up space for Smith and Kamara on the flanks. The new starting eleven has finally displayed the type of fast-paced, high pressure, and free flowing game that the team showed in their 4-0 defeat of DC United in the season opener in March.

Meanwhile, Toronto enter the game after a 1-1 draw at home in league play against FC Dallas, and a 1-0 victory over Honduras side CD Motagua in CONCACAF Champions League play.

For both teams, concentration will be a key factor. For Toronto, the game in Kansas City is sandwiched between two continental games as the team will travel to Honduras on Tuesday for the return leg. Toronto would certainly like to atone for previous failures in the competition (including failing to qualify as Canada’s representative in 2008). However, the Reds would also like to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in the club’s history as they currently occupy the final playoff spot.

For the Wizards, they must find a way to harness all of the positive energy from the past week and not be distracted by it. The attitude in Vermes’ side has certainly skyrocketed, and while the team is on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture, a hot streak can easily vault them back into the hunt similar to the 2008 end of season run.

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One Up, One Down: Noone Signed, Perk Waived

Posted on 31 July 2010 by stoma

J.T. Noone officially joins the team as of yesterday, confirming what most around the team already knew.  Fans, of course, saw Noone appear for the Union in the Celtic FC friendly just over two weeks ago.  But he has been training with the Union for the better part of four months and had seen extensive action with the Union’s USL-2 affiliate, the Harrisburg City Islanders.

Noone now stands alone as the only local product to be a part of the big club.  The 22-year old may find the speed of the MLS game to be a bit quicker than he’s accustomed to, but his youth will not stick out on this Philadelphia squad, which is littered with teens and those in their early twenties.

Pursuant to the policies of both the MLS and the Philadelphia Union, the terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In other news, although Brian Perk was fast becoming a fan favorite, the Sons of Ben and other Union supporters will now have to follow him from afar or, worse, fear him coming back to haunt the team.  Perk was released yesterday in a move surrounded by zero fanfare, almost as if the club did not want to face the backlash from the passionate fan base.  Sure, cutting the 3rd keeper is not a particularly unusual move, but this one came out of nowhere.  After electrifying the crowd in the 2nd half of the Celtic FC friendly, Perk played a bit unevenly and gave up the sole goal against Manchester United.  He also got into a tiff with captain Danny Califf over a ball that lingered around the edge of the box, but it’s hard to imagine that was anything more than two players in the heat of battle making sure nothing went unnecessarily wrong.

The just-turned 21-year old seemed to be on the rise, but his star will have to shine elsewhere.  For the time being, no other goalkeeper signing has been announced, so we’ll see if there is a veteran in the wings or the team is just comfortable with two keepers, which is a bit unorthodox.  For now, though, all we have is speculation, so stay tuned.

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The Corner Stoehr: The Rumored and the Real

Posted on 30 July 2010 by sstoehrst

When news broke today of the Revs’ acquiring Betu and Ilija Stolica, I had mixed feelings. The move is obviously a step in the right direction; the Revs really, really need to find goals from somewhere and both Betu and Stolica are attacking players with goals in them, certainly. We can’t sit back and hope that Perovic does something astounding or Schilawski puts one in at home and realistically expect to be anywhere near the hunt for the playoffs.

Stolica, particularly, has a history of bagging goals in his much-traveled career. Top sources (Wikipedia) tell me that Ilija scored 7 goals in 11 appearances in half a season with Buducnost this season, which is no small feat in anybody’s league. He was very good back in Serbia and also fairly productive in both Belgium and Ukraine. At 31 he’s probably entering the decline of his career but his size (6’1”) and experience should be a huge benefit to the Revs’ strike force for the next few months.

