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San Jose Earthquakes 2 – Revolution 1

Posted on 23 May 2011 by Matty Jollie

In their fourth trip out to the West Coast, the New England Revolution (3-4-4, 13pts) fell once again to the San Jose Earthquakes (3-4-3, 12pts) 2-1 on Saturday Night. On a night where the Revolution actually saw more possession and a higher pass percentage, it was once again the lack of quality in the final third, as well as a few defensive miscues, that did in New England.

The Revolution began the match with their first unchanged lineup of the season, as head coach Steve Nicol chose to keep the same side that defeated Vancouver a week earlier.  New England came out strong in the early going, seeing the bulk of possession, and for the first time looked comfortable in maintaining the ball through the middle of the field.

In spite of the Revs controlling the early run of play, it was San Jose creating both of the game’s first scoring chances, the first of which was a Joey Gjertsen blast from the top of the box that forced goalkeeper Matt Reis into a very good save. Six minutes later, it was  Khari Stephenson who saw his free kick blast ring off the crossbar, missing the opener by a few inches.

San Jose’s chances appeared to awaken New England, who saw their first true scoring opportunity in the 26th minute, when captain Shalrie Joseph found a pocket of space at the top of the Quakes’ box and fired a well-struck effort that beat both ‘keeper Jon Busch and the far post, keeping the match knotted up at nil-nil.

The match saw little else in the first half, save for a meager appeal for a penalty kick, when Revolution midfielder Chris Tierney was seemingly taken down in the box, but match referee Yader Reyes denied the shouts from several Revolution players, and the match entered the halftime locker room still scoreless.

New England continued their strong play as the second half began and found themselves a solid scoring opportunity in the 56th minute when Joseph and Benny Feilhaber connected through the middle of the field to set up striker Rajko Lekic, who shot across the body of Busch, who made a fine save to keep Lekic off of the scoresheet.

San Jose finally broke through for the opener despite the Revolution controlling most of the play in the 71st minute when Chris Wondolowski wriggled free along the right flank and sent in a perfectly weighted cross that found a wide open Ellis McGloughlin at the back post, whose strong header beat ‘keeper Matt Reis to the back post and gave the home side the lead.

The match saw its second goal slightly over ten minutes later in the 82nd minute, when Bobby Convey’s free kick beat a caught-cheating Matt Reis, giving San Jose a 2-0 lead, and Convey a spectacular entry into the “goal of the week” competition. Convey’s effort curled around the wall, and then towered over Reis and found a home in the top-left corner of the net.

New England found the net finally in the 86th minute through a well-crafted, left-footed,  Chris Tierney free kick that curled around the wall at the top of the box, and beat Busch just inside the left post. The goal cut the Quakes’ lead in half, and New England found itself with only a precious few minutes to find a late equalizer, however it was not to be, as the whistle blew (seemingly a minute too early) ending the match, and the Revs once again found themselves on the losing end of a West Coast trip.

New England travels to Kansas City for a mid-week fixture in the U.S. Open Cup play-in round, and then return home for a Saturday match against David Beckham, Landon Donovan and the rest of the Los Angeles Galaxy in the return match after the two sides drew 1-1 in the season opener.

Scoring Summary:

SJ – Ellis McLoughlin (Chris Wondowlowski) 71

SJ – Bobby Convey (unassisted) 83

NE – Chris Tierney (unassisted) 86

 

New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Darrius Barnes, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane (Zack Schilawski 83), Kevin Alston, Chris Tierney, Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph ©, Stephen McCarthy, Zak Boggs (Sainey Nyassi 66), Rajko Lekic

 

Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Franco Coria, Kenny Mansally, Kheli Dube, Pat Phelan

 

STATS*: Shots: 10; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 2; Corner Kicks: 8; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 13

 

San Jose Earthquakes: Jon Busch, Bobby Convey, Ike Opara, Jason Hernandez, Chris Leitch, Ryan Johnson (Ellis McLoughlin 67), Khari Stephenson, Brad Ring, Joey Gjertsen (Anthony Ampaipitakwong 64), Steven Lenhart, Chris Wondolowski ©

 

Substitutes Not Used: Andew Weber, Steven Beitashour, Bobby Burling, Sam Cronin, Matt Luzunaris

 

STATS*: Shots: 11; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 2; Corner Kicks: 3; Offside: 4; Fouls Committed: 17

 

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

 

Misconduct Summary:

SJ – Bobby Convey (caution) 53

SJ – Steven Lenhart (caution) 57

 

Team Records:

New England Revolution – 3-4-4, 13 pts.

San Jose Earthquakes – 3-4-3, 12 pts.

