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RAPIDS 2 – REVOLUTION 2

Posted on 25 July 2011 by Matty Jollie

Photo Courtesy of MLSSoccer.com

Commerce City, CO – Playing their second game in four nights, the New England Revolution (4-9-8, 20pts) fought to a wildly entertaining 2-2 draw with defending champion Colorado Rapids (7-6-10, 31pts) on Saturday night.  Coupled with their victory over D.C. United on Wednesday, the Revolution put together their best road trip of the season, and vaulted themselves out of the basement of the Eastern Conference and into seventh place, and only six points back of fourth place Sporting Kansas City.

Revolution head coach Steve Nicol once again opted for the 4-3-3 formation, playing Benny Feilhaber and Zack Schilawski up top with Rajko Lekic for an added offensive spark.  The three man midfield mirrored the one seen earlier in the year, with veterans Shalrie Joseph and Pat Phelan joined by rookie Stephen McCarthy. The only change seen in the back line was Darrius Barnes, replacing the injured Ryan Cochrane, who returned to Boston to have his injured foot examined by the team medical staff.

It was Colorado who began the game on the front foot early, creating good possession and pace throughout the first ten minutes.  Kosuke Kimura almost found the scoresheet in the just the second minute, creating his own opportunity by exploding down the right flank and cutting inside to the top of the box before firing on net, but it was once again Matt Reis to the rescue, as his athletic save kept the Revs level.

Despite having the edge in possession early on, Colorado found themselves trailing in the 25th after Benny Feilhaber scored his first goal for New England on a great hustle play.  Right-back Kevin Alston employed the long throw-in deep in Colorado territory, which found the head of McCarthy who used his height to flick the ball on to Feilhaber, who buried the chance  into the back of the net past Matt Pickens.

The 1-0 scoreline almost instantly inspired Colorado, as the Rapids increased the pace of play through their speedy flank midfielders.  Once again it was Matt Reis keeping the Revolution ahead, stopping Sanna Nyassi after the Gambian used his speed to get to the Revolution penalty area.  Colorado could only muster one other opportunity through Brian Mullan late in the half, but his full-fledged volley whistled just by the goal-frame, and Colorado went into half time trailing.

After absorbing most of the pressure late in the first half, it was New England who came out the aggressor when the match restarted.  After dominating possession through the first few minutes, an occurrence not too familiar, Shalrie Joseph unleashed an audacious, curling attempt on net that just barely missed the net in the 51st minute.

After a fairly timid ten minutes following the Joseph effort, the direction of the match took an unexpected twist, when Chris Tierney was judged to have taken down Sanna Nyassi from behind in the box. Nyassi received the ball in the box after a clever one-two pass, and got in behind the Revolution defense before Tierney left his feet and took down the Rapids’ striker. It was a straight red-card for the left-back, and not only was Matt Reis faced with a penalty kick, but now the visitors were a man down.

Caleb Folan stepped to the spot for the subsequent penalty kick, and as calm as you’d like, beat Matt Reis, leveling the match, and instantly gaining all of the momentum for the hosts.

Much to his credit, Steve Nicol didn’t fall back into too much of a defensive shell, making good substitutions late on in the match, most noticeably bringing on Kenny Mansally for Rajko Lekic, a move that would come into the spotlight later on.  The match also saw the inclusion of Franco Coria to shore up some defensive holes, and finally Sainey Nyassi, which, in turn, marked the first time the Nyassi twins has ever shared a pitch in MLS.

New England kept control of the match for most of the remainder of the match, staying organized defensively and moving forward when presented the opportunity, but unfortunately it would be the strangest goal seen in some time that would be their undoing.  It was Kimura again who controlled down the right flank, and when the Japanese midfielder played the ball into space in the Revolution box, ‘keeper Matt Reis came out to cut off the pass, only the ball took the biggest of bounces, and hopped directly over Reis and into the net.  Certainly the play can be described as a howler from the goalkeeper, but it deserves to be said the bounce the ball took was incredibly awkward, however each goal counts the same, and it was New England down not only a man, but now a goal as well.

Despite being down, New England continued to push and probe the Colorado defense late in the match, and in the dying moments, the Revolution struck gold.  Second half substitute Kenny Mansally found space at the top of the box and wriggled free, and was then judged to have been taken down by Scott Palguta inside the box.  New England was awarded a penalty kick in the 90th minute, and it was captain Shalrie Joseph who stepped to the spot and buried the late equalizer, giving the Revs their fourth point on the road trip.

With a bit of momentum on their side, New England now travels to Sporting Kansas City for what can be easily described as a huge six-point match on Saturday night. New England, fresh off their four point week, trail SKC by six points in the standings, and a victory over the Midwest club would pull them even closer to fourth place.