Despite a decent enough CV, Stolica pales in comparison to the moves made recently by the Revs closest rivals in the East. Chicago signed Mexican international Nery Castillo, and just today it was announced that they traded draft picks to Seattle for Freddie Ljungberg. New York added Thierry Henry, and is expected to announce Rafa Marquez any day now. DC added Montenegro captain Branko Boskovic and Toronto snapped up Spanish striker Mista. All of these were DP signings and should vastly improve their respective teams’ offenses.

The Revs are already almost bottom of the table in the East. Stolica and Betu may represent improvement, but in the face of the overwhelming talent now saturating the rosters of most of their nearest competitors, New England can’t really expect to catch anyone they’re trailing.

Amidst this suddenly very interesting “silly season,” more rumors of possible DP signings have been flying around. Dave Checketts hinted that Ronaldinho would be landing in LA, although it seems that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Stern John was apparently all but signed by Columbus until his recent injury, and several names (Geovanni, Luis Garcia, Zvonimir Vukic, Nuno Gomes) have been revealed as having had talks with MLS about crossing the pond.

Not all of these last four players were linked with particular clubs, but surprisingly, Nuno Gomes is rumored to have spoken with the Revolution.

Mandatory Credit: Stu Forster /Allsport

Taking a moment to analyze the situation, Nuno Gomes actually fits the bill for Mike Burns’ party line on Designated Player signings. He would absolutely help the product on the field – he’s scored 160 goals in two stints with Benfica and 29 goals in 77 appearances for Portugal – and would likely make a huge splash in the prominent Portuguese population in the Boston area.

There are definitely questions surrounding this move. Do the Revs have the cap space? They seem to complain of a lack of available salary an awful lot but nobody on that squad besides Reis, Joseph, and Twellman makes that much. The bigger issue is roster space, as someone would have to be cut for the Revolution to make room for him.

There are certainly several players that would be no huge loss if they were gone. Should Jankauskas recover from his injury anytime soon, releasing him would be the best move the Revs have made all year. It’s safe to say the Joseph Niouky experiment is probably a failure; he could go. Pat Phelan’s versatility and determination are valuable but in the end, no fans would be particularly upset if he was shown the door. Players like Mansally and Colaluca have underperformed or not performed at all, and for a player of Gomes’ caliber could be worth losing.

This situation is really a litmus test for the honesty of the New England brass. If they truly are committed to only bringing in a DP that improves the product on and off the pitch, then they should be very seriously looking into Nuno Gomes. At 34 he’s probably only worth a contract through next season at DP dollars, but his undeniable talent would probably mean at least three or four extra wins this season and who-knows-how-many next year.

Regardless, major changes are afoot in Major League Soccer and it’s time the Revolution stepped up to the plate and made a move. This season certainly depends on it, and the next few might, too.

Please feel free to leave any and all questions or comments below!

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RSL hosts DC United, hopes to get back to winning ways

Posted on 30 July 2010 by kali

It’s no secret that Rio Tinto Stadium is a difficult place for visiting teams to play.

However, with Real Salt Lake going through a mini-slump as of late, the team will be looking to reaffirm that reputation at Rio Tinto on Saturday night when it plays host to DC United.  After a tough 1-1 draw at home to Chivas USA last weekend, RSL will put its club record 19-game home unbeaten streak on the line again as DC visits the Wasatch Front.

Saturday presents a golden opportunity for Real to get its winning form back ahead of a congested August schedule.  United is just 3-11-3 this season, with only one win and two draws on the road so far.

However, the team has more than just its recent form working against it as the players prepare to face United.  Jamison Olave, Javier Morales, and Nick Rimando all appeared in the MLS All-Star Game in Houston on Wednesday, which could have some effect on Kreis’ starting lineup.  Although Olave and Rimando only played one half on Wednesday, Morales played about 60 minutes in the heat and humidity.  Regarding Morales’ fatigue levels, Kreis told The Salt Lake Tribune, “We’ll have to talk to him and see how he feels.”

Meanwhile, Kyle Beckerman’s return to action last week gives Kreis some additional flexibility at central midfield.  Though Beckerman and defender Robbie Russell are both listed as probable for Saturday’s match, both should be in contention for starting roles against DC.