 

Referee: Yader Reyes

Assistant Referees: Peter Balciunas, Adam Garner

Fourth Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Clear and 71 degrees

Attendance: 9,736

 

NOTES

  • With the loss, the Revolution fell to 11-18-4 all-time against San Jose, including a 5-8-3 mark on the road … the Revs are now winless against San Jose in the last three matches
  • The loss extended the Revs’ winless streak on the West Coast to eight matches, dating back to the start of the 2010 season … the Revs are now 0-6-2 in West Coast games since taking a 1-0 win at Seattle on Aug. 20, 2009
  • There were no changes to the lineup that head coach Steve Nicol used in the last match … tonight’s match marked the first time this season Nicol used the same a repeat starting 11, both overall and in back-to-back matches … overall this season, New England has run out 10 different starting lineups in 11 games
  • Ryan Cochrane (2001-03) and Stephen McCarthy (2006-08) both played collegiately at Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus on Santa Clara University, the home the school shares with the Earthquakes …. both are former three-year performers at Santa Clara
  • This game marked the first time in his eight-year career that Ryan Cochrane faced his former team – the Earthquakes – of four seasons … during the whole or parts of his four seasons in Houston, he never once faced San Jose, with whom he began his MLS career in 2004
  • Chris Tierney scored his first goal of the season and his second career goal with his 86th-minute free kick goal
  • Ellis McLoughlin’s 71st minute goal for San Jose snapped the Revs’ 283-minute shutout streak that dated back to April 30 against Chivas USA (57th minute)

 

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Preview: Revs at San Jose Earthquakes

Posted on 20 May 2011 by Hank Alexandre

Even though the New England Revolution are squaring off against the San Jose Earthquakes for the first time this season, this is already the Revs’ fourth trip to the west coast.  So far the boys in blues have held their own against the left coast teams, managing a draw against both the Galaxy and the Whitecaps, before finally losing on their last trip against Chivas USA, 3-0.  Since that loss however, the Revs have managed 2 clean sheets and 4 points out of their last possible 6.  San Jose, having struggled for most of the season, finally put together a win against Columbus last weekend, breaking a 6 game winless streak.  With both teams desperately looking to find some semblance of a rhythm heading into this weekends match, it will more than likely be a slugfest when they take to the field.  Here’s how the two match up.

GOALKEEPERS: Two veteran netminders will be between the posts on Saturday night, with over 20 years of MLS experience between them.  San Jose has John Busch, who has played every minute of every game for the Quakes this season.  Busch is not the most physical goal keeper, but he is always well positioned and keeps his back line very well organized.  Despite the fact that San Jose has only kept two clean sheets this season, Busch has only let in a respectable 11 goals to date.  New England’s Matt Reis also has two shutouts to his credit, but in just 7 starts this season, and has only allowed 6 goals.  ADVANTAGE: New England – Despite the lack of offense in the Revolutions last two opponents, Reis’s current form is the chief reason they kept their opponents scoreless.

DEFENDERS: The Revs back line has seen some changes from game to game this season, but the depth has been solid.  Steve Nicol seems to have settled on a central defense with rookie AJ Soares partnering with veteran Ryan Cochrane.  On the right side, Kevin Alston has consistently improved over the last month, while on the left, without the services of Didier Domi, Nicol will more than likely start Darrius Barnes who played fairly well against Shea Salinas of Vancouver last weekend.  San Jose, who will be without Tim Ward (injury) and Brandon McDonald (red card), will have to come up with a brand new formation for the second week in a row.  Look for Jason Hernandez to pair up with Ike Opara in the midfield, and Convey and Leitch to reprise their roles at left and right back. ADVANTAGE: New England – Consistency and depth in the back give the Revs an edge.

MIDFIELDERS: Depending on you interpret the Revolution’s formation, you may see a 4-3-3 or a 4-5-1. Regardless, Steve Nicol’s new central pairing of Feilhaber and Joseph has shown promise over the last 4 games, however with little to show for it.  The Revolution will also once again be without Ousmane Dabo and Marko Perovic, both quality players this team desparately needs.  Instead the Revs will once again rely on Chris Tierney on the left wing, and more than likely 2nd year man Zak Boggs on the the right. Rookie Stephen McCarthy will likely back up Shalrie and Benny in the middle.  The Quakes, however, have attacking power in the midfield with Ryan Johnson, and creative aptitude in Joey Gjertsen.  Without Simon Dawkins however, San Jose has struggled to maintain possession.  ADVANTAGE: Push – Shalrie and Benny are good, but they need to find a way to contribute to the attack.