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New England Revolution at Colorado Rapids

July 23, 2011 – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Commerce City, Colo.)

New England Revolution 2, Colorado Rapids 2

 

Scoring Summary:

NE – Benny Feilhaber (Stephen McCarthy, Kevin Alston) 25

COL – Caleb Folan (penalty kick) 65

COL – Kosuke Kimura (unassisted) 82

NE – Shalrie Joseph (penalty kick) 90

 

New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes, Kevin Alston, Stephen McCarthy (Sainey Nyassi 68), Shalrie Joseph ©, Pat Phelan, Benny Feilhaber, Rajko Lekic (Kenny Mansally 75), Zack Schilawski (Franco Coria 66)

Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Ryan Guy, Diego Fagundez, Zak Boggs

STATS*: Shots: 6; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 2; Corner Kicks: 1; Offside: 6; Fouls Committed: 9

 

Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens, Drew Moor, Scott Palguta (Andre Akpan 91+), Marvell Wynne, Kosuke Kimura, Wells Thompson (Omar Cummings 46), Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Brian Mullan (Ross LaBauex 86), Sanna Nyassi, Caleb Folan

Substitutes Not Used: Steward Ceus, Joseph Nane, Mike Holody, Tyrone Marshall

STATS*: Shots: 7; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 1; Corner Kicks: 5; Offside: 2; Fouls Committed: 12

 

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

 

Misconduct Summary:

NE – Chris Tierney (ejection) 64

NE – Sainey Nyassi (caution) 82

 

Team Records:

New England Revolution – 4-9-8, 20 pts.

Colorado Rapids – 7-6-10, 31 pts.

 

Referee: Geoff Gamble

Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Brian Poeschel

Fourth Official: Silviu Petrescu
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 95 degrees

Attendance:  12,273

 

NOTES

-With the draw, the Revs moved to 11-18-9 all-time against Colorado, including a 3-12-4 mark in games played in Colorado

-The draw was the second of the season between the two teams after the clubs played to a 0-0 draw at Gillette Stadium on May 7

-The Revolution is now winless against Colorado in its last eight games (0-3-5) since the team’s last win against the Rapids, which was a 1-0 victory at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 29, 2007

-The draw allowed the teams to split the season series for the seventh time in league history (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009)

-The tie extended the Revs’ winless streak in games played in Mountain or Pacific time zones to 15 games, dating back to September 2009 … during that span, the Revs went 0-10-5, with their last win coming on Sept. 20, 2009 – a 1-0 victory at Seattle

-The Revs’ two goals are the team’s most scored in Colorado since the 2006 season when they fell, 3-2, at Invesco Field on July 4 behind goals from Clint Dempsey and Taylor Twellman

-Darrius Barnes returned to the starting lineup after spending two games on the bench to start the game … however, tonight he made his start at central defense – his preferred position – for the first time in 2011 … he has previously started games at left back and right back this season, but not his natural position

-Benny Feilhaber returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday’s win in D.C. while serving his mandatory one-game red-card suspension

-With his start tonight after drawing the starting assignment in D.C. on Wednesday, Zack Schilawski has started back-to-back games for the first time since April 9 vs. Real Salt Lake and April 17 at Houston

-Benny Feilhaber scored his first goal of his MLS career in the 25th minute … he entered the game with a team-high three assists … it took Feilhaber 10 games to score his first goal

-Stephen McCarthy recorded his first-career MLS assist with his headed flick to Benny Feilhaber for the Revs’ first goal … he came into the game with two goals, including the game-winning goal on Wednesday in D.C.

-Kevin Alston recorded his first assist of the 2011 season and his first assist since Sept. 4, 2010 in a 3-1 win against Seattle at Gillette Stadium … Alston how has three career assists, one in each of his three professional seasons so far (2009-present)

-Benny Feilhaber’s goal snapped a 175-minute scoreless streak for the Revolution at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park … the last goal the team scored came in the 29th minute on Oct. 3, 2009 from Kheli Dube off a Kenny Mansally free kick

-Tonight’s game marked just the third time this season – in 21 games – the Revs have led at the half, and just the second time on the road

-Chris Tierney’s red card ejection in the 64th minute was the first of his career and just the third card of any kind – yellow or red – in his four-year career spanning 63 games

-Tierney’s red card was the team’s sixth of the season (in just 21 games), and tied the club’s single-season record for red cards … in 1998, the Revolution were shown six red cards in the 32-game season

-The Revs surrendered a penalty kick for the second consecutive game and for the sixth overall time this season … New England’s opponents are five-for-six from the spot this season with the only miss coming on Wednesday night when Charlie Davies sent his attempt high

