Hot Revs host struggling Chivas USA
7:30 pm ET (FSC, WB-56, FSN-W)
A suddenly rampant Revolution return home to start an extended set of matches in Foxborough, facing a Chivas USA side that has left California for an official match for the first time in club history. The irresistible New England attack has hit for 10 goals over their last three matches - all victories - as they've risen to a tie for the league's best overall record. Chivas USA meanwhile is still looking for their first-ever MLS victory, with just a point to show for their first four matches and having been beaten for a league-high 11 goals on the campaign.
REFEREE: Kevin Terry. SAR (bench): Tom Supple; JAR (opposite): Ken Kaplan; 4th: Nik Bratsis
MLS Career: 101 games; FC/gm: 30.6; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 34; pens: 43
Games involving Revolution: P18 W4 L11 T3; FC/gm: 31.4; Y/gm: 2.6; R: 8; pens: 13
Games involving Chivas USA: first game
INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: GK Kyle Singer (R shoulder sprain); DOUBTFUL: MF James Riley (L hamstring strain) QUESTIONABLE: MF Felix Brillant (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: DF Joe Franchino (R quadriceps strain); MF Cassio (turf toe): MF Jose Cancela (flu) ... CHIVAS USA - OUT: GK Martin Zuniga (L ACL sprain); MF Francisco Gomez (L knee/ankle sprain); DF Michael Erush (sports hernia surgery); DOUBTFUL: MF Arturo Torres (MCL sprain); PROBABLE: DF Ryan Suarez (concussion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: CHV: MF Aaron Lopez (through May 1)
YELLOW PERIL: none
ALL-TIME: first meeting
This is the first meeting all-time between the two clubs, and the only one scheduled this season for Gillette Stadium. They have one meeting set for The Home Depot Center, on July 22.
This will be the 9th time Thomas Rongen has faced his former club, which he coached in the 1997 and 1998 seasons. The Chivas USA boss had a 23-35 record at the helm of the Revolution.
Coaches record: Steve Nicol vs. CHV: first game ... Thomas Rongen vs. NE: P8 W4 L1 D3
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution moved into sole possession of the Eastern Conference lead on Wednesday night, remaining unbeaten on the season with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field. The Revolution are tied with FC Dallas (the league's only other unbeaten team) for the best overall record in MLS, with 10 points from four matches. They now lead the Fire by three points in the East.
The Revolution continued their torrid start to the 2005 season and laid an early claim as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, scoring a pair of goals late in the first half and then holding their ground in the second for a comfortable victory.
Clint Dempsey gave the Revolution the lead in the 32nd minute, stepping through a pair of Fire defenders by flicking a Shalrie Joseph ball into the air and ripping a full volley into the top right corner past a stunned Zach Thornton.
Pat Noonan then doubled the lead 11 minutes later after Dempsey set off on a rampaging run down the right before slipping the ball to James Riley, who sent a rolling cross into the area. Noonan was on the far side and fired a low, hard shot back across the face of goal inside the far post.
Taylor Twellman scored his 50th career league goal five minutes deep into second-half stoppage time to seal the victory, claiming the ball in midfield and racing in almost unmolested before drilling an angled shot inside the near post from inside the penalty area.
"We were moving the ball, despite the conditions and the wind, and keeping it on the ground, and getting the ball wide. When you do that, it opens the game up," Noonan said. "Then, we had [Dempsey] running at guys in the middle of the field and Shalrie spraying the ball wide. When you have that, you can create a lot of opportunities."
Revolution coach Steve Nicol made one change to the team that held on for a wild 4-3 victory at RFK Stadium the Saturday before. Jose Cancela was laid up by the flu and not available, Andy Dorman making his first start of the season, playing in the attacking midfield role.
Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Avery John - James Riley (Luke Vercollone 86), Clint Dempsey, Shalrie Joseph, Marshall Leonard - Andy Dorman - Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan
"The team's together,'' Nicol said. "We've got good players and the team's together. That's a good combination when you have guys playing together. It makes all the difference.''