FORWARDS: By far the Revs’ greatest weakness is in the forward line.  Rajko Lekic has yet to establish himself as the teams solution for the lack of goal scoring.  However, the Revs bench has had little to offer as well.  With Zack Schilawski and Kheli Dube as the only other options for Steve Nicol, Lekic will likely be the lone striker for the Revs.   San Jose will have the services of Steven Lenhart and Chris Wondolowski – need I say more? ADVANTAGE: San Jose.  New England just don’t have the creative element in the final third.

PREDICTION: Despite the offensive mismatch, New England has a strong core which will be able to control the flow of play for the majority of the game.  If the Revs can get an early goal, they will manage the game to a 1-0 win.

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San Jose stifle RSL in scoreless draw

Posted on 26 June 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake returned from the World Cup break Friday night, stumbling at home in a disappointing 0-0 draw to the San Jose Earthquakes. It was a miserable affair for both teams as well as the fans as the match turned out to be a lackluster affair full of squandered opportunities. While RSL created the majority of the chances, one would be hard pressed to argue that San Jose didn’t deserve the point as they were clearly the more organized side.

It would be easy for one to assume that the poor result and overall play was nothing more than fallout from the extended layoff. However, RSL coach Jason Kreis felt like the layoff was not the culprit. “I don’t want to blame it on the break or anything. Our energy wasn’t good enough in first half and it got a little better in second half. I felt like we let 45 minutes slip tonight with our play in the first half and it cost us.”

Both teams fielded similar lineups to what they were using prior to the break, with a couple of notable exceptions. RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman continued his stint on the bench as he recovers from a foot injury suffered nearly two months ago. Ned Grabavoy continuing to admirably fill the holding midfield role instead of unproven second-year player Jean Alexandre. Newly acquired midfielder Sam Cronin also saw his first start for San Jose, adding a new sense of bite and control to a midfield that seemed just a player away from being competitive.

At the outset of the match it appeared that RSL’s forward tandem of Fabian Espíndola and Alvaro Saborío would be too much for San Jose, and they continued their impressive form of creating chances for each other. As the match lingered on, this tandem became less and less effective, with Kreis pulling Saborío surprisingly early in the second half in exchange for Pablo Campos. San Jose appeared happy to sit back and rely on counterattacking opportunities, with substitute Javier Robles nearly stealing a late goal if not for a stunning save from keeper Nick Rimando.

While the fans and players have every right to be disappointed with the draw, some solace can be taken from a number of positives on the evening as Rimando continued his fantastic form, particularly with the match on the line. It was Rimando’s third consecutive clean sheet as he has now shut out opponents for 318 straight minutes, the second-longest in club history. The draw also ensured that RSL would add to their club-record undefeated streak at eight matches while bettering the team’s club-record home unbeaten streak in MLS action to 17 games. RSL will hope that next week produces better results, as they play a Friday night match against the New England Revolution before heading back on the road.

“At the end of the game, I’m patting Nick Rimando on the back and saying, ‘You just saved us two points and saved us from giving San Jose all three of them’,” stated Kreis. “I told the guys yesterday that all of the Western Conference games from here on out are hugely important. We need to be pushing other teams down and rising up.”

REAL SALT LAKE (7-3-3, 24 pts.) v. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-4-3, 18 pts.)
FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010 – RIO TINTO STADIUM

Scoring Summary:
None

Misconduct Summary:
SJ – Ramiro Corrales (caution; Tactical Foul) 58
SJ – Jon Busch (caution; Delaying a Restart) 60
SJ – Javier Robles (caution; Reckless Tackle) 85
RSL – Pablo Campos (caution; Tactical Foul) 87

San Jose Earthquakes – GK-Jon Busch; DF-Jason Hernandez, DF-Bobby Burling, DF-Ike Opara, DF-Ramiro Corrales (Capt.); MF-Steven Beitashour, MF-Brandon McDonald, MF-Sam Cronin, MF-Bobby Convey; FW-Chris Wondolowski (Javier Robles 74), FW-Ryan Johnson (Cornell Glen 68).

Statistics: SHOTS: 14 (Wondolowski 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Corrales, Glen 2); SAVES: 1 (Busch 1); FOULS: 10 (Cronin 3); CORNERS: 5 (Convey 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Wondolowski 1)

Real Salt Lake – GK-Nick Rimando; DF-Robbie Russell, DF-Nat Borchers (Capt.), DF-Jamison Olave, DF-Chris Wingert; MF-Andy Williams, MF-Ned Grabavoy (Collen Warner 73), MF-Javier Morales, MF-Will Johnson (Jean Alexandre 89); FW-Alvaro Saborio (Pablo Campos 60), FW-Fabian Espindola.

