Tag Archive | "Phelan"

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Posted on 19 June 2011 by Matty Jollie

In another wildly entertaining affair, the New England Revolution (3-7-6, 15pts) drew 1-1 with Eastern Conference rival Chicago Fire (2-4-9, 15pts), through an early second half goal from striker Rajko Lekic.  The draw gave New England 2 points from their brief two game homestand, keeping them tied with Chicago for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

New England had only two changes to the starting lineup that faced Toronto on Wednesday night, as Franco Coria slipped in at center-back for Ryan Cochrane, and Revs’ veteran Sainey Nyassi took over at right midfield for the injured Zak Boggs, who sustained a right MCL strain in the match against Toronto.

The match kicked off under clear skies and in front of a spirited crowd of over 14,000, and almost right from the beginning this contest was spirited, wide open, and easy to watch. Both sides created early chances, with the first true chance falling to Sainey Nyassi in the 10th minute, when Pat Phelan’s long ball found him in space down the right side (a sight that was seen plenty of times on the night), giving Nyassi the chance to fire on net, but his low-driven effort was smothered by Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson at the near post.

After a few more jabs and counters, it was the Fire’s turn to ask questions of the Revolution goal, when striker Christian Nazarit had only the post better him in the 16th minute. Nazarit found the smallest pocket of space in the Revolution box, out-foxed Franco Coria, and fired a toe-poke effort that beat keeper Matt Reis, but shot off the crossbar and out for a goal kick, keeping the match level.

The next fifteen minutes were owned by New England, who saw chances from Rajko Lekic, Sainey Nyassi and Pat Phelan all denied, and the constant pressure on the Chicago Fire goal continued in the 28th minute when Darrius Barnes found Kevin Alston again through a long ball down the right flank, who then carved into the box and found Lekic, whose left-footed volley was well struck but also well saved by Johnson.

Chicago turned the match on its head in the 31st minute when they finally managed to beat Matt Reis and take the lead through Dominic Oduro.  The goal was completely against the run of play, and came off of a well-executed counter-attack after a Revs’ set piece.  After clearing the Revs’ set piece effort, Patrick Nyarko tore through the midfield and found Oduro, whose speed was enough to get him past Darrius Barnes and into enough open space to calmly slot home the opening goal. Oduro gave all the credit to his teammate, saying “I think it was a breakaway from Patrick’s (Nyarko) end. Again, we’ve been working on this transition. He saw me make a run, through ball, took the guy on the run, I saw an opening and I just put the ball right there.”

New England regained their composure after giving up the opener, and almost found the equalizer in the 39th minute, when again it was Nyassi finding space down the same right flank, cutting in and firing a well weighted cross that found the head of Kenny Mansally, but the Gambian’s headed effort from less than a few yards out was too tall and sailed over the crossbar.

The match headed to the halftime locker room with Chicago still leading 1-0, but it was New England with all of the momentum as they continued to pressure and create chances up until match referee Silviu Petrescu blew the whistle for halftime.

The second half began with no changes for either side, and again it was New England on the front foot, going forward aggressively and giving themselves multiple opportunities to equalize, and almost immediately after the second half restart, the hard work finally paid off.

New England earned a free kick in a dangerous area in the 48th minute, and after the original effort from Pat Phelan was blocked, the ball squibbed through to Rajko Lekic, who was able to beat a belated offside trap from the Fire back line, and the Revolution striker ever-so-smoothly finished past a diving Sean Johnson, and the match was once again level.

It was Lekic’ first goal since April 23rd against Sporting Kansas City, and the Danish league star was more than pleased to finally get back on the scoresheet.  It was a bit of a disjointed sequence of play, as Lekic alluded to, “I saw that Pat (Phelan) was going to shoot. I was thinking if he missed the ball, I was all alone and I can get the ball in a free position and then make the goal hopefully. And that happened. So I made the goal like that.”