The fourth match continues the best start in club history for the Revolution, who had never before had seven points after three matches. It's also the first time the Revs are unbeaten after four matches in club history - they did not lose in regulation time in the first five matches of the 1999 season, but lost three matches by shootout.
The Revolution also have the best attack in the league with 12 goals from their first four matches. They have scored two or more goals in every game this season, 10 goals in their last three games and won two consecutive road matches with a slew of goals.
Dorman's last starts came in back-to-back matches last June, but he has made an impact off the bench this season, scoring the final goal in the 3-0 victory against Columbus and whipping in the free kick that led to Dempsey's match-winner against D.C. United last weekend. "I just go out and play my game, really," said Dorman to The Boston Globe. "We [Cancela and Dorman] are quite different players. He keeps the ball and plays one- or two-touch, and I like to run off the ball more."
There was a late concern as Riley went to the ground with an apparent hamstring injury in the 86th minute which forced him off in favor of Luke Vercollone.
Chivas USA once again fell to defeat - this time falling to arch-rival Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 in the first Super Clásico on Saturday night at The Home Depot Center - as the expansion club still looks for a first victory. Chivas USA have one point from their four matches thus far and are at the foot of the Western Conference table, three points behind Colorado and Real Salt Lake and nine adrift of leaders FC Dallas.
On Victoria Street, the first Los Angeles derby lived up to many expectations with a vibrant, intense match both on and off the field. But it was the MLS original Galaxy that owned the contest, scoring three goals in the first 32 minutes to run out easy winners.
Cobi Jones gave the Galaxy a 14th-minute lead when Chris Albright turned a corner kick on goal, only to see Chivas USA's Hector Cuadros clear it off the line. But Jones swooped in at the top of the area to blaze a first-time shot back under the crossbar.
Then 10 minutes later the 'home' side struck again, a long ball from Jones out of midfield headed down by Landon Donovan into the path of Peter Vagenas steaming up the center-forward channel, and he skipped through a tackle before lashing a low shot past Chivas 'keeper Brad Guzan.
And then after Donovan was hacked down on the edge of the area, Jovan Kirovski hooked a free kick over the wall and inside Guzan's right-hand post to put the Galaxy up 3-0 (32).
Just after the break Chivas pulled a goal back, credited to Isaac Romo when his slightest of touches slipped a deflection of a Ramon Ramirez free kick from the right flank past Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman (49). But six minutes later Aaron Lopez was sent off for a second bookable offense and that sealed Chivas USA's fate.
Chivas USA coach Thomas Rongen made two changes to the team that lost 3-1 to FC Dallas the previous weekend at The Home Depot Center. Alfonso Loera made his MLS debut, returning from injury to come into central defense in place of the injured Ryan Suarez, while Aaron Lopez also came back into the lineup, replacing Jesus Ochoa in midfield.
Here's Rongen's team (4-3-3): Brad Guzan - Ezra Hendrickson, Alfonso Loera, Douglas Sequeira, Orlando Perez - Ramon Ramirez, Hector Cuadros, Aaron Lopez - Arturo Torres (Isaac Romo 24), Thiago Martins (Antonio Martinez 70), Matt Taylor
"They were, on the day, clearly the better team. To give yourself such a large deficit against a good team, which L.A. is, it's very hard to come back," Rongen said. "We dug ourselves a very, very huge hole. The second half, we showed some grit and some pride, but we just didn't have enough in the tank."
Alfonso Loera made his MLS debut in central defense coming for the injured Ryan Suarez. But Suarez had some joy earlier in the day of the Galaxy match - he and his wife Julie celebrated the birth of their first child, son Santiago.
There was some real soul-searching following the Galaxy loss. "We really felt that regardless of the fact that we are an expansion team that we could compete in this league," Rongen said. "We're shooting ourselves in the foot a lot of times in games. We've given up a lot of goals on set pieces. We've given up some soft goals. We still can't create enough. But for us to use an expansion as an excuse, I don't think that's something we are going to do."
But while some players felt a change in tactics or starting personnel should be looked at, after a few days the mood changed. "Our system, our way of training and our way of preparing this team will pay dividends," Chivas USA President Antonio Cue said. "Players need to play with some urgency but also have some patience like we all need to do within this organization."