Statistics: SHOTS: 13 (Williams 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Johnson 1); SAVES: 8 (Rimando 8); FOULS: 13 (Espindola, Morales 3); CORNERS: 5 (Morales 5); OFFSIDES: 1 (Wingert 1)

Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Referee’s Assistants: Corey Rockwell; Greg Barkey
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 84 degrees / Attendance: 16,216

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Unfinished Business – San Jose 1 Seattle 0

Posted on 22 May 2010 by Kyle Alm

Stuff like this caught Schmid's ire...

San Jose took three points on the road at Qwest Field and all it took was three shots. The Quakes put one shot on goal in the 11th minute and that was all that it took. The ball was crossed by Brandon McDonald from the far right all the way across, past James Riley and Bobby Burling, dropping to a wide-open Chris Wondolowski who did not leave any doubt that he can finish.

Sounders got behind the high back-line of the San Jose Earthquakes, won 11 corners (one shy of the team record for all you stat nerds), took 18 shots but only manage three shots on frame.

There were many positive things about the match. Nyassi was productive and his replacement also did quite well. Gonzalez and Riley were able to contain Gjertsen and Convey respectively, certainly a big key to the game and probably why San Jose only managed three shots. Sounders not only took a fairly large number of corner kicks but they looked in control and turned corner kicks into scoring opportunities.

Finishing, remains the team’s bugaboo. Blaise N’kufo simply cannot get here soon enough.

The real bombshell hit at the press conference when Sigi Schimd made several overtures that are seemingly directed at Freddie Ljungberg, wondering why unnamed players throw up their hands when there is a bad pass or arguing with the referee when the play is going on. Freddie Ljungberg, you are no longer in the good graces of Sigi Schmid and are officially on notice.

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Podcast: Episode 20 – The Midnight Ride: Tied With Two Microphones?

Posted on 17 May 2010 by Hank Alexandre

In this week’s episode, the curse of the second microphone crept into the playback, but the content is all good as Hank, Sean and Brian discuss the game against San Jose, the 5 man midfield, Pat Phelan as Center Back, and the state of the New England Revolution roster.

Click here to listen

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Revs Quakes stalemate yields a positive point

Posted on 16 May 2010 by Hank Alexandre

For just the second time this season and the first time in over a month, the New England Revolution were able to keep a clean sheet as they held their opponents the San Jose Earthquakes scoreless.   Although the Revs were not able to find the back of the net themselves, they proved not only to have the defensive mettle necessary to earn a draw, but showed strength in the midfield for the second league game in a row.

Steve Nicol was again forced to field a make-shift line up with regular starters Darrius Barnes, Emmanuel Osei, and Shalrie Joseph all unavailable.  The injuries to both Barnes (foot ligament) and Osei (leg infection) forced Nicol to move defensive midfielder Pat Phelan to a center back position to partner with Revs captain Cory Gibbs, who was also carrying a slight quad strain.   Although Phelan played center back in college at Wake Forest, it was just his second start in this position for the Revs, the first coming last Wednesday night in a 3-0 loss to NY Red Bulls in the US Open Cup. Phelan and Gibbs were flanked on the right by Kevin Alston, who was also returning from injury, and by rookie Seth Sinovic on the left, making his 9th straight league start.

For the second league match in a row, Nicol strengthened his midfield by fielding 5 across the middle.  Sainey Nyassi played on his usual right side, with rookie Zak Boggs resuming his role from last Saturday night against Columbus on the left flank, where he scored the Revs’ only goals of the match and the first two of his career.  In the defensive midfielder spot Chris Tierney proved his versatility playing along side Joseph Niouky.  Marko Perovic, who missed the Columbus game due to suspension, played in an attacking midfielder position, leaving Kheli Dube up top as the lone forward.  Goalkeeper Preston Burpo made his 9th straight start for the Revolution in league play.

San Jose Head Coach Frank Yallop fielded a straight 4-4-2 formation very similar to the one he fielded against the Revs earlier this season.  Longtime ‘Quake Keeper Joe Cannon made the start along with Quakes captain Ramiro Corrales and Jason Hernandez.  Chris Leitch, who missed the first game against the Revs, returned to the starting lineup; however, rookie Ike Opara, who scored against the Revs in their first meeting, sat out due to injury and did not make the trip.  He was replaced by defender Bobby Burling. Joey Gjertsen, Andre Luiz, Brandon McDonald and Bobby Convey played the midfield, with Boston’s own Ryan Johnson and Chris Wondolowski up front.

After some good pressure by the Revolution early on in the match which saw Perovic and Nyassi looking dangerous in the attacking end of the pitch, along with a long range shot by Alston that sailed over the cross bar, the Quakes applied some pressure of their own.  A poor touch by Niouky in his defensive half yielded a long range shot by McDonald in the 7th minute, and in the 8th minute Wondolowski ran on to the end of a through pass from Convey and squared it for Johnson in front of the net, but Johnson’s low driven effort was stopped by a tremendous foot save by Burpo.