The tying goal from New England ignited the style of the match, and it was the Revs taking the initiative several times down the same right flank through Nyassi, who had chances denied in the 54th and 60th minute. As the match wore on, it continued to feel like there was one goal left out there, and it almost came in the 69th minute in a strange sequence of play.

New England broke through the Fire midfield and the ball came to Lekic, who managed to find space at the top of the box but was taken down by Gonzalo Segares.  Shalrie Joseph then immediately took the free kick on a quick restart, and found Kenny Mansally inside the box, who blasted over the Fire goal and into the crowd.  Head Coach Steve Nicol didn’t seem surprised by the quick restart from Joseph in such a dangerous area, “I have no problem with (Shalrie Joseph’s quick restart) whatsoever. It’s a great ball, he’s put Kenny (Mansally) clean through with a goalkeeper to beat. I mean, what more do you want?”

Both sides made their substitutions in the latter stages of the second half, and a switch made by New England in the 72nd minute stood out almost immediately, when Ryan Guy, recently signed from Ireland and making his MLS debut, made a huge headed clearance off the goal line, denying Chicago the go ahead goal. Steve Nicol commented  on the new arrival’s debut, “I think (Ryan Guy) did great when he came in. That sticks out. He was alert on the goal line – that’s why he’s there, but you still have to make the header (save), which was obviously great. And he looked dangerous and decent on the ball going forward.”

As the match wound down it was evident that New England were on their last legs (the Revs were coming off only 3 days rest after their draw with Toronto FC on Wednesday night) and Chicago began taking advantage, but Matt Reis was equal to the task on several occasions.  Steve Nicol inserted Zack Schilawski into the match in the 81st minute for Kenny Mansally, trying to inject some life into the attack and take some pressure off of the tired legs at the back.

Man of the Match, Matt Reis, saved the point for New England in the 88th minute, when he denied second half substitute Gabriel Ferrari’s rocketed shot, making a huge diving save to his left and parrying the ball away, keeping the match level.

The final whistle blew after five minutes of stoppage time, although not long before Rajko Lekic nearly won it at the end, when the striker found the smallest amount of space at the left side of he box, jostled himself free and played the ball up to his left foot and volleyed hard to the far post beating the Fire keeper but sailing just wide.

Although the draw was certainly not the result New England was hoping for, Revolution defender A.J. Soares was pleased with the effort from his teammates, “we worked hard, we created chances, and when you play like that, you’re going to win a lot of games.” It was clear from the start the effort was there from Steve Nicol’s men, who was pleased with the effort and stated it was just the little things that weren’t falling their way, saying “(We’re missing) a wee bit of something – a wee bit of composure, a wee bit of quality. We’re not kicking the backside off it, but there’s a fine line between picking up maximum points and not.”

After this brief two game homestand New England now heads off on the road to face both an imposing foe and a great atmosphere when they take on the Seattle Sounders next Sunday afternoon at Qwest Field, kickoff is set for 4 p.m. EST.




New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire

June 18, 2011 – Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)


New England Revolution 1, Chicago Fire 1


Scoring Summary:

CHI – Dominic Oduro (Patrick Nyarko) 32

NE – Rajko Lekic (Pat Phelan) 48


New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Darrius Barnes, A.J. Soares, Franco Coria, Kevin Alston, Chris Tierney (Ryan Guy 71), Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph ©, Sainey Nyassi, Kenny Mansally (Zack Schilawski 81), Rajko Lekic


Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Otto Loewy, Andrew Sousa, Stephen McCarthy, Ryan Kinne


STATS*: Shots: 19; Shots on Goal: 8; Saves: 5; Corner Kicks: 8; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 12


Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson, Gonzalo Segares, Cory Gibbs, Yamith Cuesta, Jalil Anibaba, Patrick Nyarko, Logan Pause ©, Baggio Husidic (Daniel Paladini 74), Dominic Oduro, Cristian Nazarit, Diego Chaves (Orr Barouch 63)


