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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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REVOLUTION 1 – D.C. UNITED 0

Posted on 21 July 2011 by Matty Jollie

Revs Celebrate McCarthy Goal, First Road Win

Washington, DC – For the first time since May 14th, the New England Revolution (4-9-7, 19pts) came away with all three points, defeating D.C. United (5-6-8, 23pts) 1-0, sweeping the season series with their heated rivals from the Nation’s capital.  The  Revs’ first road victory vaulted New England out of the cellar in the Eastern Conference and into seventh place on 19 points, four points behind sixth-place Sporting Kansas City.

New England took the field with a slightly different look, most noticeably without midfielder Benny Feilhaber, who was serving his one game suspension for his red card against Philadelphia on Sunday.  Second-year striker Zack Schilawski and rookie Zak Boggs started up top with Rajko Lekic, finally abandoning the lone-striker role for the Danishman.  Rookie Stephen McCarthy started in central midfield for Feilhaber, and Chris Tierney slid to left back, covering the loss of Didier Domi.

It was D.C. United who took control early, and they almost secured an early goal in the third minute through Andy Najar, who found an open Dwayne DeRosario (recently acquired via trade from New York). The pass was just a little too far forward for the Canadian talisman, and the game’s first scoring chance bared no fruit.

United carried the run of play for much of the second half, and if not for the continuing spectacular play from veteran goalkeeper Matt Reis, the match could have gone much differently. Reis was on display in the 16th minute, stoning striker Charlie Davies, diving back across his body to save the cut-back near post effort and the clean sheet. It was Reis again a minute later, stopping the drive from DeRosario, denying the Canadian once more.

New England created it’s greatest opportunity to score in the first half in the 33rd minute when captain Shalrie Joseph nodded down a diagonal cross from Tierney at the top of the box to Zak Boggs, who waited for the ball to come down just long enough to fire a cracking volley right at United keeper Bill Hamid, who stopped Boggs’ attempt and parried it away.

Unquestionably the biggest turning point of the match occurred just before the stroke of halftime, when Pat Phelan was judged to have handled the ball in the box, awarding D.C. United with a penalty kick at the very end of the half. It was American international striker Charlie Davies to the spot for United, and after a few brief moments of gamesmanship from Matt Reis, Davies kicked a field goal over the cross bar, and the match went to the locker rooms still tied at 0-0.

The scoreline clearly had a positive effect on New England, as they came out of the locker room with a focused passion and effort, creating early chances and establishing an early tempo. The effort finally came through in the 64th minute when a Stephen McCarthy cross found the head of Zack Schilawski, who rose above the D.C. United defense but his uncontested headed ball soared over the cross bar.

The near-miss from New England seemingly inspired D.C United, as the next few minutes belonged to the hosts, culminating in a well-crafted attempt from Dwayne DeRosario in the 70th minute that keeper Matt Reis got a piece of, enough to direct the shot just wide and into the side netting.

It was New England who broke through for what was the match’s only goal in the 73rd minute, and to no Revolution supporter’s surprise, it was off of a set piece.  Chris Tierney stepped to the corner flag, delivered a perfectly weighted cross that found Stephen McCarthy, who towered over the defenders in the box, and buried the header into the back of the net.  It was the rookie’s second goal of the season, and New England had a much desired late lead on the road.

With just over a quarter of an hour remaining to preserve the lead, it was once again Matt Reis who came up in the biggest spots to protect the victory from New England.  Reis came up huge on several occasions in the final stanzas of the match, most noticeably the saves on DeRosario in the 82nd minute, and then a big stop with only a minute or so remaining in stoppage time on Joseph Ngwenya.  Matt Reis has always been the backbone of the New England team, especially the defense, but it needs to be said that this may in fact be his greatest season in a Revs uniform, despite the poor results from the team.

The final whistle blew in spite of D.C. United having earned a corner kick, and the New England Revolution earned their first road victory of the 2011 MLS Season.  New England will look to win back-to-back road games on Saturday night when they travel to the Rocky Mountain region to take on defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids.

 

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New England Revolution at D.C. United

July 20, 2011 – RFK Stadium (Washington, D.C.)