-When Sainey Nyassi came into the game in the 68th minute, it marked the first time that the Nyassi identical twins (Sanna plays for Colorado) faced each other … in five previous meetings (two each in 2009 and 2010 while Sanna was with Seattle, and earlier this year on May 7 when Sanna did not travel with the Rapids to Foxborough), they never were on the field at the same time … they came the closest in 2009 in Seattle when Sainey came off the field and Sanna went on two minutes later

-Shalrie Joseph scored his team-leading sixth goal in the 90th minute … three of his six goals have come from the penalty spot … with his successful penalty attempt, he extended his club record penalty-kick mark to 11

-Tonight’s game is the second of two straight road games … the Revs traveled to Colorado directly from Washington, D.C., and spent an extra day in Colorado … the D.C.-Colorado trip is the team’s only multiple-game road trip of the 2011 season

-After kicking off on Wednesday being 91 degrees with a dew point in the mid-70s, tonight the teams kicked off at 95 degrees, despite being much less humid … this marks the first time in Revs club history that they’ve kicked off back-to-back games in 90+ degree temperatures

-Ryan Cochrane, who started the trip in D.C. with the Revs, did not travel to Colorado after returning home on Thursday to have his left foot further examined … Cochrane left the game in the 22nd minute on Wednesday against United with persistent pain in the foot.

-The Revolution wore white tops with blue shorts and white socks for just the second time this season in a uniform that paired items from their standard primary and back-up unis … the last time the team work the white/blue uniform was on April 2 in a home game against Portland … in that game, the referees determined the Revs’ primary home blue uniforms were too close a match to Portland’s primary green uniforms and the Revs needed to switch tops less than one-hour before kickoff… tonight, Colorado’s primary uniform includes white shorts, so the Revs needed to switch to their dark shorts, however those uniform assignments were noted well before game night

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FIRE 1 – REVOLUTION 1

Posted on 19 June 2011 by Matty Jollie

In another wildly entertaining affair, the New England Revolution (3-7-6, 15pts) drew 1-1 with Eastern Conference rival Chicago Fire (2-4-9, 15pts), through an early second half goal from striker Rajko Lekic.  The draw gave New England 2 points from their brief two game homestand, keeping them tied with Chicago for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

New England had only two changes to the starting lineup that faced Toronto on Wednesday night, as Franco Coria slipped in at center-back for Ryan Cochrane, and Revs’ veteran Sainey Nyassi took over at right midfield for the injured Zak Boggs, who sustained a right MCL strain in the match against Toronto.

The match kicked off under clear skies and in front of a spirited crowd of over 14,000, and almost right from the beginning this contest was spirited, wide open, and easy to watch. Both sides created early chances, with the first true chance falling to Sainey Nyassi in the 10th minute, when Pat Phelan’s long ball found him in space down the right side (a sight that was seen plenty of times on the night), giving Nyassi the chance to fire on net, but his low-driven effort was smothered by Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson at the near post.

After a few more jabs and counters, it was the Fire’s turn to ask questions of the Revolution goal, when striker Christian Nazarit had only the post better him in the 16th minute. Nazarit found the smallest pocket of space in the Revolution box, out-foxed Franco Coria, and fired a toe-poke effort that beat keeper Matt Reis, but shot off the crossbar and out for a goal kick, keeping the match level.

The next fifteen minutes were owned by New England, who saw chances from Rajko Lekic, Sainey Nyassi and Pat Phelan all denied, and the constant pressure on the Chicago Fire goal continued in the 28th minute when Darrius Barnes found Kevin Alston again through a long ball down the right flank, who then carved into the box and found Lekic, whose left-footed volley was well struck but also well saved by Johnson.

Chicago turned the match on its head in the 31st minute when they finally managed to beat Matt Reis and take the lead through Dominic Oduro.  The goal was completely against the run of play, and came off of a well-executed counter-attack after a Revs’ set piece.  After clearing the Revs’ set piece effort, Patrick Nyarko tore through the midfield and found Oduro, whose speed was enough to get him past Darrius Barnes and into enough open space to calmly slot home the opening goal. Oduro gave all the credit to his teammate, saying “I think it was a breakaway from Patrick’s (Nyarko) end. Again, we’ve been working on this transition. He saw me make a run, through ball, took the guy on the run, I saw an opening and I just put the ball right there.”

New England regained their composure after giving up the opener, and almost found the equalizer in the 39th minute, when again it was Nyassi finding space down the same right flank, cutting in and firing a well weighted cross that found the head of Kenny Mansally, but the Gambian’s headed effort from less than a few yards out was too tall and sailed over the crossbar.