Substitutes Not Used: Jon Conway, Corben Bone, Dasan Robinson, Bratislav Ristic, Gabriel Ferrari


STATS*: Shots: 13; Shots on Goal: 7; Saves: 6; Corner Kicks: 9; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 16


* Note that all statistics are unofficial


Misconduct Summary:

CHI – Cristian Nazarit (caution) 59

CHI – Gonzalo Segares (caution) 66

CHI – Dominic Oduro (caution) 77

NE – Shalrie Joseph (caution) 78

CHI – Daniel Paladini (caution) 90



Referee: Silviu Petrescu

Assistant Referees: Daniel Belleau, Eric Proctor

Fourth Official: Drew Fischer
Weather: Partly cloudy, 78 degrees

Attendance: 14,246



New England: 3-7-6, 15 pts.

Chicago: 2-4-9, 15 pts.




With the draw, the Revs moved to a 13-17-9 overall record against the Chicago Fire

The Revs remain winless against the Fire in regular-season matches in their last nine meetings, with New England’s last in-season win coming May 6, 2007 at Gillette Stadium (3-1)

The teams will close out their two-game season series on Sunday, Sept. 25, at Toyota Park

The draw extended the Revs’ unbeaten streak to two games, marking the team’s first consecutive results since a scoreless draw on Saturday, May 7, followed by a win on Saturday, May 14

The Revs’ 11 first-half shots were more than or equal to the team’s full-game totals in 13 of the previous 15 matches entering this game

Tonight marked Matt Reis’ 200th start as a member of the Revolution … Reis ranks third in games started, behind only Jay Heaps (238) and Shalrie Joseph (221 and counting)

Ryan Guy made his first appearance for the Revolution tonight, entering the game as a substitute in the 71st minute

Rajko Lekic scored his second goal of the season in the 48th minute … his first came on April 23 in the Revs’ 3-2 win against Sporting Kansas City … Lekic is now the second player – along with Shalrie Joseph – to have scored multiple goals during the 2011 season

Pat Phelan earned his second assist of the season on Lekic’s goal, a career high for the fourth-year pro

Both Ryan Cochrane and Zak Boggs missed tonight’s game because of injury, Cochrane with a left hamstring strain and Boggs with a right MCL sprain



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New York Red Bulls 2 – Revolution 1

Posted on 12 June 2011 by Matty Jollie

A spirited New England Revolution side fell short on Friday night in New Jersey, dropping their fifth straight match, to the New York Red Bulls 2-1. The win snapped New York’s six game winless skid, and also vaulted them to the top of the Eastern Conference. Although the result was once again not what Revolution head coach Steve Nicol was looking for, on this night there were several positives to take away from the match.

Nicol named a mostly unchanged side from the lineup he sent out in the previous match, with Didier Domi and Ousmane Dabo making consecutive appearances, but the Revolution boss did bring Pat Phelan into the fold in the midfield to partner with Dabo and captain Shalrie Joseph.  Still without the services of Benny Feilhaber who continues to battle through injury, New England was looking for more possession through the midfield, and with the defensive minded Phelan and Dabo in the center of the park, the Revs showed lapses of good control of the ball.

New York is by far the club hurt most by Gold Cup call ups, losing five key players for the tournament (Juan Aguedelo, Rafa Marquez, Dane Richards, Dwayne De Rosario, and Tim Ream) and the lineup sent out by the home side certainly reflected the absences.  Talisman Thierry Henry captained the side, and New York also counted on Joel Lindpere, but outside of this duo, it was a side full of uncertainty yet given the circumstances on this night, head coach Hans Backe had plenty to be happy with.

The two sides spent most of the early stages of the match feeling each other out through the midfield, and outside of a first minute Luke Rodgers effort from close range and yet another dangerous opportunity again in the seventh, the first fifteen minutes were not much more than a sparring session.