 

New England Revolution 1, D.C. United 0

 

Scoring Summary:

NE – Stephen McCarthy (Chris Tierney) 73

 

New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane (Darrius Barnes 22), Kevin Alston, Stephen McCarthy, Shalrie Joseph ©, Pat Phelan, Zack Schilawski (Kenny Mansally 68), Rajko Lekic, Zak Boggs (Sainey Nyassi 58)

Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Franco Coria, Ryan Guy, Diego Fagundez

STATS*: Shots: 9; Shots on Goal: 2; Saves: 6; Corner Kicks: 3; Offside: 1; Fouls Committed: 5

 

D.C. United: Bill Hamid, Daniel Woolard, Brandon McDonald, Ethan White, Perry Kitchen, Chris Pontius (Austin Da Luz 71), Clyde Simms (Joseph Ngwenya 79), Dwyane De Rosario, Andy Najar, Josh Wolff © (Fred 63), Charlie Davies

Substitutes Not Used: Steve Cronin, Kurt Morsink, Chris Korb, Stephen King

STATS*: Shots: 13; Shots on Goal: 6; Saves: 1; Corner Kicks: 8; Offside: 0; Fouls Committed: 6

 

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

 

Misconduct Summary:

NE – Kenny Mansally (caution) 77

 

Team Records:

New England Revolution – 4-9-7, 19 pts.

D.C. United – 5-6-8, 23 pts.

 

Referee: Michael Kennedy

Assistant Referees: Kermit Quisenberry, Bill Ditmar

Fourth Official: Carlos Rivero
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 91 degrees

Attendance:  15,597

 

NOTES

-The win put an end to the team’s nine-game winless streak, which had tied a club record with three other runs (1997, 1998, 2003)

-The win snapped the Revs’ 10-game road losing streak, which dates back to the final game of the 2010 season at New York … the Revs came into tonight’s game with a 0-6-3 record in 2011 on the road … the team is now 1-6-3 on the road this year

-With the win, the Revs improved to 23-25-8 all-time against D.C., including a 8-16-4 mark on the road

-The win also extended the Revs’ winning streak against United to five games, dating back to May 2009

-This is the third straight season in which the Revs won the season series against United, after going 1-0-1 against D.C. in 2009 and 2-0-0 in 2010

-Tonight’s game was the 56th league meeting between the two teams, and the 63rd overall meeting including MLS Cup Playoffs and U.S. Open Cup

-The Revs ran out a 4-3-3 lineup to start the game after putting out a 4-4-2 in their last game … the last time the team dispensed a 4-3-3 was May 7 against Colorado

-Shalrie Joseph and Ryan Cochrane returned to the lineup after sitting out Sunday’s game against Philadelphia while serving suspensions … Cochrane was serving a red-card suspension, while Joseph was serving a yellow-card accumulation suspension

-Zack Schilawski made his first start since April 30, 2011, a 3-0 loss at Chivas USA

-Diego Fagundez, who is the Revs’ first Home Grown player after signing last November, made his first-ever appearance on the 18-man squad in an MLS game … tonight’s game marked the first time he has dressed with the first team in a league match … he has previously made appearances in both of the Revs’ U.S. Open Cup Play-In matches, and six Reserve League games (one goal, four assists)

-Ryan Cochrane came off in the 22nd minute with a left foot injury … he entered the game listed as probable on the team’s Tuesday injury report with left foot pain

-Stephen McCarthy’s goal was his second of the season and the second of his career … it was his first goal since he struck for his first MLS goal on April 2 at Gillette Stadium

-Chris Tierney recorded his second assist of the season on McCarthy’s goal … Tierney’s assist is his first off a set piece in 2011 … Tierney’s assist was the ninth of his career

-Tonight marked the third time in the last four meetings against D.C. that Chris Tierney has recorded the game-winning against

-The Revs – and goalkeeper Matt Reis – recorded their fourth shutout of the season … it was the team’s first shutout since a 0-0 match on June 15 against Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium

-The shutout was Reis’ 63rd career shutout and his 54th with the Revolution … this was Reis’ fifth career shutout against United

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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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Revs Start SuperLiga Off On Right Foot

Posted on 15 July 2010 by Hank Alexandre

The New England Revolution kicked off their 2010 Superliga campaign with a somewhat sloppy win over Mexican side Pumas UNAM in front of a relatively small crowd at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday night.

A threatening weather forecast combined with a weeknight fixture may have kept some fans at home, but both sides were well represented and in good voice as the rain held off for what turned out to be a very scrappy contest.

Given the Revs’ tight schedule (4 games in 10 days), Steve Nicol altered his starting line up from the squad that defeated the LA Galaxy last Saturday night. Kenny Mansally got the start at left midfield, Kheli Dube started at forward along side Zack Schilawski, and Marko Perovic, who scored the game winner against LA last Saturday switched from his favored left side to the right side. Sainey Nyassi, who also scored for the Revs in his last outing, started on the bench.

