Colorado Spoils Revs’ Return Home

Posted on 24 April 2010 by Hank Alexandre

It was a battle against old teammates tonight for both sides as the New England Revolution faced off against the Colorado Rapids.

Former Revs-now-Rapids Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson started against their former team in the two clubs first match up of the season.  Preston Burpo and Cory Gibbs, acquired by the Revs in the trade that sent Thompson and Larentowicz to Colorado, made their fourth consecutive starts for the Revs.

Captain Joseph is sorely missed by the Revs ©ASN

The Revs, without the services of their captain Shalrie Joseph once again, looked to assert themselves in the center of the field with Pat Phelan partnering up with Joseph Niouky.  However, Colorado quickly put their stamp on the game and took control early.

After some back and forth play in the opening minutes,  the Revolution looked likely to be the first to find the back of the net with.  Phelan played the ball out to the left side to a wide open Seth Sinovic, who sent a perfect cross into the Colorado box for Kheli Dube.  Dube’s first touch sent the ball skyward however, and it was easily collected by Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens.

Colorado was quick to counter however with some quick distribution from Pickens, and Rapids midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy capitalized with his first goal of the season.  Finding plenty of room in the midfield, Ballouchy ran past Pat Phelan and unleashed a strike that swerved to the right of Preston Burpo. “I was trying to peek left,” said Burpo. “As soon as he hit it, the ball was swerving to my right, and I was way off of it.”

But the Revolution soon equalized. Sainey Nyassi was brought down outside the box and referee Jair Maruffo awared the free kick.  Marko Perovic who started at left midfield for Chris Tierney tonight took the kick and curled a beautiful,    well-struck ball into the back of the net in the 18th Minute.

Colorado had the majority of the chances in the first half, and nearly scored on multiple occassions.  After Jeff Larentowicz failed to capitalize on a free kick, Ballouchy found himself again with the ball.  With his back to goal, Ballouchy turned a bicycle kick over the Revs’ defense but found woodwork.  The ball fell to the feet of Conor Casey, who struck but was blocked by Burpo.  Casey tried to capitalize on the rebound but the ball was cleared away.

The first half ended with both sides at one, with the Revolution finding some success moving the ball down the flanks, but unable to connect in front of the goal.

The second half, the Revs again came out strong, and looked to gain the advantage.  The Revs stepped up their play and did well to win the ball in the midfield, thanks to stronger play from Joseph Niouky and Pat Phelan.  Phelan nearly found net with a blistering strike on goal, but Pickens was well positioned to make the save.

In an attempt to shake up the defense, Steve Nicol shuffled the lineup by taking off rookie Zack Schilawski in the 62nd minute in favor of Edgaras Jankauskas, who made his first appearance of the season.  In the 70th minute, Khano Smith came on for Kheli Dube, sliding Marko Perovic more to the middle of the field.

The Revs started to press more, with both Phelan and Niouky getting into the attack.  However, it was Colorado that would finally win the upper hand.  Wells Thompson did well down the left side to win the ball and find Conor Casey in front of the net.  He held the ball up long enough to find Pablo Mastroeni, who struck the ball perfectly past the Revs defense and into the back of the net.

In an attempt to salvage a draw, Steve Nicol subbed off defender Seth Sinovic in favor of forward Kenny Mansally, and switched to a 3-5-2 formation.  The Revs, however, despite their efforts, failed to find any kind of chemistry and left the field on the wrong end of the score sheet.

The Revs have two more games at home before they head out on the road.  They host FC Dallas next Saturday, and Chivas USA just 4 days later on the following Wednesday.  Steve Nicol will most definitely be looking forward to the return of Shalrie Joseph to the lineup, and pressuring his side to bring home maximum points over the next 10 days before they head to Columbus on May 8th.

Match Facts

Scoring Summary:
COL — Mehdi Ballouchy 1 (unassisted) 14’
NE — Marko Perovic 1 (unassisted) 18’
COL — Pablo Mastroeni 1 (Conor Casey 1) 73’

Misconduct Summary:
NE — Pat Phelan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 48’
COL — Pablo Mastroeni (caution; Reckless Foul) 66’
COL — Conor Casey (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 90’

Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee’s Assistants: Thomas Supple; Brian Poeschel
4th Official: David Gantar
Attendance: 8,142

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