New England finally found their first chance in the 17th minute, when Chris Tierney found space from his left midfield spot and played a delicately crafted ball to a waiting Pat Phelan who had found space at the back post, however his off-balance effort was pushed wide and the match continued scoreless.

The big breakthrough came for New England in the 34th minute, when striker Rajko Lekic was pulled down in the box by New York defender Stephen Keel, and awarded a penalty. Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph stepped to the spot to take the kick and uncharacteristically could not convert, as goalkeeper Greg Sutton dove to his left to make a fine save to keep the clean sheet in tact.

This missed chance loomed large almost four minutes later, when Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry tore through the right side of the Revs’ defense, found space in the box and fired a low, hard cross across the face of goal that unfortunately for New England found the feet of defender Ryan Cochrane, whose resulting own goal gave New York the lead heading into half time.

New York doubled their advantage almost immediately after half time, as once again it was Henry who found space through a clever ball from Keel, and after Henry cut back in the box to spring loose from Cochrane, he slotted the ball past Revolution ‘keeper Matt Reis, and just five minutes after half time the Red Bulls were up 2-0.

The second goal almost seemed to ignite the Revolution side, as they responded three minutes later when rookie Zak Boggs scored the third goal of his career.  Chris Tierney once again won the ball on the left flank and carved out enough space to play a well-weighted cross to the back post that Boggs was able to corral and control before firing past the goalkeeper to cut the deficit in half.

Substitutions played a major role for New England in the dying embers of the game, as late entrants Kenny Mansally and Stephen McCarthy both had chances to to tie the match, Mansally seeing his effort in the 72nd minute slide just wide of the net, and McCarthy with a volley off of a corner that also went wide.

New York responded quickly, as they twice saw efforts from Mehdi Ballouchy, the first being saved quite well by Matt Reis, and the second being fired just wide of the net, which kept the match at 2-1, and kept the Revolution well within reach.

New England seemingly tied the score late in the final act, when an 87th minute cross from yet another substitute, Sainey Nyassi, found Lekic at the back post, who buried the header into the back of the net, yet the hopes of the traveling supporters were dashed when the linesman’s flag raised to indicate offsides, erasing the goal, and effectively ended the Revs’ bid to pull away with a point.

As New England looks to end their skid, this upcoming week will certainly afford them two good opportunities to do so, as they return home to Foxboro for two fixtures: a Wednesday night affair with struggling Toronto FC, followed by a weekend tilt with rival Chicago Fire who have also found the first half of the 2011 MLS season challenging.

New York has a much more daunting task forthcoming, as they make the trek across the country to Portland, to try to steal a result from the Timbers in front of the incredibly intimidating Timbers Army at a rocking JELD-WEN Field.



New England Revolution at New York Red Bulls

June 10, 2011 – Red Bull Arena (Harrison, N.J.)

New York Red Bulls 2, New England Revolution 1

Scoring Summary:

NYRB – Own goal (Ryan Cochrane) 37

NYRB – Thierry Henry (Stephen Keel) 50

NE – Zak Boggs (Chris Tierney, Didier Domi) 54


New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Didier Domi, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane, Kevin Alston, Chris Tierney, Ousmane Dabo (Stephen McCarthy 20), Shalrie Joseph ©, Pat Phelan (Kenny Mansally 56), Zak Boggs (Sainey Nyassi 85), Rajko Lekic


Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Franco Coria, Kheli Dube, Darrius Barnes


STATS*: Shots: 12; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 5; Corner Kicks: 4; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 13


New York Red Bulls: Greg Sutton, Roy Miller, Stephen Keel, Carlos Mendes, Jan Gunnar Solli, Austin da Luz (John Rooney 84), Joel Lindpere, Teemu Tainio, Mehdi Ballouchy, Luke Rodgers (Corey Hertzog 65), Thierry Henry ©


Substitutes Not Used: Bouna Coundoul, Sacir Hot, Tyler Lassiter, Teddy Schneider, Matt Kassel


STATS*: Shots: 12; Shots on Goal: 6; Saves: 2; Corner Kicks: 3; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 16


* Note that all statistics are unofficial


Misconduct Summary:

NYRB – Stephen Keel (caution) 33

NYRB – Mehdi Ballouchy (caution) 57


Team Records:

New England Revolution – 3-7-4, 13 pts.