The match headed to the halftime locker room with Chicago still leading 1-0, but it was New England with all of the momentum as they continued to pressure and create chances up until match referee Silviu Petrescu blew the whistle for halftime.

The second half began with no changes for either side, and again it was New England on the front foot, going forward aggressively and giving themselves multiple opportunities to equalize, and almost immediately after the second half restart, the hard work finally paid off.

New England earned a free kick in a dangerous area in the 48th minute, and after the original effort from Pat Phelan was blocked, the ball squibbed through to Rajko Lekic, who was able to beat a belated offside trap from the Fire back line, and the Revolution striker ever-so-smoothly finished past a diving Sean Johnson, and the match was once again level.

It was Lekic’ first goal since April 23rd against Sporting Kansas City, and the Danish league star was more than pleased to finally get back on the scoresheet.  It was a bit of a disjointed sequence of play, as Lekic alluded to, “I saw that Pat (Phelan) was going to shoot. I was thinking if he missed the ball, I was all alone and I can get the ball in a free position and then make the goal hopefully. And that happened. So I made the goal like that.”

The tying goal from New England ignited the style of the match, and it was the Revs taking the initiative several times down the same right flank through Nyassi, who had chances denied in the 54th and 60th minute. As the match wore on, it continued to feel like there was one goal left out there, and it almost came in the 69th minute in a strange sequence of play.

New England broke through the Fire midfield and the ball came to Lekic, who managed to find space at the top of the box but was taken down by Gonzalo Segares.  Shalrie Joseph then immediately took the free kick on a quick restart, and found Kenny Mansally inside the box, who blasted over the Fire goal and into the crowd.  Head Coach Steve Nicol didn’t seem surprised by the quick restart from Joseph in such a dangerous area, “I have no problem with (Shalrie Joseph’s quick restart) whatsoever. It’s a great ball, he’s put Kenny (Mansally) clean through with a goalkeeper to beat. I mean, what more do you want?”

Both sides made their substitutions in the latter stages of the second half, and a switch made by New England in the 72nd minute stood out almost immediately, when Ryan Guy, recently signed from Ireland and making his MLS debut, made a huge headed clearance off the goal line, denying Chicago the go ahead goal. Steve Nicol commented  on the new arrival’s debut, “I think (Ryan Guy) did great when he came in. That sticks out. He was alert on the goal line – that’s why he’s there, but you still have to make the header (save), which was obviously great. And he looked dangerous and decent on the ball going forward.”

As the match wound down it was evident that New England were on their last legs (the Revs were coming off only 3 days rest after their draw with Toronto FC on Wednesday night) and Chicago began taking advantage, but Matt Reis was equal to the task on several occasions.  Steve Nicol inserted Zack Schilawski into the match in the 81st minute for Kenny Mansally, trying to inject some life into the attack and take some pressure off of the tired legs at the back.

Man of the Match, Matt Reis, saved the point for New England in the 88th minute, when he denied second half substitute Gabriel Ferrari’s rocketed shot, making a huge diving save to his left and parrying the ball away, keeping the match level.

The final whistle blew after five minutes of stoppage time, although not long before Rajko Lekic nearly won it at the end, when the striker found the smallest amount of space at the left side of he box, jostled himself free and played the ball up to his left foot and volleyed hard to the far post beating the Fire keeper but sailing just wide.

Although the draw was certainly not the result New England was hoping for, Revolution defender A.J. Soares was pleased with the effort from his teammates, “we worked hard, we created chances, and when you play like that, you’re going to win a lot of games.” It was clear from the start the effort was there from Steve Nicol’s men, who was pleased with the effort and stated it was just the little things that weren’t falling their way, saying “(We’re missing) a wee bit of something – a wee bit of composure, a wee bit of quality. We’re not kicking the backside off it, but there’s a fine line between picking up maximum points and not.”

After this brief two game homestand New England now heads off on the road to face both an imposing foe and a great atmosphere when they take on the Seattle Sounders next Sunday afternoon at Qwest Field, kickoff is set for 4 p.m. EST.

