Categorized | Match Reports

Revs battle Bulls to 1-1 draw

Posted on 29 March 2009 by mclaypool

Mansally and the Revs danced off with the tying goal

The New England Revolution and the New York Red Bulls squared off in another battle in the North East. American Soccer News had a poll on what was the biggest rivalry in the MLS. While New York vs. New England got surprisingly few votes, many die hard Revs and Bulls fans would put this pairing near the top. Both teams have very vocal supporters that make themselves heard despite playing in cavernous, (American) football stadiums (Gillette for NE and Giants for NY). In addition, the geographic proximity of the two teams entice the core supporters to make the 4-hour road trip to root for their team even for away games.

Saturday’s game was the home debut for the Red Bulls where they were hoping to shake off their opening day 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Sounders with a victory against their rivals. The Revs had a much more pleasant start to the season, at least points-wise, with a 1-0 away victory against the San Jose Earthquakes. Still, the Revs had not lost to the Red Bulls since 2005 (a record of 6-0-4 in the last 10 games), and certainly didn’t want to hand 3 points to their foes.

Both the Red Bulls and the Revs were missing key starters, with the Revs already looking to their bench due to injuries (Matt Reis, Taylor Twellman and Steve Ralston, most notably, but also Chris Albright, Gabriel Badilla and Mauricio Castro). The Red Bulls had three players called away for international play (Jorge Rojas, Carlos Johnson and Andrew Boyens) to support the World Cup qualifying matches taking place around the world.

The Revs starters were the same as for the opening game versus the Quakes, with the exception of Knighton for Reis:

Keeper: Brad Kighton
Defenders: Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Jay Heaps, Chris Tierney
Midfielders: Shalrie Joseph, Jeff Larentowicz, Sainey Nyassi, Wells Thompson
Forwards: Kenny Mansally, Kheli Dube

The game was a battle from both teams, with hard tackles, quick counter attacks, scoring opportunities (and missed opportunities) by both teams. And some sloppy play, exacerbated by a fast turf field, watered before the game, and players on both sides that are still trying to find their rhythm and chemistry with each other.

The first half showed a slight advantage to the Revs, but the lone score game after a build-up by the Red Bulls saw Khano Smith (a Revs starter last year) have his cross deflected into the net by Jay Heaps for an own goal. Despite being down by goal, the second half showed a slight advantage to the Red Bulls, with New England on the defensive for most of the half. However, in the 90th minute a brilliant flick by Shalrie Joseph sprung Kenny Mansally forward to a running header past the Red Bulls keeper.

GAME OVER: REVS 1, RED BULLS 1

Given the lateness of the goal, the Red Bulls must feel like they handed the point to the Revs, while the Revs must feel pleased to have wrested a point out of the game given that defeat looked eminent as
the game drew to a close. Still, overall, a 1-1 scoreline seemed fitting given the relatively equal battle on both sides.

Player Ratings, New England Revolution (1 lowest, 10
highest), ranked from best to worst:

Kevin Alston: 8.5
Another outstanding performance by the rookie. Alston has now gone up against Huckerby (Quakes) and Pablo Angel (Bulls), arguably two of the best attacking players in the MLS, and contained them well. Alston also roamed forward with overlapping runs and even had a hard fought scrum in the Red Bull’s box that nearly resulted in shot.

Shalrie Joseph: 8.5
Another commanding performance in the midfield. Held the ball well, went forward to attack (even if it did not produce any chances himself), and had the final, decisive assist for Mansally.

Brad Knighton: 7.5
A strong game marred only by the own goal. Knighton had 3 saves and commanded his box well.

Jay Heaps: 7
A solid performance, settling into his role as central defense (rather than defensive wing of the past few years). Made key defensive saves when needed.

Kheli Dube: 7
A better performance as forward than last week, even though he did not score.

Jeff Larentowicz: 7
A good defensive midfield performance.

Wells Thompson: 7
Determined runs forward and back. Good crosses.

Amaechi Igwe: 6.5
Showed enough speed and tenacity to cover the Red Bulls forwards. Only played for the second half when he came in for Nyassi.

Darrius Barnes: 6
A quiet night (which can be a good thing for a defender). Held his line well.

Sainey Nyassi: 6
Only played for the first half and didn’t make an overall mark on the game. Pushed forward on offense well and came back for defense.

Kenny Mansally: 6
A fairly mediocre showing, not making enough of the chances given nor holding the ball well enough up front. However, did make the most of a last-minute opportunity with a goal.

Chris Tierney: 5.5
Was at a clear disadvantage speed-wise against the Red Bull forwards when on defense. Was more effective when moved up to mid-field at half-time. Free kicks lacked sting and placement.

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