New York Red Bulls – 5-2-7, 22 pts.


Referee: Terry Vaughn

Assistant Referees: Fabio Tovar, Ian Anderson

Fourth Official: Juan Guzman
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 80 degrees

Attendance: 21,201



  • With the loss, the Revs fell to 25-18-11 overall against New York
  • The loss was the team’s second in a row after going 14 straight regular-season matches undefeated against the Red Bulls since 2005
  • The Revs now remain winless at Red Bull Arena, going 0-2-0 in regular-season action and 0-3-0 overall since the facility opened in 2010
  • Shalrie Joseph’s missed penalty kick attempt was his first miss since the 2008 season … he had converted his last four attempts, including two previous attempts this season
  • Ryan Cochrane’s own goal in the 37th minute was the team’s first surrendered own goal since May 8, 2010, when Cory Gibbs scored an own goal at Columbus in a 3-2 loss
  • The Revs and Red Bulls also saw an own goal scored in a meeting in 2010, when then rookie defender Tim Ream scored an own goal to give the Revs a 2-1 lead at Gillette Stadium on May 29
  • With New York credited with a first-half goal, tonight marked the first time in six games that the match was not scoreless at the half … the last Revs game in which there was a halftime score was the April 30 match at Chivas USA when it was 2-0, Chivas USA, at the halftime intermission
  • Pat Phelan started his first match since the April 9 Real Salt Lake match at Gillette Stadium
  • Zak Boggs’ goal was his first of the 2011 season … it was the third goal of his career and his first since May 8, 2010, when he scored two goals at Columbus in a 3-2 loss
  • Zak Boggs’ goal snapped the Revolution’s 601-minute streak without a goal being scored from the run of play
  • Prior to Zak Boggs’ goal tonight, New England’s last goal from the run of play came in the 83rd minute on April 23 from Rajko Lekic in a 3-2 win at home against Sporting Kansas City … the Revs had scored twice in games since April 23, but one goal was a penalty kick (Shalrie Joseph vs. Vancouver on May 14) and one goal came directly from a free kick (Chris Tierney at San Jose on May 21)
  • Boggs’ goal also snapped a 168-minute scoreless streak overall, with the team’s last goal coming in the 86th minute at San Jose on May 21 from Chris Tierney’s free kick
  • Chris Tierney recorded his first assist of the 2011 season with his helper on Zak Boggs’ goal … it was his eighth career assist and his first since Oct. 16, 2010, when he assisted on Shalrie Joseph’s game-winning goal against Kansas City
  • Didier Domi recorded his first assist in MLS with his helper on Zak Boggs’ goal
  • When Kenny Mansally came on as a substitute for Pat Phelan in the 56th minute, the Revs switched to a 4-4-2 alignment with Mansally up  top with Rajko Lekic
  • Matt Reis suffered just his third loss against New York as a member of the Revs … he is now 11-3-7 in 21 career regular-season meetings against the Red Bulls


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Revs Keep Rolling, Down DC

Posted on 08 August 2010 by Hank Alexandre

The New England Revolution secured a vital 3 points at home as they defeated DC United 1-0 last night in Foxboro.

It was the third game in eight days for the Revs, who are coming off a midweek SuperLiga semi-final appearance on Wednesday night, in which many of Steve Nicol’s starters for last nights game were forced to the play the full 90 minutes, due to the myriad of injuries in the New England locker room.

With new signings Betu Linck and Ilija Stolica available, Steve Nicol chose to stick with the core group of starters from Wednesday. Kevin Allston and Marko Perovic both sat out due to injury, while Seth Sinovic and Joseph Niouky, sat on the bench, along with back up goalkeepers, Tim Murray and Bobby Shuttleworth.