The Revs were under pressure in the early minutes of the game, with Francisco Palencia pulling away from Revs defender Emmanuel Osei, but his low driven effort barely tested New England backup keeper Bobby Shuttlesworth, who got the start instead of veteran Matt Reis.

However Pumas continued to apply pressure in the midfield, forcing Revs midfielder Joseph Niouky to commit three fouls in the first 8 minutes. However Pumas struggled in the first half to complete their passes and maintain possession. New England however settled into a solid defensive shape and were able to diffuse the Pumas attack, while managing to keep a fair bit of possession.

Zack Schilawski opened the scoring with a brilliant touch in the 18th minute as the rookie found himself in the perfect position to bury Marko Perovic’s corner kick at the back post. Perovic’s corner kick in the 17th minute came up a bit short, but bounced favorably to Mansally who lined up a shot that was deflected off of a Pumas player, and Pumas keeper was unable to keep it in. Perovic, who specializes in delivering set pieces, sized up his second effort perfectly and delivered a bending cross right to the far post where Schikawski neatly finished.

At the start of the second half, Revs made one substitution bringing on Sainey Nyassi for Kenny Mansally, who had shown some nice touches but struggled to keep possession and also received a yellow card for a reckless challenge. Pumas also made a change bringing on Martin Bravo to replace Jehu Chiapas, seemingly in an attempt to bolster their attack.

The move seemed to pay off for Pumas, as they started their second half with renewed pressure in the Revolution’s half. In the 52nd minute, Pumas appeared to had equalized off of a brilliant header from Pumas’ Bravo, who had found space on the far post to nod home the cross, but the linesman waved the offside flag and the goal was disallowed.

Pumas remained on the attack with multiple chances, almost drawing level in the 71st minute with a header in the box from an unmarked Marco Palacios that missed over the bar.  Bravo, who had been finding plenty of space on the wing,  almost immediately followed up with his own low driven effort in the 73rd, but missed wide.  Finally, in the 89th minute, Israel Castro let a shot fly from well outside the box that froze Revs’ keeper Shuttleworth as well as the crowd, as the ball was deflected off of Shalrie Joseph, bounced off the cross bar straight down, and managed to stay out of the goal long enough for Shuttleworth to gobble it up.

The Revolution were on their back heels for most of the second half with few chances presenting themselves. Sainey Nyassi did well on a number of occasions to get wide on the right flank, but repeatedly could not connect with either the goal or his teammates. Perovic, Niouky, and also all registered shots to no avail.

With pressure mounting, Steve Nicol opted for a more defensive approach, and substituted Pat Phelan in for Joseph Niouky, whose continued reckless play earned him a yellow card. Nicol then substituted left sided defender Seth Sinovic on for Perovic, sliding Chris Tierney from left back into his more comfortable position on the left side of the midfield.

While Sinovic displayed the kind of form that has won him early praise as a standout rookie, Phelan struggled to find any rhythm in the midfield, and at one point elbowed his teammate Schilawski in the head while contesting a ball in the air. Schilawski was able to finish the match however, and despite the constant pressure from Pumas, the Revolution were able to preserve the win.

The Revs continue with SuperLiga 2010 when they travel to Chicago and take on their hated rivals the Chicago Fire this Saturday, July 17 at 7 p.m. ET.

SuperLiga is a tournament between four teams from the Mexican Primera league and four teams from MLS. The Revolution, who qualified for the tournament by virtue of finishing 7th in the league overall last season, are the only MLS side to have won the SuperLiga trophy, having defeated their MLS Cup nemesis, the Houston Dynamo, in a shootout victory in 2008. New England has appeared in every Superliga event since its inception except for the inaugural invitational tournament in 2007.

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The Corner Stoehr: Somerville Blues Cured?

Posted on 29 June 2010 by sstoehrst

Recently, Revolution COO Brian Bilello volunteered to stand before the firing squad and take questions from fans in New England.  Apparently the response was pretty good and Mr. Bilello took the time to answer several of the most popular and pressing questions on the Revs’ blog.  You can read all of his responses here.

Although he addressed public transportation, attendance, SuperLiga, new crest/rebranding, and media coverage, I want to give some attention to an issue he touched on that I’ve covered before: the Somerville soccer-specific stadium. After rehashing the typical party dogma about how the stadium remains a top priority for the Revs organization (funded by an ownership group whose sole goal in life right now is to recoup money they invested in Patriot Place), Mr. Bilello looked to be patronizing Revs fans yet again.