United coach Curt Onalfo, on the other hand, is dealing with a spate of injuries.  Midfielders Brandon Barklage and Juan Manuel Pena, goalkeeper Andrew Quinn, and defender Rodney Wallace are all out with long-term injuries.  In addition, defenders Marc Burch, Dejan Jakovic, Devon McTavish and strikers Adam Cristman and Chris Pontius have less-severe issues that have them listed as probable for Saturday.

However, despite the injuries, DC has several talented players that could pose problems for Real.  Andy Najar, who vexed the RSL defense during the teams’ last meeting at RFK in June, is quickly growing into an impact player and has three goals so far this season.  New signings Branko Boskovic and Pablo Hernandez will also be looking to kickstart their MLS careers as they integrate into the United roster.

The match will kick off at 7 pm and can be seen on the MLS Direct Kick package.

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DC United poised to exceed mediocrity

Posted on 30 July 2010 by Steve Long

The numbers don’t lie and they tell a sad tale for DC United. They will almost certainly not see the playoffs for a third straight year. Still, I expect this team to have a winning record for the remainder of the season. Here’s why.

They have shown steady growth as a team and the Onalfo style appears to lack only two elements which are now being addressed. The first is offensive variety and it has been improved impressively so far with the acquisition of Branko Boskovic and Pablo Hernandez.

The second is a defense weakened by injury, and that should be cured soon as two more players reach “probable” status and another two seem ready to return within a few weeks.

Let’s examine the squad as they prepare to meet Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Beginning with the heretofore anemic attack, Curt Onalfo appears to finally have sufficient variety and depth. The addition of a top line striker in Hernandez has made a major difference. The young Argentinian has the vision to link well with the midfield and make dangerous runs with and without the ball.

For the game against Real, he will probably be paired with Danny Allsopp who has earned a start with his recent hat trick. The Aussie has made clever runs with only rare reward until the advent of the two new signings. He will have his chance to shine on Saturday.

Moving to midfield, we encounter a very strong combination of wing attack and central vision. Boskovic continues to round into shape and grow more comfortable with his teammates. Although the altitude in Utah may limit his minutes this first time at that altitude, he should be able to drive the attack effectively long enough to unbalance Real.

He will require a more defensive minded Clyde Simms behind him for two reasons, the more important one being the need to protect a weakened defense which I will address later. The other is that Simms will be the sole defensive midfielder.

As the season has developed, DC United has steadily refined its wing attack, a major improvement over 2009. Until very recently, there has been no one inside to receive what service could be developed. With that inside help present, United has three strong players for the two wide slots.

With Chris Pontius just coming off a foot bruise, Onalfo is likely to start Andy Najar and Tino Quaranta, both of whom present serious threats. With the added midfield strength, United can place a bit less emphasis on defenders’ overlapping, thereby giving Simms a slightly less difficult job in support.

Real will attack with Robbie Findley, whose speed will demand that United have enough speed of their own. If Dejan Jakovic is fully fit (he is listed only as probable), he will be the key. If not, Onalfo will almost certainly need to start rookie Jordan Graye at left back.

If the game were a week later, Marc Burch might be ready, but the altitude presents too great a risk to allow two “probables” to start. Thus, we should see Julius James in the middle with Graye on the left and two slots filled by Carey Talley or Jakovic and Barry Rice or another “probable”, Devon McTavish.

It is clear that the final level protecting the goal will be sorely tested until the defense is fully healthy. United is fortunate to have two excellent keepers to provide the final impediment. Whether it is Troy Perkins or Bill Hamid, the keeper will have to excel. Given the altitude and his experience, it is likely that Perkins will start.