Matt Reis put in another man of the match performance as he recorded his 58th career shutout with a season high six saves. However, it was Pat Phelan who was the ultimate hero. Phelan, who did not start Wednesday but got the nod last night, flicked on a perfect free kick from Chris Tierney to score the only goal of the game, and the first in his MLS career.

DC looked to bet the better side from the kickoff, with Andy Najar providing speed and quality down the right side. Designated Player Branko Boskovic also combined well with Chris Pontius, Stephen King, and Pablo Hernandez, and dictated the flow of play for the majority of the first half.

Both Matt Reis and rookie DC keeper Bill Hamid saw little to threaten them until the 12th minute, when Pablo Hernandez got onto the end of a cross from Santino Quaranta but Reis was well positioned to catch the well directed header.

DC did well to keep New England off the ball for the majority of the half by applying pressure in the midfield, and the Revs’ struggled to capitalize on the few chances they had. Cory Gibbs did well to head in a corner kick from Mansally in the 28th minute, but his effort went over the bar. Zack Schilawski tried a long range shot in the 39th that just missed the far post.

However, in the 42nd minute the Revs were awarded a free kick on a foul on Phelan himself that would set up the only goal of the game. Chris Tierney delivered a swooping cross that Phelan ran onto, and directed the ball back across his body to the opposite corner. Hamid could just barely get his outstretched hand on the ball, but not enough to stop it from going in, and the first half would end with the score 1-0 in favor of the home team.

The second half saw renewed energy from DC as the visitors continued to dominate the midfield. They nearly equalized in the 56th minute when Hernandez found himself one on one with Matt Reis thanks to some expert ball movement and navigation from DC’s DP Boskovic. Hernandez was well met by Matt Reis however who came off his line and blocked his attempt with a sliding kick save.

DC continued to apply pressure however, seeing efforts from Stephen King and former Revs player Adam Cristman threaten the Revs goal, but just missing.

The Revs nearly scored an insurance goal from Mansally in the final minutes, but his effort missed the corner by what seemed like just a few inches. New England did well to hold off the visitors in the final stretch, and secured the three points in a game that was truly never fully over until the final whistle blew.

The Revolution have not lost a game since their humiliating 5-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake last month, and are now undefeated in their last seven games in all competitions. The win gives New England little breathing room from the bottom of the standings however, with 18 points having won only five league games and tied three.

The victory last night sets up an important stretch of the season for the Revolution, who only have 13 league games left, as well as the 2010 SuperLiga final. However 9 of those games are all against teams that are currently struggling and fighting for a playoff spot, such as Seattle and Colorado, both of whom are looking to secure their spots in the final 8.

Scoring Summary:
NE – Pat Phelan (Chris Tierney) 42

New England Revolution: Matt Reis (GK), Emmanuel Osei, Darrius Barnes, Cory Gibbs, Chris Tierney, Sainey Nyassi, Shalrie Joseph ©, Pat Phelan, Khano Smith (Roberto Linck 80), Zack Schilawski (Ilija Stolica 73), Kenny Mansally

Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Tim Murray, Joseph Niouky, Seth Sinovic

STATS: Shots: 10; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 6; Corner Kicks: 1; Offside: 4; Fouls Committed: 18

D.C. United: Bill Hamid (GK), Devon McTavish, Julius James, Carey Talley ©, Marc Burch, Andy Najar, Stephen King, Branko Boskovic (Adam Cristman 69), Santino Quaranta, Chris Pontius, Pablo Hernandez

Substitutes Not Used: Troy Perkins (GK), Kurt Morsink, Danny Allsopp, Jed Zayner, Barry Rice, Jaime Moreno

STATS: Shots: 13; Shots on Goal: 6; Saves: 3; Corner Kicks: 1; Offside: 0; Fouls Committed: 21

Misconduct Summary:
NE – Cory Gibbs (caution) 30
D.C. – Pablo Hernandez (caution) 70
D.C. – Carey Talley (caution) 89

Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee’s Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry, Peter Balciunas
Fourth Official: Peter Balciunas
Weather: Clear and 77 degrees
Attendance: 12,218

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Podcast: Episode 20 – The Midnight Ride: Tied With Two Microphones?