 

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New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire

June 18, 2011 – Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)

 

New England Revolution 1, Chicago Fire 1

 

Scoring Summary:

CHI – Dominic Oduro (Patrick Nyarko) 32

NE – Rajko Lekic (Pat Phelan) 48

 

New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Darrius Barnes, A.J. Soares, Franco Coria, Kevin Alston, Chris Tierney (Ryan Guy 71), Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph ©, Sainey Nyassi, Kenny Mansally (Zack Schilawski 81), Rajko Lekic

 

Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Otto Loewy, Andrew Sousa, Stephen McCarthy, Ryan Kinne

 

STATS*: Shots: 19; Shots on Goal: 8; Saves: 5; Corner Kicks: 8; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 12

 

Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson, Gonzalo Segares, Cory Gibbs, Yamith Cuesta, Jalil Anibaba, Patrick Nyarko, Logan Pause ©, Baggio Husidic (Daniel Paladini 74), Dominic Oduro, Cristian Nazarit, Diego Chaves (Orr Barouch 63)

 

Substitutes Not Used: Jon Conway, Corben Bone, Dasan Robinson, Bratislav Ristic, Gabriel Ferrari

 

STATS*: Shots: 13; Shots on Goal: 7; Saves: 6; Corner Kicks: 9; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 16

 

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

 

Misconduct Summary:

CHI – Cristian Nazarit (caution) 59

CHI – Gonzalo Segares (caution) 66

CHI – Dominic Oduro (caution) 77

NE – Shalrie Joseph (caution) 78

CHI – Daniel Paladini (caution) 90

 

 

Referee: Silviu Petrescu

Assistant Referees: Daniel Belleau, Eric Proctor

Fourth Official: Drew Fischer
Weather: Partly cloudy, 78 degrees

Attendance: 14,246

 

Records:

New England: 3-7-6, 15 pts.

Chicago: 2-4-9, 15 pts.

 

NOTES

 

With the draw, the Revs moved to a 13-17-9 overall record against the Chicago Fire

The Revs remain winless against the Fire in regular-season matches in their last nine meetings, with New England’s last in-season win coming May 6, 2007 at Gillette Stadium (3-1)

The teams will close out their two-game season series on Sunday, Sept. 25, at Toyota Park

The draw extended the Revs’ unbeaten streak to two games, marking the team’s first consecutive results since a scoreless draw on Saturday, May 7, followed by a win on Saturday, May 14

The Revs’ 11 first-half shots were more than or equal to the team’s full-game totals in 13 of the previous 15 matches entering this game

Tonight marked Matt Reis’ 200th start as a member of the Revolution … Reis ranks third in games started, behind only Jay Heaps (238) and Shalrie Joseph (221 and counting)

Ryan Guy made his first appearance for the Revolution tonight, entering the game as a substitute in the 71st minute

Rajko Lekic scored his second goal of the season in the 48th minute … his first came on April 23 in the Revs’ 3-2 win against Sporting Kansas City … Lekic is now the second player – along with Shalrie Joseph – to have scored multiple goals during the 2011 season

Pat Phelan earned his second assist of the season on Lekic’s goal, a career high for the fourth-year pro

Both Ryan Cochrane and Zak Boggs missed tonight’s game because of injury, Cochrane with a left hamstring strain and Boggs with a right MCL sprain

 

 

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PREVIEW: Fire @ Revolution

Posted on 17 June 2011 by Matty Jollie

Saturday evening marks the third match in eight days for the New England Revolution (3-7-5, 14pts), as they entertain the Chicago Fire (2-4-8, 14pts) to wrap up the Revs’ brief homestand.  New England enters the match on only three days’ rest after battling to a 0-0 draw on Wednesday night with Toronto FC in front of a sparsely populated Gillette Stadium, while Chicago has been flying high of late, defeating Columbus 1-0 on Sunday afternoon, their third successive shutout under new head coach Frank Klopas.  This particular fixture has always been hotly contested, and the history between the two sides is well documented, however with recent results being what they are, both sides are certainly more focused on getting a result, rather than getting caught up in a rivalry. With only five wins between the two clubs, look for an intense, physical matchup on Saturday, as they both look to right the ship in Foxboro.  Let’s take a look at how the match shapes up on the field:

GOALKEEPER: You’ve got to admire the way Revolution keeper Matt Reis has played this season. Constantly battling through injuries, Reis has found his best form as of late, showing signs that his health is close to fully-healed.  Coming off of a shutout of Toronto FC on Wednesday night, look for Matt Reis between the pipes again on Saturday.  Chicago will counter with 22-year old Sean Johnson, who, under new head coach Frank Klopas’ new system, has flourished.  The Atlanta-born Johnson has always possessed the size and length, but until recently lacked the polish necessary to lead a club on a week-in week-out basis, however with three consecutive shutouts and a struggling Revs’ offense, Johnson has got to love his chances for a fourth clean sheet in as many matches. ADVANTAGE: NEW ENGLAND. When Matt Reis is healthy, there are few better, although Johnson is clearly the hotter hand coming into Saturday.