Then Brian starts to get specific. I have to say; I appreciate how he immediately addressed the Somerville location rather than hitting us with the typical “we’re examining all options” line:

With the decision regarding the MBTA’s Green Line maintenance facility in Somerville in place, we have re-launched the process of examining that area as a stadium site. We were in a holding pattern for a bit while the city and MBTA worked out the details of the facility. During the next few months our architects and engineers will be studying the area to determine if it is possible to build a soccer stadium on that site given the footprint of the maintenance facility and other existing structures.

Finally, a reason why we stopped talking to Somerville in the first place. It would seem that the MBTA rail yard was still a problem after all – and now that it’s been dealt with, the Revs can move in and start getting the concrete details sorted. But the fabulous Mr. Bilello was far from finished. He then hit us with this gem:

In the last few months, we have also begun studying three additional sites around Boston’s metro core. These sites may not have been available to us in the past, but have recently shown potential interest in having our stadium.

Immediately I began racking my brain for metro-area locations that might be available for development, and to be honest not a lot comes to mind.  Then again, my knowledge of the Boston area is really restricted to the city itself,  so I’ll trust better Beantown minds than mine to make the educated guesses.  But the idea that there are other locations courting the Revolution is very encouraging and says a lot about the grassroots support in the region.  Honestly, I will remain skeptical until I see some kind of concrete move or result, be that a formal proposal or a shovel breaking ground. Having said that, and despite my better judgment, Mr. Bilello’s revelations have stirred an excitement in me, an expectation that I might actually see a soccer-specific stadium in New England within the next decade.

For once, he’s done what a lot of us have been calling for: answered questions directly and with specific examples.  Also, almost as if to placate us into accepting that the Krafts care about the Revolution and are investing in them fully, Brian admitted that the organization had put “more than $1 million” into exploring new options for a soccer-specific stadium.  Well, Mr. Bilello, that’s certainly commitment.  Here’s to the next million going to a construction company instead.

Excited by Mr. Bilello’s responses, or taking it all with a grain of salt? And do YOU know where else they might be looking? Leave a comment!

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Revs look for a jump start with early start

Posted on 22 May 2010 by Hank Alexandre

Today the New England Revolution head to Toronto FC for their final meet-up against the northern side of the regular MLS season.   The game has been moved up to start at 1:00 ET so not to conflict with the UEFA Champions League Final starting at 2:30.  This early start just might be what the Revs are looking for to jump start their season.

The Revs are 2-5-2 coming into this match, with their last win coming against Toronto FC in the Revolution’s home opener way back in April.  Since then they have managed only two points in six league games, and have lost six out of eight in all competitions, including a 3-0 US Open Cup loss to New York Red Bull, and a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of super club and Portuguese league champions Benfica.  Toronto FC, on the other hand, having lost three out of four games to start the season, have gone 3 -1-1 since and have not lost at home all season.

The Revolution took advantage of some very shaky play on behalf of the Toronto FC defense and were able to capitalize on it twice.  Zack Schilawski scored three goals that night and nearly had a fourth, while Kheli Dube and Sainey Nyassi, who also scored for the Revs, provided plenty of service for the rookie.  Toronto has since turned things around and have had a +3 goal differential over their last 6 games.

The good news for the Revolution is that Toronto FC will be down some key players.  Dwayne DeRosario, TFC’s leading goal scorer (6), is traveling with the Canadian national team and will miss the match, as will Julian DeGuzman, who is out with an injury.

The Revs continue to be without the services of center backs Darrius Barnes and Emmanuel Osei, and will be forced to start midifelder Pat Phelan in the back line for the second time this season.  Phelan, who played center back at Wake Forest, played 90 minutes on the back line for the Revs in last week’s match against San Jose, which ended as a scoreless draw.

The Revs may finally have the services of Shalrie Joseph however,  whose leave of absence from the team appears to have been a 5 game suspension for violating the leagues Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health policy.  Joseph’s last game for the Revs was the first meeting against Toronto, in which he played a large part in the success.  Since then the Revs have struggled to find a winning formation in the midfield, although in recent weeks have stopped the bleeding by switching to a 5 man midfield.  This formation has had benefits in recent weeks, most notably in the game against Columbus, in which midfielder Zak Boggs saw his first start and netted two goals for the Revs.

If Joseph does play, he will likely come in off the bench as he has not played with the team in 6 weeks.  He would likely come in for Chris Tierney, but considering Tierney’s improved play in the center midfield over recent weeks, Joseph Niouky may be the player to come off.  If Coach Steve Nicol decides he needs to play two forwards, he could play Perovic or Tierney out on the left and move Boggs into a more forward role, or substitute Boggs for Dube.