For the rest of the first half, the Revolution applied good pressure in the San Jose end of the field.  In the 13th minute, a throw in from Sinovic from the left corner led to some good possession in front of the San Jose goal.  The throw in was headed away by San Jose, but right back to Sinovic, who put in a perfect ball to Zak Boggs, but lost his footing and the ball was again cleared away.  Boggs however did well to track it down, and resume the attack.  Niouky played the ball across to Tierney, who chose to let it run on, only to have the ball cleared away.  Again it was Sinovic who collected the ball, and played a great ball over the top to Kheli Dube, who was ruled offside as he put the ball into the wrong side of the side netting.

The first half saw a number of free kick opportunities for the Revolution, but to no avail.  Perovic, whose only goal this season came off of a free kick against Colorado, could find neither the range nor a target to put the ball into the net.  However the Revs continued to apply pressure, and did well to create some opportunities.  Chris Tierney got his head  on to the end of a loose ball and flicked it on to Dube, who forced Cannon to palm the ball over the side.

The first yellow card of the match went to San Jose’s Ramiro Corrales in the 20th minute for pulling down Nyassi on the right flank.  Again Perovic delivered a good ball into the box but again was cleared away.  Just minutes later San Jose won a free kick as Phelan fouled Ryan Johnson on the right side.  Convey’s free kick was delivered well into the box but punched away by Burpo.

Niouky was fouled in the 25th minute about 10 yards outside the box giving another free kick to the Revs, but Perovic’s attempt was high over the crossbar. Minutes later Tierney picked up the ball from Nyassi’s cross but the shot is also well over the bar.  Shortly thereafter Perovic made a nice move to get free on the right but the cross went over the goal and out of bounds in the 30th minute.   Perovic again led the attack and ran the ball down in the corner ball,  dished it off to Nyassi, who slotted it into to Dube,  who in turn found Alston for the shot, but again Alston’s effort was way over the net.

San Jose saw some good possession in the 35th minute, with Chris Wondolowski in the corner.  He burned Revs’ defender Cory Gibbs and threaded a hard cross across the face of the goal, but the ball was cleared by Alston.   Boggs did well to collect it, but lost it to Gjertsen and in the effort to win it back inadvertently fouled him.  However, the ensuing free kick was cleared away.

As the first half was coming to a close, Joseph Niouky received a yellow card, his fourth in five games,  in the 39th minute for a foul on Andre Luiz.  However the Revs defense was able to clear the ball over the goal line, and then clear the following corner way up the field.

The Revs continued to dominate in the final minutes.  Perhaps the best attempt in the first half came from Sainey Nyassi who in the 43rd minute who forced Cannon to make an outstanding diving save to his right.  The half came to a close with yet another free kick for Perovic, but ended scoreless.

Although neither team made a halftime substitute, the second half saw a more even match as the Earthquakes began to assert themselves a bit more forward.  However it was the Revolution that would get the first good chance of the half, with a good shot by Kheli Dube in the 48th minute, that was again well saved by Joe Cannon.

The Revs continued to generate offense and played strong in the attacking third.  Seth Sinovic again did well to drive the ball forward and even managed to flick on a shot off of a corner that looked dangerously close to finding the back of the net in the 53rd minute.

The next real opportunity came for the Revs in the 61st minute.  Joseph Niouky found enough space in the midfield to get the shot off, and looked to have beaten the San Jose keeper.  The ball however found the post, ricocheted to the feet of Chris Tierney, whose second effort was easily collected by Cannon.

San Jose did well to beat the offside trap and almost capitalized, with Preston Burpo almost at the edge of his box.  Ryan Johnson did well to turn the ball in but could not get the shot past the outstretched arms of the Revs keeper.

In the 66th minute, Nyassi drew another foul as he had beaten Ramiro Corrales on the right hand side.  Again Perovic took the free kick and drove it strong into the box only to have it cleared away.

San Jose came back quick to counter in the 67th minute.  Ramiro Corrales received the ball from a throw in the Revs half of the field and looped a left-footed cross into the box that found Joey Gjertsen on the for post.  He bounced the ball to Ryan Johnson in front of the goal, who headed the ball on frame only to be denied by Preston Burpo.

Minutes later Burpo was tested again by San Jose, as Bobby Burling was one on one with the keeper.  Burpo made himself big in front of the ball and deflected Burling’s shot to the side.

The only substitutions for the revs came in the 70th minute when Dube came off for rookie goal scorer Zack Schilawski, and Zak Boggs came off for Khano Smith, but neither were able to generate any real scoring chances.  Although the Quakes continued to pressure, Wondolowski’s 78th minute shot over the bar was the last decent chance for either team.  The Revs’ last best chance came in the 82nd minute, where Seth Sinovic sent a searching ball into the box for the onrushing Schilawski.  However the ball was a little too high, and Schilawski was waved offside.