DEFENDERS: When you examine the Revolution’s recent struggles, it often times has not been the deficiency of their back four. Given the injury bug that has plagued the team, the back line has seemingly persevered throughout the 2011 campaign.  Kevin Alston has remained healthy for most of the season which is always a bright spot for New England, and rookie A.J. Soares has clearly become the leader at the center of the Revolution defense.  Even through the recent winless streak, the defense has shown good communication and cohesion, and its’ lack of team speed at the back has seemed to be what has done them in. Didier Domi did not play on Wednesday night, and it would be hard to see him return only a few days later, so look for Darrius Barnes, who has performed admirably, to fill in at left-back once again. After a horrendous start to the new season, Chicago has seemingly shored up its defensive wall recently under their new regime.  Old friend Cory Gibbs will be found at the center of the revamped Fire defense, and through his veteran leadership the Fire have found good form, as well as finally gaining some composure and structure at the back. Gibbs will be joined by other MLS veterans Gonzalo Segares and Jalil Anibaba, who have also played big roles in the defensive renaissance in Chicago. ADVANTAGE: Chicago. You’ve got to play the hot hand, and the Fire haven’t conceded since the end of May.

MIDFIELDERS: In what has been yet another injury riddled season, New England will once again piece together a central midfield, as they will most likely be without the services of Ousmane Dabo and Benny Feilhaber on Saturday night. While Dabo was listed as out on the latest injury report, Revs’ fans can find a little solace in the fact that Feilhaber WAS upgraded to doubtful, but it would be a minor medical miracle to see the USMNT product on the field against Chicago.  Captain Shalrie Joseph will be in the middle of it all once again, and after not seeing the field on Saturday night, one can expect to see rookie Stephen McCarthy back in the midfield after a stale performance from New England on Wednesday.  Wing play has settled down ever so slightly for the Revs’, as Chris Tierney has filled the left midfield role quite nicely, providing better service to the players up top, but it is the right wing that continues to be the thorn in the side of the Revolution. Neither Sainey Nyassi or Zak Boggs have truly distanced themselves from the other this season, and while it has been Boggs receiving the lions’ share of the minutes, one wonders if perhaps head coach Steve Nicol should throw a curve ball somewhere soon and insert the likes of Kenny Mansally in the mix to see if perhaps a different formula would produce a better result.  Chicago has talent aplenty in their midfield, with the speed of Patrick Nyarko and the playmaking abilities of Baggoi Husidic and Dominic Oduro, and continue to improve their run of play under Klopas.  It will certainly come down to how the Revolution bottle up the speed of Nyarko, as has been the case in several matches this season for New England.  In the middle of the park , New England can without a doubt overpower the central midfielders of Chicago, and that particular matchup will be important to the success of the Revs’ on Saturday night. With Nyarko kept quiet, New England can battle through the match in the center of the field, and try to scratch out a result over a slightly more talented Fire midfield. ADVANTAGE: Push. Both teams have strengths and weaknesses that actually complement the other side. It’s going to come down to who imposes their will on the other.

FORWARDS: It’s easily said that New England has struggled offensively, but what is not easily said is why: Rajko Lekic simply doesn’t look the part.  After scoring against Sporting Kansas City, Lekic has almost disappeared, and if it weren’t for the constant temper tantrums thrown and the countless kicks to sideline advertisement boards, he’d be completely invisible.  One can argue the lack of service, one can argue attitude, but there is no arguing the fact that Rajko Lekic has failed to score since April 23rd. A bright spot for the Revs’ offense is that Steve NIcol has seemingly scrapped the stand-alone striker formation, adding Kenny Mansally to the strike tandem with Lekic on Wednesday night.  Lekic needs to be partnered with a possession type strike partner, and the team did look a little better with Zack Schilawski in there with him in the second half, so look for the second year man to get a little more run on Saturday night.  Chicago hasn’t exactly been scorching the nets either, scoring only one goal in their last three league matches, and will look to improve against a New England side that has the tendency to struggle with containing speed.  Th biggest concern with Chicago is quite simply the lack of talent up top.  Diego Chaves has yet to pan out and really stand out from the rest of the pack, and often times, it’s Nyarko who moves up from a midfield spot to give the attack a little bit of a bite.  With the departure of Gaston Puerari to Club Atlas in Mexico, the questions only increase, as now head coach Frank Klopas is left with another hole in his attack. Look for a lesser-known forward to get a look on Saturday night, and if you would like a name to look out for, keep an eye out for 19-year old Orr Barrouch, who has seen some time, and will now almost by default, see more minutes in the Chicago attack. ADVANTAGE: Push. Neither side scores at will. If you really needed an answer, New England would get the edge almost by default with Chicago’s forward depth in flux.  It wouldn’t be a surprise that if any goals were to be scored on Saturday night, they’d come from the midfield.