Projected starting line-up for the Revs: Burpo, Sinovic, Gibbs, Phelan, Alston, Boggs, Tierney, Perovic, Niouky, Nyassi, Schilawski

Prediction: 2-0 Revolution.

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The Corner Stoehr: Thinking Ahead

Posted on 24 April 2010 by sstoehrst

Five Keys for Revolution’s Success This Season

Four matches in, and the New England Revolution are hanging at .500. Through two wins and two losses only one concrete conclusion can be drawn: the Revolution are a team struggling for consistency.

As if that’s anything new. Going in we all knew that this would be a year of transition, and a combination of aging stars, mediocre bit-players and unpolished rookies is always going to produce varying quality in the early going. That said, the first four matches have yielded enough insight to compile a list of the top five keys to success for the rest of this young season:

5.) Defend Against Set Pieces

New England’s opening day loss to the Galaxy came in a fairly even match, with chances squandered from both sides. In the end, LA was probably the better side, but it is galling to see that Edson Buddle was totally unmarked when he fired home his header in the sixth minute. Just minutes later Buddle nearly doubled the advantage from a corner but he failed to put the ball on frame when he was again left unmarked. While the Revolution have done a very good job of not conceding dangerous free kicks, every set piece seems to be a nail biter. The Revs defense looks confused and disorganized whenever their opponents have a dead ball situation, and that’s something that can very quickly come back to bite them. Set plays are a massive part of the game of soccer and it is imperative that New England sorts out the issues. If not, we’ll be staring at a long and frustrating season full of soft and cheap goals.

4.) Be The Winged Wonders

Stevie Nicol and several others pointed out that the key to New England’s rampant success against Toronto in round three was the wing play. So far this season wingers Chris Tierney and Sainey Nyassi have linked well with fullbacks Sinovic and Alston to produce a potent attacking force capable of whipping tantalizing crosses into the box. Much of that disappeared in San Jose. This wasn’t helped by the incredibly narrow pitch at Buck Shaw but the Revs looked uncharacteristically reluctant to take the ball to the byline and the corner flag, leaving lone striker Schilawski working awfully hard to create space for himself. Between the burgeoning partnership and crossing abilities of Tierney and Sinovic and the blistering pace of Nyassi and Alston, New England could have one of the most successful wide attacking lineups in the league and they will need to focus on spreading defenses if they want to score more goals this season.

3.) Get A Goalscorer

The Revolution have scored six goals in four matches, and have been shut out twice. Three goals have come from Zack Schilawski on a hat-trick, two from Kenny Mansally, and one gifted from Raivis Hš?anovi?s to Sainey Nyassi. If the Revs are going to improve from last season’s record low of 33 goals they need a talismanic double-digit goalscorer. So far, despite Schilawski’s hat-trick and Mansally’s spectacular solo effort against DC, I haven’t seen enough consistency to suggest any one forward is ready to break out this season. If the Revs can get ten or twelve goals out of Schilawski, Dube, or Mansally and rely on one of them to hit the back of the net with regularity and in clutch situations this season, they should be right in the mix come this Fall.

2.) Perovic Must Be The Answer

Before the season, many wondered who would replace the playmaking influence of Steve Ralston in the attacking third. It would appear that Steve Nicol and company believe Serbian midfielder Marko Perovic to be the solution, and early evidence indicates that his emergence could dictate the team’s fortunes. Perovic is obviously most comfortable roaming behind the strikers and playing that final ball and his left foot is deadly from dead ball situations, but against San Jose he seemed slightly out of sync with the rest of the squad. Marko needs to settle in fast and take the reins of the offense, allowing Shalrie to play deeper and dictate the pace of the game. Forcing Joseph to do too much could lead to another season of low output in the attacking third, and I’m not sure the Revolution could squeak into the playoffs like they did last year.

1.) Keep Shalrie Healthy

New England’s total dominance of Toronto in round three came about due to a combination of factors, but no one can deny the influence of Shalrie Joseph on the midfield. The Grenadian international provides the calming, possession-oriented influence in midfield that Niouky was reported to bring, and he has easily the most potent soccer brain in the squad. Without him, service both to the wings and to the frontmen has been erratic at best, and the Revs will have to ensure that he is healthy and 100% for as much of the season as possible if they are to have any shot at a playoff berth.

What areas do YOU think the Revs need to address? Leave comments below!

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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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