Categorized | Match Reports

Revs, again, at a loss.

Posted on 06 May 2010 by Hank Alexandre

Without Shalrie Joseph in the line up for the fourth straight game, the New England Revolution have gone from a team full of youthful promise to a side that has much to learn.

On Wednesday night in the final game of a three game homestand, the Revs lost 0-4 to visitors Chivas USA.  Chivas found their stride early in the match as New England could not muster any sort of field possession.  While the Revs struggled, Chivas showed great composure on the ball and enjoyed plenty of room to navigate around the field at will.

In the past, New England’s strength has been in the midfield, with the likes of Shalrie Joseph, Steve Ralston, and Jeff Larentowicz dictating the run of play.  With two of those three playing elsewhere this season, and the third on an indefininite leave, the once strong spine of the Revolution has evaporated, allowing visiting teams to have free reign in the Revs defensive half.

Except for a few moments in the first half, Chivas had their way with the Revolution.  Those moments came from forward Zack Schilawski and attacking midfielder Marko Perovic.  In the 4th minute, Schilawski found himself with the ball in the center of the pitch and tried to catch Chivas keeper Zach Thornton off his line, but the ball sailed wide to the left.  Just minutes later, the Revolution tried to engineer a give and go, with Perovic winning the ball and feeding it to Schilawski, who fed it into space for winger Sainey Nyassi.  Nyassi however failed to see the play unfold and did not make the run onto the ball.

Perovic put in a workman like effort in the first 25 minutes of the game coming back to win the ball repeatedly, only to be smothered by the Chivas midfielders who, unlike the Revolution, were quick to double team and apply pressure.  Perovic tried twice to find his teammates in support with a desparate heel flick, but to no avail.

Chivas, once they found their space in the midfield, began to dominate the game.  At the 16th minute, Chivas forward Justin Braun nearly connected with a cross from Jesus Padilla, but his header missed wide to the left of the goal.  In the 20th minute Sacha Kljestan took a free kick that forced goal keeper Preston Burpo to make a palm save over the cross bar.

In the 26th minute, Chivas capitalized on their pressure tactics, and took advantage of Revs defender Kevin Alston, who slipped challenging Padilla for a loose ball in the box.  Padilla collected the ball and deftly avoided Burpo’s save attempt, and slid the ball into the back of the net to take a 0-1 lead.

In the 29th minute, after winning the ball from Chivas Midfielder Ben Zemanski, Perovic again was on the attack when Zemanski grabbed the Serbian’s shirt in full view of Referee Steven DePiero and Fourth Official Siliu Petrescu.  The foul was surely forthcoming but the referee allowed play to continue, as Perovic was still in control of the ball.  Perovic lashed out twice in frustration, and connected with the Chivas midfielder’s face, and was summarily ejected.  This was the third ejection in just two games suffered by the New England Revolution.

Down to 10 men, the Revolution were at a loss to stop the Chivas midfield from dominating the game.  In the 33rd minute Justin Braun powered past Revs midfielder Pat Phelan, literally turning him inside out and made the score 2-0, beating Preston Burpo on the near post.  Braun almost scored again in the 41st minute, but that time Burpo was up to the task.

After the halftime break the Revs went to a 3 man back line, subbing off Kevin Alston in favor of forward Edgaras Jankauskas, with the intention of winning the ball and maintaining some possession for the struggling Revolution.  The plan seemed to backfire however, as Chivas continued to find space and time to hold the ball in the midfield. Eventually,  Kljestan engineered a third goal by moving the ball across the face of the Revolution defense, where he found Padilla uncovered on the far left where Alston would have been.  Padilla expertly slid the ball past Burpo to make it 3-0.

The Revs first shot on goal finally came in the 64th minute.   Pat Phelan unleashed a rocket that would have found the back of the net for the midfielders first MLS goal, had it not been for the heads up play of the Chivas keeper Thornton.  Zack Schilawski also found himself with the ball at his feet in front of the goal in the 77th minute, but in this case referee  DePiero did not allow the advantage and awarded a free kick.

Schilawski was then subbed off for Kenny Mansally, who took the free kick.  The resulting scrum saw attempts from Khano Smith thwarted.

Preston Burpo, coming off of a career best, 10 save performance against FC Dallas, appeared to be less composed against his former club Chivas.  On numerous occasions Burpo would come far off his line to play the ball, only to be caught off guard and scurry back to the net.  On one such occurrence Burpo was clearly beat, and Braun nearly scored a second, but Cory Gibbs was able to get back and clear the ball off the line.  However, Chivas midfielder Blair Gavin sealed off Chivas’ complete victory in the 81st minute, beating the Revs’ defense and Preston Burpo from just outside the box.

The Revolution will need to put this game behind them and concentrate on solving their midfield crisis, as they travel to  Ohio this Saturday to face the Columbus Crew.  The Crew are second in the east having only played 4 games so far this season.  However, with the likes of Guillermo Barros Schelotto in the midfield and the  physical attacking play of Stephen Lenhart, the Revs will need to find some form of maintaining possession in the oppositions end of the field if they hope to salvage their dismal start to the season.

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