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Revolution 0 – Rapids 0

Posted on 08 May 2011 by Hank Alexandre

The New England Revolution held the MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids to a scoreless draw last night in Foxboro in a game that New England clearly dominated the run of play, but could not find the right scoring combination.

The result was a semi-positive one for the Revs, who were able to keep a clean sheet for just the first time this season. However, in a game that had very few clear cut scoring chances for either side, New England were left feeling they should have done better against a Colorado team that was clearly struggling to generate any momentum.

New England started 4-3-3 formation with Benny Feilhaber moving to an outside left wing position. Kenny Mansally got the start on the right flank, as Zak Boggs was a late scratch due to illness. Rajko Lekic was the lone striker up front, with Shalrie Joseph playing right behind him in an attacking midfielder role. Joseph was backed by rookie Stephen McCarthy and Revolution new signing Ousmane Dabo, who made his first league start for the team. Chris Tierney got the start at left back for the injured Didier Domi, and was joined by AJ Soares, Ryan Cochrane, and Kevin Alston. Goalkeeper Matt Reis also returned to the starting line up, having sat out the previous week against Chivas.

Colorado, having just played the previous Wednesday night in Houston, fielded a slightly different lineup. Usual starters Omar Cummings and Conor Casey were injured, so the Rapids went with Caleb Folan and Quincy Amerikwa up top. The midfield featured team captain Pablo Mastroeni and former Revs Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson, with defender Kosuke Kimura playing in the right midfield spot. The back line featured Drew Moor, Scott Pagluta, Tyrone Marshall, and Marvell Wynne, all who started for Colorado on Wednesday, with the exception of Wynne, who came on as a late substitution. Matt Pickens once again was between the posts for the visitors.

The game got off to a slow start with neither team gathering any momentum, until the 15th minute when Lekic was fouled by Colorado’s Wynne, setting up a free kick opportunity for Chris Tierney. Tierney’s ball had the right quality and pace, but was headed off the crossbar and out of play by Revs defender Ryan Cochrane. Tierney had another free kick opportunity just minutes later after Kenny Mansally was fouled by his former teammate Wells Thompson in the 18th. Tierney’s delivery this time was on frame, but punched away by Pickens. Tierney then picked up a yellow card when he fouled Marvell Wynne, preventing Marvell Wynne.

With a little more then 20 minutes left in the half, Colorado started to pressure more in the New England end of the pitch. Caleb Folan won a corner kick in the 27th minute, picking up a groin injury at the same time. After the corner was taken and headed over the bar by Tyrone Marshall, the Rapids subbed off Folan in favor of Harvard alum Andre Akpan, who had an immediate impact on the game. In the next 15 minutes, Akpan registered three shots, the first of which was a long range scorcher in the 3nd that forced the only save of the night from Matt Reis, who had to dive to his right to parry the ball away. Minutes later in the 38th Akpan was able to collect a loose ball just outside the box and dribble around Kevin Alston to get off his shot, which went across the face of the goal and out for a goal kick.

In the 40th minute, Mansally and Thompson would contest for the same ball again, with Mansally picking up the foul on this occassion just outside the Revs 18 yard box. Jeff Larentowicz lined up a free kick but drove it right into the wall. Akpan would get one more chance just before halftime, but he could not find the frame, and both teams went to the locker room scoreless.

The second half started with only one substitution from New England, as Sainey Nyassi came into the game replacing Stephen McCarthy. This pushed Kenny Mansally to his preferred left side and shifted Benny Feilhaber to a more central position.

The change appeared to have a positive impact as the Revolution proceeded to boss the midfield for the next 30 minutes. In the 54th minute Nyassi did well to navigate through the middle of the field and take a shot with his left foot through the left channel, but his effort sailed way over the cross bar and into the stands. Minutes later Nyassi and Lekic linked up to win the Revs a corner, which Shalrie Joseph managed to win with his head at the far post, only to be denied by Pickens.

Nyassi again was involved in the Revs next attack, as he was quick to pressure Thompson in the corner and forced a turnover. Benny Feilhaber won the ball and tried to slot a pass across the face of the goal, but could not get past Pickens, who was well positioned. Feilhaber and Nyassi would have another opportunity in the 74th minute, when Nyassi was able to find Feilhaber in front of the net, but Benny’s one-timer deflected off the cross bar.

Colorado subbed off Wells Thompson for Jamie Smith in the 73, and the Revs subbed off Dabo in the 74th for Darrius Barnes, moving Chris Tierney to the midfield. The move did not produce the offense the Revolution needed however, as the last shot attempted by the Revolution was in the 81st minute by Mansally. Colorado’s substitution had better results. Smith had two chances with a shot in the 84th minute going wide left, and another shot in the 89th sailing high. Despite 5 minutes of extra time, neither team could get the lead, although Sainey Nyassi nearly broke through two minutes into stoppage time. Nyassi on a breakaway found some space on the flank, and had Lekic in a scoring position in front of the goal, but he could not connect with the Danish forward (who may have been offside) as the ball was deflected out for a corner by Tyrone Marshall.

After the game, Head Coach Steve Nicol had mixed emotions. “We didn’t create enough with the bit of ball we had in their final third”, said Nicol. “That’s disappointing. We have to do better. We’re not going to win games unless we do better with the ball in the final third. ..The positive is we didn’t lose a goal.”

Revs captain Shalrie Joseph also saw some positives in the performance, but is still waiting for his offense to kick in. “It’s been years since we had a good forward since Taylor retired and had that concussion. We need a goal scorer.” Joseph said “Rajko is still learning a little bit – learning how to play with each other. Not just him but all of us in general … it’s all about finishing our chances. Possession-wise we looked good tonight. We’re moving the ball. There’s stuff we still need to work on and try to improve on but it’s looking positive and we can take a lot from tonight.”

The Revs will look to get on the scoreboard next Saturday when they host the expansion team Vancouver Whitecaps. The Revs last faced the Whitecaps just over a month ago when they traveled to Vancouver and managed a 1-1 result.

New England Revolution 0, Colorado Rapids 0

Scoring Summary:

None

New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane, Kevin Alston, Stephen McCarthy (Sainey Nyassi 46), Shalrie Joseph ©, Ousmane Dabo (Darrius Barnes 74), Benny Feilhaber, Rajko Lekic, Kenny Mansally

Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Franco Coria, Kheli Dube, Zack Schilawski

STATS*: Shots: 7; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 1; Corner Kicks: 3; Offside: 5; Fouls Committed: 12

Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Scott Palguta, Kosuke Kimura, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson (Jamie Smith 73), Caleb Folan (Andre Akpan 30), Quincy Amarikwa (Ross LaBauex 85)

Substitutes Not Used: Stewart Ceus, Danny Earls, Joseph Nane, Anthony Wallace

STATS*: Shots: 9; Shots on Goal: 1; Saves: 3; Corner Kicks: 6; Offside: 1; Fouls Committed: 15

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

Misconduct Summary:

NE – Chris Tierney (caution) 19

COL – Scott Palguta (caution) 62

COL – Jeff Larentowicz (caution) 80

Referee: David Gantar

Assistant Referees: Darren Clark, Brian Poechel

Fourth Official: Tyler Ploeger
Weather: Cloudy and 55 degrees

Attendance: 11,755

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