The Revs played well for the last 10 minutes and dominated the flow of play, but to no avail.  With minimum stoppage time awarded, the game ended as the game began: scoreless.  The Revolution however seemed to have found some stability in the midfield, which has been the root problem of the Revolution’s winless streak until recent weeks.

Preston Burpo was far and away the man of the match for the Revolution.  He made 6  saves on 13 shots for just the 12th shutout in his MLS career.

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Revs Quakes Preview

Posted on 15 May 2010 by Hank Alexandre

For this week’s match preview, Earthquakes correspondent Robert Jonas of Centerline Soccer and I collaborated to discuss the Revs, Quakes and the upcoming match.  You can read and hear Robert at his Blog on Centerline as well as a correspondent for “CSRN’s Around the League” weekly MLS roundup show.

Center Line Soccer: When last the Earthquakes and Revolution faced each other, the Quakes took advantage of the absence of Shalrie Joseph in the Revs midfield to dominate possession in a 2-0 victory. Since that game, the Revs have only collected 1 point from four games? Has the Revolution’s poor run of form been a direct result of losing Joseph, or have there been other issues that have contributed to the lack of positive results?

The Midnight Ride: I think the loss of Joseph is definitely a contributing factor, but so too has the loss of Steve Ralston and Jeff Larentowicz. Either of those two could have provided cover in the center of the pitch in Shalrie’s absence. Unfortunately for the Revs, neither is an option.

Injuries are definitely a problem for the Revolution. Twellman, Reis, and Joseph are all out indefinitely. Osei is out with a leg infection. Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes and Cory Gibbs have all seemed to pick up a knock and are sitting out the Open Cup match on Wednesday night. Videira is also out with an ankle injury. But there is a bigger problem that runs deeper than injuries, and gets into the building of the player roster.

When it comes to landing experienced players from outside the draft, it has been hit or miss. Look at some of the recent transactions made by Steve Nicol and the Revs’ front office. Edgaras Jankauskas has been a bust. Mauricio Castro has yet to see the field this season. Joseph Niouky has started almost every game but has looked dreadfully out of place. On the other hand Sainey Nyassi and Kenny Mansally were relatively unknown and have shown promise. Trading for Cory Gibbs and Preston Burpo was necessary and justifiable, but came at the high price of losing any hope of resigning Larentowicz. The jury is still out on Marko Perovic, who has shown promise but has not seen enough playing time for anyone to pass judgment.

What it comes down to is this: The Revs style has always been to dominate the run of play through maintaining a strong spine down the middle of the field. Nicol has done an admirable job rebuilding the back line, but has yet to be able to fill the holes left vacant by Larentowicz, Raslton, and now Joseph. Unless he can adapt to a new style of play, the Revs will continue to struggle as they just don’t have the necessary components anymore.

But looking at San Jose, to what do you attribute the current run of form? You’ve had some push over opponents (New England included) but did very well against NYRB. Is this Frank Yallop finally getting it right? Or is it the fact that you’ve finally been able to scoop up some talented players?

CLS: The Earthquakes are coming off two straight games at home as they make their way back east — two straight clean-sheets for Joe Cannon and the defense against opponents that came into Buck Shaw with good offensive pedigree. Ramiro Corrales and Jason Hernandez have anchored the back line all season, and have been getting solid contributions from Chris Leitch and Bobby Burling to round out the back four. The depth in the defensive core is no accident — General Manager John Doyle and Coach Frank Yallop believe strongly in being tough to break down in their half of the field, especially at home.

The current run of form is marred by the 3-2 loss at Chivas USA, but even in that match the Earthquakes looked strong. In fact, that game at the Home Depot Center was rated better by Yallop then the 1-0 win over Colorado a week later. The common factor throughout their surprisingly good start to the season has been the depth of the roster and the emergence of some new and familiar faces to playing levels many did not expect coming into 2010. Bobby Convey has been on a roll, and struck up a great partnership with Corrales on the left side. And we have fourth-stringer forward Chris Wondolowski tying a franchise record for goals in consecutive games at four. Even when the Quakes do have injuries — Burling for Ike Opara, Wondo for Arturo Alvarez, Leitch for Steve Beitashour — we have not seen a drop-off in play from this team.

The hard work of building a deep roster and collecting quality players from the MLS draft have resulted in a team ready to compete with the league’s best. So far the Quakes schedule has been lenient, but with every win the team confidence grows. And now, even away games are looked at as opportunities to earn points in the table. It will be a great measure of the current squad to see how they go on the road against the Revolution this Saturday and the Seattle Sounders FC next weekend.