PREDICTION: Saturday night is one of those matches that could go either way.  Chicago is very hot defensively right now, and New England has struggled to score goals.  While New England is coming off only three days’ rest, Chicago has had all week to prepare.  With injuries still plaguing the Revolution midfield, it’s hard to see the results taking a turn for the better. Patrick Nyarko will find space through his speed and create the lone goal of the match. FIRE 1 – REVOLUTION 0.

 

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SuperLiga SuperRevs!! Revs Advance On PK’s, Stay Perfect In SuperLiga

Posted on 04 August 2010 by Hank Alexandre

The New England Revolution advanced to the SuperLiga finals for the second time in three years as they defeated Mexican side Puebla FC 5-3 on penalty kicks.

Kenny Mansally scored the only goal for the Revs in regulation and drove home the winning tally on the Revs fifth and final penalty after Puebla’s Edgar Lugo’s shot was saved by New England keeper Matt Reis, who was easily man of the match.

The two sides ended dead locked at 1 – 1 after 90 minutes of what can only be called sloppy football in which both sides missed multiple chances and struggled to take hold of the game.

Despite playing their second game in 5 days, with a third game against rival DC United this Saturday, Steve Nicol played most of his regulars, sticking with his core group of Shalrie Joseph, Matt Reis, and Marko Perovic, as well as Barnes, Alston, Osei, Niouky, and Nyassi.  Seth Sinovic started in place of Cory Gibbs, and Khano Smith took the left midfield position over Chris Tierney.  Kenny Mansally partnered with Perovic up top, leaving rookie Zack Schilawski on the bench.

Puebla easily dominated the opening minutes, pressuring the Revolution in the their attacking end of the field.  In the first 6 minutes Puebla had a number of chances from set pieces that failed to connect.  Puebla’s Gabriel Pereyra, arguably their best player, sent in three dangerous crosses into the box that repeatedly tested the Revs, who had not been scored upon in the SuperLiga group stages.

However, Pereyra’s corner in the 6th minute gave the Revolution some concerns, as it was well met by Puebla Defender Joaquin Velasquez, who rose above the revolution to head the ball towards frame, but just missed over the crossbar.

The Revs seemed to strengthen their resolve and began to get more into the game.  In the 13th minute, Marko Perovic, who has enjoyed a recent spell of good form during the last 5 matches, had an opportunity to score in his third consecutive superliga match and fifth consecutive game for the Revs in all competions with a free kick awarded in the 13 minutes, well within striking distance.  The ball curled toward the near post, but Puebla goalkeeper Hernandez was well positioned to make the save.

Hernandez also arguably made a key stop as he came out to the top of his area to challenge Kenny Mansally.  Hernandez seemingly made contact with Mansally, who lost control of the ball when he fell to the ground, but no penalty was given, despite the fact that the Mexican keeper was the last man between Mansally and the goal.

Steve Nicol was forced to make an early substitution and bring in Zack Schilawski when Marko Perovic went down in a collision in the 33rd minute.  Perovic’s presence in the middle of the pitch was missed as Puebla began to reassert themselves in the last part of the second half, but the Revs defense was up to the task and managed to get out of the half without conceding a goal.

Second half substitutions were made on both sides of the field, with the Revs’  Cory Gibbs coming on for Sinovic, and Puebla using three of their four substitutions, taking off Acosta, Garcia and Sanchez in favor of Roberto Juarez, Orlando Rincon, and Edgar Lugo.

While Puebla may have had the edge in the first half, the second half was for the most part dominated by the Revs.  Matt Reis continued his excellent run of form making save after save while the Revs got more into the attack.  Schilawski had the best first chance in the half for the Revs with the keeper beaten, but his strike was cleared off the line by a Puebla defender.

It was the smart play of Kevin Alston who set up the first goal of the match, finding Shalrie Joseph in stride.  Shalrie then played a perfect through pass to Kenny Mansally, who beat the defense and struck the ball well past the arms of the diving keeper into the back of the net.

However, Puebla would immediately strike back with a goal of their own, but not without controversy.  As the ball was played in to Puebla’s star player Pereyra, it appeared to hit his hand as he turned on Revs defender Darrius Barnes.  No call was given and Pereyra struck the ball inside the near post, just beating Matt Reis, ending the Revolution’s SuperLiga shutout streak.

The Revolution had the better of the chances in the remainder of the match, again with Mansally, with the keeper beaten, somehow missing the open net.  Minutes later Sainey Nyassi found Schilawski in front of the net with a perfect cross that he headed just wide of the post.  The last chance for the Revolution came in the 89th minute with a well stuck ball from Mansally, but Hernandez saved the ball off the near post for a corner kick, and the game went on to penalties.