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Revolution Friday Update

Posted on 30 July 2010 by sstoehrst

I’m going to try and start a new weekly feature where every Friday Hank and/or I give a brief rundown of the week’s interesting news items, with opinion. Once replaced as the lead story, these articles will be available in the “Also Noted” section in the center of the page. Now, onto the news!

The breaking news in Revs camp is the announcement of two new signings from the international free-transfer market. Serbian forward Ilija Stolica and Brazilian attacking midfielder Roberto “Betu” Linck have inked contracts with MLS and will meet up with the Revolution after tomorrow’s trip to Philadelphia.

Stolica, 31, is a tall and strong forward who most recently plied his trade at FC Buducnost in Montenegro. He, like Marko Perovic, is a former Serbian youth international and Olympian, and will be expected to slot in quickly alongside Schilawski and Perovic up front. With Dube out for a couple weeks, Stolica should see action right away. His transfer is pending receipt of his P-1 Visa.

Betu is a younger player at 22 who, interestingly, will not count as an international player for roster purposes. Betu is a veteran of Gremio’s youth system but moved the US in 2002. He played college soccer at Irvine Valley College in California and also in the US Indoor Xtreme Soccer League with the Chicago Storm. He spent last season with Romanian second-division side CSM Râmnicu Vâlcea and is awaiting his international Transfer Certificate.

Both moves seem to be steps in the right direction – since the defense has apparently sorted itself out with the return of Darrius Barnes, the biggest problem facing the Revolution has been in attack. 15 goals in 15 MLS matches simply won’t cut it, and New England can’t rely on flashes of brilliance from Perovic and the occasional goal at home from Schilawski if they want to make a playoff push.

On the other hand, do the Revs really need more unknown international Bosman players? In a summer where New York has grabbed Henry and (apparently) Marquez, Chicago signed Nery Castillo, and Seattle added another DP in the Uruguayan World Cup vet Alvaro Fernández, it doesn’t say much for the organization to continue to deal in nameless players from the dredges of the European leagues. Nothing against the Montenegran top flight or Romania’s division 2, but shouldn’t MLS teams be shooting a little higher?

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The other big news item this week has been the announcement that the New England will be opening both sides of the bowl for seating at Gillette next season. Season tickets will be available at in prime Category I midfield seats and other sections in Category II and Category III areas will also be open.

This is certainly an exciting development but, to be frank, are the Revs really making up the kind of numbers that should encourage this move? The benefits for stadium atmosphere and acoustics are obvious, but unless the real problem of failing attendance numbers is addressed you’re just going to end up spreading 10,000 lonely souls over a larger surface area. In a cavernous place like Gillette that can often have the opposite effect of what the Revs Front Office is looking for.

On the injury front, Kheli Dube will miss the clash with the Union tomorrow with a knee ligament strain. He’ll be staying in Foxboro along with Nico Colaluca (ankle), Zak Boggs (concussion), Jason Griffiths (hamstring) and Edgaras Jankauskas (adductor). Preston Burpo (leg), though on the season-ending injury list, will be traveling with the squad to Philadelphia to watch the game and be among his teammates.

And finally some fun, as Shalrie Joseph joined fellow MLS All-Stars and several Manchester United stars, including Ryan Giggs, for a tour of NASA’s Houston facilities on Tuesday. Jeff Lemieux posted pictures on the Revs official blog, and you can view them here.

Opinions on the new signings? Do you think opening the whole bowl is a good idea? Leave questions and comments below!

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Revs Bolster The Attack

Posted on 30 July 2010 by Hank Alexandre

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Revs announced the signing of Serbian forward Ilija Stolica and Brazilian forward/midfielder Roberto “Betu” Linck today.

Stolica awaits issue of his US P-1 Visa and will occupy an international roster spot. Betu is a permanent US Resident and needs only his international Transfer Certificate. The pair are expected to join the squad after the road trip to Philadelphia this weekend.