Looking back to the first meeting of these clubs — a 2-0 victory for the Quakes at Buck Shaw Stadium — San Jose’s offense created the majority of scoring opportunities. While, we didn’t see the Revs score in that match, where is the offensive coming from so far this early in the season?

TMR: If you remember last season the Revs were without the scoring prowess of Taylor Twellman or Steve Ralston and managed to find help from Shalrie Joseph, Kheli Dube, and Jeff Larentowicz. Right now only one of those players is still actively playing for the Revs, and although Dube has not yet scored for the Revs this season, he has managed to register 4 assists.

The Revs have been shut out in 3 of their 5 league losses this season (interestingly against all west coast teams) and currently have a -4 goal differential. Most of their offense seems to have come from applying pressure against weak defensive teams (like Dallas and Toronto) and taking advantage of poor decisions by the opposing team. Only in two games this season have we seen players create their own space and score. The first was against DC where Kenny Mansally came on and scored twice in the final 10 minutes. The second was against Columbus where Zak Boggs also scored twice in a 10 minute span.

Zack Schilawski, who has four goals this season, has proven he can get on the end of some runs and find the back of the net. But the service into the box has been inconsistent at best – and until the Revs figure out a way to hold the ball in the midfield, they will continue to struggle in the final third.

I am not optimistic about Saturday’s outcome for the Revs, but think that if the Revs can put out the same 11 or close to it that played in Columbus last Saturday, they may have a shot at a draw.

CLS: It really looks to be a case of two teams moving in opposite directions right now, leading me to believe that the Earthquakes will at worst leave New England with a draw. However, San Jose has struggled mightily on the road since 2008, and is without a win on artificial turf since that time. A similar game presented itself in week #3, when the Quakes were coming off the win of the Revs at home before visiting Chivas USA in Carson. Chivas USA bounced back in that game to hand the Quakes a 3-2 defeat.

Still, with all the injuries and a congested schedule these past couple weeks, the Revolution look ripe for the taking. I’m on record as giving the Quakes a 2-0 victory this Saturday night, and I feel confident that the club can deliver.

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Revs stymied in San Jose

Posted on 19 April 2010 by Hank Alexandre

The New England Revolution suffered their second defeat of the season Saturday night as they lost to the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

The Revolution, who so expertly picked apart the defense of Toronto FC the week before, could not find enough width on the narrow San Jose pitch to repeat their previous performance.   San Jose on the other hand, who had shown some defensive lapses early in the season, played a very well organized game and was able to control large portions of the match.

Check the photo gallery from our San Jose photographer!

New acquisition Marko Perovic got the start for the Revolution after joining the team the previous week.  Perovic was put into an attacking midfielder position, lining up just behind rookie forward Zack Schilawski who got the start over 3rd year veteran Kheli Dube.

Noticeably absent from the Revs’ line-up was team captain Shalrie Joseph, who remained on the east coast to treat his re-aggravated hip flexor.  In his place, Pat Phelan, who started the first two games of the season with Joseph absent, partnered in the midfield with Joseph Niouky.  Chris Tierney made his fourth start for the team along with Sainey Nyassi, playing left and right wing respectively.

On the back line, the only change to the line up was Darrius Barnes, who got his first start of the season in place of Emmanuel Osei, who suffered a foot injury prior to the game.  Barnes partnered with Cory Gibbs, who wore the captain’s armband for the third time this season.  Kevin Allston and Seth Sinovic also got their fourth consecutive starts.

The Revolution defense, backed by keeper Preston Burpo, did well to stave off the San Jose attack in the opening minutes.  Burpo was twice called into action to deny midfielders Andre Luiz Moreira and Chris Wondolowski.  But, without Shalrie Joseph, the Revolution midfield struggled to connect with the forwards throughout the game.  Perovic did well to win the ball in the midfield several times but could not link up with his striking partner or the wings to create any real chances.  His best chance came in the 19th minute when he sent a blast across the face of the San Jose goal but just missed the far post.

The Revs, who have been a second half team for the firs three games of the season, again looked to be of better form after the break.  Perovic, who appears to have assumed the responsibility of taking the free kicks, nearly connected Darrius Barnes on a set piece, but the ball was cleared off the line.

San Jose then finally broke through with Ryan Johnson connecting with Wondolowski to slip Johnson’s cross past the Revs goalkeeper.  San Jose looked likely to score again with Johnson jostling with Barnes for the ball inside the box, but was denied by Barnes in the end.  However, The Revs would eventually concede to the strong play of San Jose thanks to the presence of rookie defender Ike Opara, who burned Barnes on a corner kick from Bobby Convey, and headed the ball home.