Posted on 17 May 2010 by Hank Alexandre

In this week’s episode, the curse of the second microphone crept into the playback, but the content is all good as Hank, Sean and Brian discuss the game against San Jose, the 5 man midfield, Pat Phelan as Center Back, and the state of the New England Revolution roster.

Click here to listen

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Revolution Face Midfield Challenge

Posted on 27 April 2010 by Hank Alexandre

On Monday, The New England Revolution announced that Shalrie Joseph has taken an indefinite leave of absence to take care of personal matters.    Speculation as to whether or not the leave had something to do with the team or Joseph’s ongoing injury were quelled later in the day by both Mike Burns, Revolution Vice President of Player Personnel, and Ron Waxman, Joseph’s agent, as reported by Frank Dell’Appa of the Boston Globe.

The purpose of the leave is unknown, and it is best not to speculate on any reason for it.  Rather the focus should be on what is known, and what is known is that the Revolution will be without Shalrie Joseph for the forseeable future, and that is not good news for the Revolution.

The question as to when Shalrie will be available is now moot.  The more pertinent question is who will be able to fill his role on the team.  Last Saturday the center of the Revolution midfield looked virtually vacant as the midfielder duo of Pat Phelan and Joseph Niouky took the field for the fourth time this season.  Both of Colorado’s goals came from long range blasts from the midfield where Shalrie normally dominates the run of play.  If Phelan and Niouky are not up to the task, who is?

The Revolution do have options, but they are limited.   The best option now would perhaps to modify the line up to play with one holding midfielder in front of center-backs Darrius Barnes and Cory Gibbs.  Emmanuel Osei has shown he has the ability to hold the ball and distribute it well, and may be best suited for a defensive midifelder replacement, if he is healthy, in a diamond formation with Perovic up top and Tierney and Nyassi on the flanks.

Another option would be to revert to a 3-5-2 formation, with Alston and Sinovic as the holding midfielders in front of Gibbs, Barnes/Osei, and Tierney.  The three attacking midfielders from left to right would be Mansally/Smith, Perovic, and Nyassi.  Alston has the speed to get into the attack and recover, where Seth Sinovic has shown that he is very compsed on the ball and can navigate through the opposition as well as deliver quality service.

As stated the options are limited, but it is clear that the status quo is not getting it done.  And with no salary relief available to buy a new player, Steve Nicol has to work with what he has.  He may not like it, but he doesn’t have much choice.

To paraphrase a certain ex Boston basketball coach…Steve Ralston isn’t going to come through that door.

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Revs take on Colorado

Posted on 24 April 2010 by Hank Alexandre

After playing 3 of their first 4 games on the road, The New England Revolution kicks off a three-game home stand over the next twelve days starting with the Colorado Rapids this Saturday.

The Rapids are 2-1-1 this season, with both their wins coming against bottom dwelling teams.  The Rapids opened their season with a 1-0 win over Chivas USA, before drawing against Chicago and sufffering a loss against red hot Kansas City.  Colorado’s leading goal scorer Conor Casey accounts for three of the Rapids six goals this season, but all three have come from the penalty spot.

Joining the Rapids this off season are former Revolution midfielders Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson.  Larentowicz, who scored the goal that secured New England’s place in the playoffs last season, scored in the 3-1 win over Toronto last week off of a free kick.  Thompson,  who has been primarily used as a substitute this season, drew the foul that set up Larentowicz’ goal.  However, Thompson,  did feature in a US Open Cup match up against Kansas City, in which he scored both goals in the Rapids win.  New England Fans will remember Thompson’s game winning goal against FC Dallas in the 2007 US Open Cup Final.

