Preview: Revolution, Whitecaps square off at Gillette

The New England Revolution and Vancouver Whitecaps FC meet for the second time this season when they face off Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution returned home last weekend, playing to a scoreless draw with the Colorado Rapids. Whitecaps FC are once again on the East Coast, after returning home at midweek and coming back for a late 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.

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REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): George Gansner; JAR (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Hilario Grajeda MLS Career: 1 game; FC/gm: 18.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 0; pens: 0

INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION – OUT: MF Ousmane Dabo (R adductor strain); DF Didier Domi (L quadriceps strain); MF Marko Perovic (L knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Otto Loewy (L & R gastroc strain); MF Pat Phelan (L shin contusion); PROBABLE: FW Rajko Lekic (R knee sprain) …

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); MF John Thorrington (R calf strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jay DeMerit (groin strain); MF Michael Nanchoff (groin strain)

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NE: Shalrie Joseph … VAN: Terry Dunfield

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Revolution 0 wins, 1 goal … Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 1
AT NEW ENGLAND: First meeting
•    The teams have already met this season. An goal from New England’s Ilija Stolica three minutes into second-half stoppage time left the teams in a 1-1 draw, April 6 at Empire Field.
•    Coaches record: Steve Nicol vs. VAN: P1 W0 L0 D1 … Teitur Thordarson v NE: P1 W0 L0 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS):
4/6: VAN 1, NE 1 (Hassli 56 – Stolica 90)
•    A match full of incident burst to life just before the halftime break, when the home side cleared a shot off the line, then were reduced to 10 men when Gershon Koffie was sent off with a straight red card.
•    Then after New England’s Zak Boggs was adjudged to have brought down Camilo, halftime substitute Eric Hassli stepped to the spot and converted a penalty. But Hassli removed his shirt in celebration – his second caution after coming on – and referee Baldomero Toledo sent off, leaving Vancouver with nine men.
•    The Revolution then were lowered to 10 men when A.J. Soares was shown a straight red in the 75th minute.
•    But in stoppage time, the visitors hit for a dramatic equalizer when Pat Phelan’s cross was knocked down by Zack Schilawski in the box and Ilija Stolica blasted it into the roof of the goal.
•    VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Jay Nolly – Jonathan Leathers, Alain Rochat, Michael Boxall, Blake Wagner – Wes Knight (Eric Hassli 46; sent off 56), Gershon Koffie (sent off 44), Terry Dunfield (John Thorrington 38), Nizar Khalfan – Atiba Harris, Camilo (Kevin Harmse 67).
•    NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-2-3-1): Bobby Shuttleworth – Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane (Ilija Stolica 62), A.J. Soares (sent off 74), Didier Domi - Pat Phelan, Stephen McCarthy (Kenny Mansally 58) - Zak Boggs, Shalrie Joseph, Sainey Nyassi (Chris Tierney 74) - Zack Schilawski.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution returned home and kept a clean sheet, playing to a goalless draw with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution have 10 points from 9 matches, in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference to start the week.

LAST MATCH
•    Ryan Cochrane and Benny Feilhaber each had chances find the woodwork for the Revolution, while Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens was called upon to make two saves, including a point-blank stop of a Shalrie Joseph header.
•    Matt Reis made one save as the Revolution recorded their first shutout of the season.
•    Revolution head coach Steve Nicol made five changes to the team that lost 3-0 to Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Matt Reis returned to the goal in place of Bobby Shuttleworth, Chris Tierney and Ryan Cochrane replaced the injured Didier Domi and Franco Coria on the backline, and Ousmane Dabo and Stephen McCarthy came into the midfield for Zak Boggs and Zack Schilawski.
•    NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-2-3-1): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane, A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney - Ousmane Dabo (Darrius Barnes 75), Stephen McCarthy (Sainey Nyassi 46) - Kenny Mansally, Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber - Rajko Lekic.