Steve Nicol tried to engineer an attack in the 68th minute by subbing off Sainey Nyassi, who had been struggling on the right wing, in favor of forward Kheli Dube, who is the only person on the Revoultion roster to have scored against San Jose in recent history.  In the 80th, Nicol pulled off defender Seth Sinovic in favor of forward/midfielder Zak boggs.  Sinovic, who had been one of the better players for the Revolution on the evening, had played every minute of every game for Nicol this season up til this point, and had shown his ability to get into the attack of the game, partnering well with Chris Tierney on the left hand side.

Finally, Nicol subbed off Schilawski in favor of Kenny Mansally, who had scored twice in his last appearance for the Revs coming off the bench late in the game vs DC United.  Mansally and Boggs almost combined to score in the final minutes but veteran San Jose keeper Joe Cannon was up to the task.

The Revs are now 0 for 2 in their west coast road trips this season, but look to capitalize on a three game home stand, starting this coming Saturday when the Colorado Rapids come to town.  The Revs then face FC Dallas on Saturday May 1st and Chivas USA the following Wednesday, May 5th.

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Shalrie Absent in San Jose

Posted on 15 April 2010 by Hank Alexandre

Shalrie Joseph of the New England Revolution did not travel with the team to San Jose for this Saturday’s match up vs. the San Jose Earthquakes.

Joseph, who played the full ninety minutes in the Revs’ home opener last Satuday, had missed the first two games of the season while suffering from a hip flexor (strained hip muscle).  It seems that playing in the 4-1 win over Toronto FC, he may have re-aggravated that injury.

Early last week, at the Revolution’s annual Media Day, Joseph had not participated in the full practice.  Instead, he spent the majority of the training session working out with Taylor Twellman, who himself is still recovering from a head and neck injury sustained nearly two years ago.  When asked how he was progressing, Joseph was cautious but positive. “It’s coming along slowly. I just have to be patient and make sure its right before pushing it hard.  I’m optimistic – it goes day by day, I’ll see how it feels.  We’re only two games into the season and we’re still .500, so there’s no reason for me to rush it when the team’s still doing good.”

However, Joseph’s return to the line up had an immediate impact to the team’s performance on Saturday night.   Listening to teammate Kheli Dube after the game, Joseph’s presence on the pitch was a real confidence boost. “You know, the difference that Shalrie brings to the team, it’s just unbelievable.  Having him there, giving us balls to the feet, he makes it easy for me and Zack [Schilawski] to have chances like that”.

Those chances all came in the second half.  Spurred on by Joseph, the Revolution tore apart the hapless Toronto defense.  Zack Schilawski led the scoring with the fastest hat trick in Revolution history in just his third professional game, but Joseph was the catalyst.

In Joseph’s absence, head coach will most likely turn to 3rd year defensive midfielder Pat Phelan.  Phelan, who started the first two games of the season with Shalrie unavailable, will be looking to prove his worth along side newcomer Joseph Niouky.  Phelan, who registered his first shot on goal of the season against DC United two weeks ago, will be looking to link up with the likes of Shilawski and Dube, who has scored twice in his career against San Jose, as well as wingers Sainey Nyassi and Chris Tierney.

Given the narrow pitch at Buck Shaw Stadium,  Phelan may get plenty of opportunities to get into the attack.  However, the Revolution will be limited in exploiting the flanks as they did against Toronto.  If the Revs can’t utilize their speed in the wings, Coach Nicol may turn to recent signing Marko Perovic, an attacking midfielder that can play on the left or behind the strikers.

San Jose will most likely be starting a line up similar to the one they played last week against Chicago.  Arturo Alvarez and Ryan Johnson will be playing up front with Joey Gjertsen and Bobby Convey on the wings.  Also available is Scott Sealy, who recently re-signed with San Jose after plying his trade in Israel.

Veteran goal keeper Joe Cannon will be leading the defensive effort from the back with Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, and Captain Ramiro Corrales.  But the most anticipated match up will be the one between former Wake Forest team mates Zack Schilawski and San Jose Rookie Defender Ike Opara.  Opara, who went 3rd in the 2010 MLS Super Draft, is a strong defender but also gets into the attack.  Opara netted the first goal of his career last Saturday when he scored the game winner, a well-struck header, against the Chicago Fire.

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Podcast: The Midnight Ride

Posted on 14 April 2010 by Hank Alexandre

Hank, Sean and Brian talk about the New England Revolution – the victory over TFC, Zack Schilawski, the Return of Shalrie, and all things Revs.  Plus we talk with San Jose Earthquakes writer/blogger Robert Jonas about the Revs game against the Quakes this weekend.

Click here to listen

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