“Our goal during this transfer window has been to bring in attacking players,” Revolution Vice President of Player Personnel Michael Burns said. “With Ilija, we’re getting a proven, veteran player who we’re expecting to come in and make contributions right away. Roberto is a younger player who we’re optimistic can help us during the second half of the season, as well.”

Stolica, 31, is a journeyman who comes to the Revolution from Montenegro’s FC Budocnost where he has played since January of this season. He played the 2005-2008 seasons in Belgium at Sint Truidense and R.A.E.C. Mons, before playing the second half of the 2008-09 season at OFI Crete of Greece.

The former Serbian Under-21 and Olympic team member began his career with Serbia’s FK Zemun, starting with the club’s youth teams in 1985 and debuting with the first team in 1995. After three seasons, he transferred to Spain’s EU Lleida for one season. Stolica returned to Serbia in 1999 to play two seasons at FK Partizan, before making a return engagement at FK Zemun through January 2003. He also played for two seasons each at FK Metalurg Donetsk (Ukraine) and OFK Beograd (Serbia) before his move to Belgium.

Linck, 21, joins the Revolution from Romania’s CSM Râmnicu Vâlcea, where he spent the 2010 season. Betu has also turned out for the Chicago Storm of the U.S. (Indoor) Xtreme Soccer League.

Linck played collegiate soccer at Irvine Valley College in California. Before moving to the States in 2002 he was a member of Gremio’s youth program.

The Revolution (4-9-2, 14 pts.) returns to MLS regular-season action on Saturday, July 31, when the team travels to face the expansion Philadelphia Union at PPL Park in Chester, PA. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m., with Comcast SportsNet New England televising the game, and 98.5 The Sports Hub carrying the game on the radio.

ROBERTO “BETU” LINCK
Jersey Number: No. 22
Pronunciation: ro-BER-to BET-too LINK
Position: Forward/Midfielder
D.O.B.: July 31, 1988 (Cachoeira do Sul, Brazil)
Height: 6-1
Weight: 163 lbs.
Hometown: Cachoeira do Sul, Brazil
Nationality: Brazil
Roster Status: Senior Roster (U.S. Permanent Resident)
College: Irvine Valley College (Calif.)
Last Club: CSM Râmnicu Vâlcea (ROU)
Youth Club: Inter FC
Acquired: Signed by the Revolution on July 30, 2010

ILIJA STOLICA
Jersey Number: No. 9
Pronunciation: EEL-ee-uh STOLL-ic-ka
Position: Forward
D.O.B.: July 7, 1979 (Belgrade, Serbia)
Height: 6-1
Weight: 185 lbs.
Hometown: Belgrade, Serbia
Nationality: Serbia
Roster Status: International
Last Club: FC Budocnost (MNE)
Acquired: Signed by the Revolution as an International on July 30, 2010

NB: All information provided by official Revolution press release.

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Former Player Profile: J.T. Noone

Posted on 30 July 2010 by Breton Bonnette

J.T. Noone at work for Temple

Position: Midfielder

Number: 17

Born: July 17, 1988

Birthplace: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

College: Temple

Height : 6’0″

Weight: 160

Previous Teams: Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)

Salary: $40,000 (2010)

How acquired (Union): Acquired on July 30, 2010 from USL-2 affiliate club, the Harrisburg City Islanders.

Stats

2010 with Philadelphia: Did not appear in Regular Season play. Played in several friendlies.

Did you know?

Noone went undrafted in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft which worked somewhat to his advantage. As an undrafted free agent, Noone worked out with his local team, the Union, joining their affiliate club and hometown team, the Harrisburg City Islanders before signing an MLS contract with the Union in late July.

Was previously with the Ocean City Barons of the USL’s Premier Development League. Noone was a key figure in the Barons Cinderella run in the US Open Cup, scoring a goal in their upset of USL-2’s Crystal Palace Baltimore, the gamewinning PK to beat the Charlotte Eagles (another USL-2 team), and faring well in a 2-0 loss to Major League Soccer side DC United.

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