The Revolution are looking for some strength in the midfield.   Team captain Shalrie Joseph is listed as probable and could make the start.  If not, the Revs will be looking for stronger play from midfielders Joseph Niouky and Pat Phelan.  Phelan, who has yet to score for New England, needs to assert himself against his former teammate Larentowicz and drive the ball forward to the likes of wingers Chris Tierney or Sainey Nyassi, or attacking midfielder Marko Perovic.

Although the Rapids hold a slight lead in all time matchups, The Revolution have had the edge over the Rapids at home.  Prediction for Saturday’s match: 2-1 Revolution.

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Shalrie Absent in San Jose

Posted on 15 April 2010 by Hank Alexandre

Shalrie Joseph of the New England Revolution did not travel with the team to San Jose for this Saturday’s match up vs. the San Jose Earthquakes.

Joseph, who played the full ninety minutes in the Revs’ home opener last Satuday, had missed the first two games of the season while suffering from a hip flexor (strained hip muscle).  It seems that playing in the 4-1 win over Toronto FC, he may have re-aggravated that injury.

Early last week, at the Revolution’s annual Media Day, Joseph had not participated in the full practice.  Instead, he spent the majority of the training session working out with Taylor Twellman, who himself is still recovering from a head and neck injury sustained nearly two years ago.  When asked how he was progressing, Joseph was cautious but positive. “It’s coming along slowly. I just have to be patient and make sure its right before pushing it hard.  I’m optimistic – it goes day by day, I’ll see how it feels.  We’re only two games into the season and we’re still .500, so there’s no reason for me to rush it when the team’s still doing good.”

However, Joseph’s return to the line up had an immediate impact to the team’s performance on Saturday night.   Listening to teammate Kheli Dube after the game, Joseph’s presence on the pitch was a real confidence boost. “You know, the difference that Shalrie brings to the team, it’s just unbelievable.  Having him there, giving us balls to the feet, he makes it easy for me and Zack [Schilawski] to have chances like that”.

Those chances all came in the second half.  Spurred on by Joseph, the Revolution tore apart the hapless Toronto defense.  Zack Schilawski led the scoring with the fastest hat trick in Revolution history in just his third professional game, but Joseph was the catalyst.

In Joseph’s absence, head coach will most likely turn to 3rd year defensive midfielder Pat Phelan.  Phelan, who started the first two games of the season with Shalrie unavailable, will be looking to prove his worth along side newcomer Joseph Niouky.  Phelan, who registered his first shot on goal of the season against DC United two weeks ago, will be looking to link up with the likes of Shilawski and Dube, who has scored twice in his career against San Jose, as well as wingers Sainey Nyassi and Chris Tierney.

Given the narrow pitch at Buck Shaw Stadium,  Phelan may get plenty of opportunities to get into the attack.  However, the Revolution will be limited in exploiting the flanks as they did against Toronto.  If the Revs can’t utilize their speed in the wings, Coach Nicol may turn to recent signing Marko Perovic, an attacking midfielder that can play on the left or behind the strikers.

San Jose will most likely be starting a line up similar to the one they played last week against Chicago.  Arturo Alvarez and Ryan Johnson will be playing up front with Joey Gjertsen and Bobby Convey on the wings.  Also available is Scott Sealy, who recently re-signed with San Jose after plying his trade in Israel.

Veteran goal keeper Joe Cannon will be leading the defensive effort from the back with Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, and Captain Ramiro Corrales.  But the most anticipated match up will be the one between former Wake Forest team mates Zack Schilawski and San Jose Rookie Defender Ike Opara.  Opara, who went 3rd in the 2010 MLS Super Draft, is a strong defender but also gets into the attack.  Opara netted the first goal of his career last Saturday when he scored the game winner, a well-struck header, against the Chicago Fire.

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