From the penalty spot the Revolution took care of business, with Matt Reis making the key save (as well as converting a penalty) and Kenny Mansally striking home the clincher.

Unfortunately, Referee Roberto Moreno of Panama became the center of attention as the match went on.  A number of challenges and hand balls were miscalled or not called, and two yellow cards were awarded to revolution players for dissent.

Having the best record in the competion, the Revs will host the SuperLiga 2010 final against either the the Houston Dynamo and Monarcas Morelia (semifinal winner TBD Thursday, August 5) at the end of the month (date also TBD).

Scoring Summary:
NE – Kenny Mansally (Shalrie Joseph) 56
PUE – Andres Olivera (Gabriel Pereyra) 58

Penalty Summary:
NE – Shalrie Joseph (Goal)
PUE – Andres Olivera (Goal)
NE – Matt Reis (Goal)
PUE – Roberto Juarez (Goal)
NE – Chris Tierney (Goal)
PUE – Felip Ayala (Goal)
NE – Pat Phelan (Goal)
PUE – Edgar Lugo (Save)
NE – Kenny Mansally (Goal)

Revolution win on penalty kicks, 5-3

New England Revolution: Reis, Sinovic (Gibbs 46), Barnes, Osei, Alston (Phelan 64), Smith (Tierney 69), Joseph,  Niouky, Nyassi, Perovic (Schilawski 33), Mansally

Substitutes Not Used: Shuttleworth, Murray, Linck

STATS: Shots: 11; Shots on Goal: 5; Saves: 4; Corner Kicks: 8; Offside: 2; Fouls Committed: 14

Puebla: Hernandez , Velasquez, Ortiz, Acosta (Juarez 46), Garcia (Rincon 46), Olivera , Ayala, Gonzalez (Zarete 58), Gonzalez, Pereya, Sanchez (Lugo 46)

Substitutes Not Used: Rulfo, Rivera, Garmendia

STATS: Shots: 15; Shots on Goal: 5; Saves: 3; Corner Kicks: 7; Offside: 4; Fouls Committed: 15

Misconduct Summary:
NE – Sainey Nyassi (caution) 25
PUE – Roberto Juarez (caution) 61
NE – Cory Gibbs (caution) 72
NE – Kenny Mansally (caution) 87

Referee: Roberto Moreno
Referee’s Assistants: Daniel Williamson, Jamie smith
Fourth Official: Niko Bratsis
Weather: Cloudy and 88 degrees
Attendance: 5,854

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Home opener with Toronto FC on deck

Posted on 09 April 2010 by Liam O'Connell

Kenny Mansally ©ASN

On Saturday, April 10th, the New England Revolution kick off their home opener, hosting Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium.  The Revs will be looking to build on the momentum gained from their first victory of the season last weekend away at D.C. United.

Many of the Revolution players will also be looking to build on personal success and experience from the past two road games.  Kenny Mansally in particular will try to emulate the performance he put in last week.  The young Gambian came on as a second half sub and in a matter of minutes made his presence known.  He went on to score the two deciding goals of the match – the second a potential goal of the year candidate – and earn an MLS Player of the Week award.

This will mark the eighth all-time regular season meeting between the Revolution and TFC, as Toronto entered Major League Soccer as an expansion team in 2007. The Revs hold a 3-1-3 advantage in the series, but are 1-1-2 against TFC since its inaugural season. New England has never lost to Toronto at Gillette Stadium, posting a 3-0-1 record in TFC’s visits Foxborough.

The Revolution will be hoping many of their key players will continue on their road to recovery from some inkling injuries that have kept them off of the field for the 2010 season so far.  Luckily, both Darrius Barnes and Shalrie Joseph look to be close to full strength, with the two returning to training at the end of this week.

During the offseason, the Revs brought in a number of trialists, hoping to find someone who can add a spark to the team’s offensive efforts.  None impressed more than Marco Perovic. The 26-year old Serbian was signed in late March, and with the completion of all the right paperwork, has finally arrived in Foxborough.  The Revolution will be looking for him to make an immediate impact with no defined goal scorer having stepped up since Taylor Twellman’s long-term injury that has kept him out of action since late 2008.

This game versus Toronto has one very intriguing story line in particular.  The victory of D.C. last weekend was head coach Steve Nicol’s 99th win of his career.  This will make him only the third coach in MLS to reach this milestone, with only Sigi Schmid and Bob Bradley ahead of him.  It’s only fitting that Nicol has the chance to reach this great milestone at Gillette Stadium, in front of the home fans who are so appreciative of the success he has brought their team.

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