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Revs thump RSL, 3-1

Posted on 24 August 2009 by mclaypool

Dube got his first career MLS hattrick

Real Salt Lake came into town for the beginning a set of three games in seven days. The New England Revolution returned home after a coast-to-coast flight from a late Seattle game this past Thursday. While both teams might have been caught up in the flurry of soccer coming at them, each knew it needs a strong finish in the last 10 games or so of the season to make it into the playoffs. For the Revs, too, the last meeting with RSL (an away game in April) ended in an embarrassing 6-0 loss. A complete turnaround at home had to be in the Revs plans. The weather was perfect for summer soccer – a warm, if muggy, breezeless evening with some suggested rain showers being on the very distant horizon.

Coming off the intense Seattle game, the Revs switched their midfield and forward lineups somewhat by having Videira, Castro and Thompson start:

Keeper: Matt Reis
Defenders: Emmanuel Osei, Darrius Barnes, Kevin Alston, Jay Heaps
Midfielders: Wells Thompson, Jeff Larentowicz, Shalrie Joseph, Mauricio Castro
Forwards: Kheli Dube, Michael Videira

The game started quickly, with the Revs putting pressure on early. Castro unleashed a powerful shot that was just saved, and minutes later, sent a precise, driven cross in off of a run down the left flank to the feet of Kheli Dube. Dube powered the shot past the RSL keeper for an early Revs lead. A miss-timed scramble by Reis almost allowed an RSL equalizer shortly after. But the Revs kept up the pressure when Videira made a good step inside his defender on a bouncing ball and unleashed a far post-shot that the RSL keeper could only deflect.

Dube collected the rebound, under pressure, and put it in the net for his second goal and a 2-0 lead. At that time, the crowd started chanting for “6 goals”, partly because of the goal rate (2 goals in 30 minutes) but mostly as some measure of payback for the 6-0 loss in April.

The second half saw RSL playing sharper soccer, forcing Reis to make several good saves to keep the visitors at zero. A well-placed, driven cross by Joseph led to the third, and best, goal by Dube, giving him his first career hat trick. Unfortunately, Reis could not record a shutout when a good RSL cross was headed down into the box dangerously and Barnes inadvertently deflected the ball into the net for an own goal.

Final score: New England Revolution 3, Real Salt Lake 1

Ratings for the Revolution players on a Scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), ranked from best to worst:

Kheli Dube: 9
First career hat-trick – well-deserved for being in the right position and finishing his opportunities. Won some headers in the air, too, and held the ball better.

Shalrie Joseph: 7
A bit less sharp than usual with one-time passes, but sent in a beautiful assist for the Revs third goal.

Kevin Alston: 7
Solid defense with speed forward increasingly becoming a weapon.

Darrius Barnes: 7
Good positioning and clearance in the back line. Own goal was largely bad luck.

Jeff Larentowicz: 7
Good defensive pressure, a few errant one-touch passes made him less effective on offense.

Matt Reis: 7
Redeemed himself after an early miscue with several excellent saves to keep RSL out of the game.

Emmanuel Osei: 7
Good positioning and read of the attack thwarted the RSL offense several times.

Michael Videira: 6
Provided a good target up top and strong play forward led to solid strike on goal and an assist.

Jay Heaps: 6
Secured the left flank for most of the night, but with few pushes forward.

Wells Thompson: 5
Good energy forward and back, but too many heavy touches with the ball.

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