TEAM NEWS
•    The goalless draw against Colorado was the fourth attacking shutout in the last five games for the Revolution.
•    “The disappointing thing is the amount of possession we had and the amount of balls we had, and we just lacked that imagination in the final third,’’ Nicol said. “Saying that, we’ve had three good chances. But, at the same time, we didn’t create enough with the amount of balls we had and we’re not going to win games unless we do better in the final third.”
•    But the Revolution did record their first defensive shutout of the season.
•    “We’re not just defending for the whole game. If we do lose the ball we’re not losing it in bad spots, we’re losing it at the other end of the field and they have to go through the whole team to create chances,” goalkeeper Matt Reis said. “So it is getting better but it’s still not good enough. If we want to compete for the title it’s got to be better. We’ve got to create more chances.”
•    Ousmane Dabo made his MLS debut; he missed the first month of the season while recovering from a quadriceps strain, though he did feature in the U.S. Open Cup match on April 26. But he is listed as out in the club’s injury report for the Colorado game.
•    “We need to go and sign someone who is creative, in the next transfer window [in June],’’ Nicol said. “It’s something we are trying to do, something we are working on — we need to be more creative in the midfield. We didn’t give anything up and we passed it [against Colorado] but we’re lacking creativity.’’
•    Chris Tierney made his second start of the season at left back, and later moved to a defensive midfield role with the departure of Dabo. He has played five different positions in all competitions for the Revolution – wide in the midfield, centrally in a couple of spots, at center back and at fullback.
•    “It’s always difficult to step in without playing consistently. I had to work out the kinks a little bit, but I think I’m capable of slotting in and doing a job here and there wherever Stevie (Nicol) needs me,” Tierney said. “I played left back and we kept a clean sheet so I’m pretty happy about that, but of course we would have liked to win.”
•    Marko Lekic again played as a lone striker. Zak Boggs was originally scheduled to start, but was a late scratch because of illness and replaced by Kenny Mansally.
•    “He has to keep getting himself into positions to be available for the ball. We lacked that creativity to get him the ball when it matters,” Nicol said. “The one at the end kind of sums it up: He’s in the right place to put the ball in the back of the net, but he doesn’t get the pass. It’s tough for him when he’s not getting great service.”

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC headed back across the continent and came back for a late 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday evening at Empire Field. Whitecaps FC have 8 points from 10 matches, sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    San Jose broke through in the 39th minute. After Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly did well to save a long-range shot from Brad Ring, Ryan Johnson got to the rebound first and sent the ball back towards goal, finding Wondolowski for a backheel goal from inside the six.
•    But seconds after the 90th minute passed, Davide Chiumiento picked up the ball along the right touchline and swung in a left-footed cross toward the back post that somehow snuck through the entire penalty area and beat San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch inside his right-hand post.
•    Whitecaps FC head coach Teitur Thordarson made three changes to the team that, played to a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Wes Knight, Shea Salinas and Jeb Brovsky came into the team, for Jonathan Leathers, Gershon Koffie and Blake Wagner.
•    VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Jay Nolly – Wes Knight (Jay DeMerit 75), Greg Janicki, Mouloud Akloul, Alain Rochat - Shea Salinas (Russell Teibert 72), Terry Dunfield, Jeb Brovsky, Davide Chiumiento - Camilo, Eric Hassli (Omar Salgado 66)

TEAM NEWS
•    While Whitecaps FC saw their winless skein in league games stretched to nine, Thordarson said his club was definitely feeling the effects of playing a sixth game in less than three weeks (the game vs. New England will be seven matches in a 21-day span).
•    “We didn't manage to put them under pressure as we wanted to. I think it's more a question of some players being more tired after all these games,” Thordarson said. “We were struggling a bit, energy wise, and that is understandable. Confidence-wise, it was without a doubt a very, very important goal. There is a big difference between drawing a game and losing."
•    After scoring seven goals in their first three MLS games, the ‘Caps have managed just five over their last seven contests. "Definitely, we don't make things easy for ourselves," Thordarson said. "It seems to be a habit now. I think we are defensively quite [good].”
•    Davide Chiumiento scored his first MLS goal. He is still tied for second in MLS with five assists.
•    "I'm happy for the goal but obviously I'm not happy with the end result," said Chiumiento. "We want to start to win and I think this was the perfect night to do it. We weren't ready. A draw is OK, but we need a win for the head. We can't be happy with this. So many games at home and, after Toronto, we never win. Maybe we must have a different mentality.”
•    Midfielder Shea Salinas made his first start for Vancouver, on the right side of midfield with Chiumiento on the left. Chiumiento switched sides when Russell Teibert came on for Salinas in the 72nd minute.
•    After playing every minute of every match this season, Jonathan Leathers did not figure in the contest, with Wes Knight moving back to right back.
•    Jay Demerit came on as a substitute for the final 15 minutes, his first action since April 10, after suffering a groin strain while on national team duty with the USA.
•    “There's enough experienced guys on this team that these types of inconsistencies should be at a minimum,” DeMerit said. “But right now, they're happening too much. Guys have to step up and step in and we have to improve on our performances.”
•    Eric Hassli came off with a hamstring ailment midway through the second half vs. San Jose, replaced by Omar Salgado. Thordarson termed him “doubtful” for the New England match.
•    “In most of the games we have created three to five good chances, and that’s not bad on this level,” said Thordarson. “(Against San Jose) we didn’t manage that and I think the reason is that some of the players are lacking energy. We’ve played so many games lately, every third day, so that obviously will be seen somewhere.”