Unbeaten Revs host Rapids
7:30 pm ET (WB-56; Altitude)
The New England Revolution return home - where they haven't allowed a goal this season - after a 2-2 draw that ended a six-game winning streak, though they remain unbeaten on the campaign with the best overall record in Major League Soccer. They play host to a Colorado Rapids club that has yet to claim a single point on their travels and come in with a three-match losing streak, the playing squad having undergone a real turnover in recent days.
REFEREE: Ben Jones. SAR (bench): Craig Lowry; JAR (opposite): Chip Reed; 4th: Gus St. Silva
MLS Career: 1 games; FC/gm: 28.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 0; pens: 1
Games involving Revolution: first game
Games involving Rapids: first game
INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: GK Kyle Singer (R shoulder sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Joe Franchino (R quadriceps strain); PROBABLE: MF James Riley (L hamstring strain): MF Cassio (R turf toe): MF Felix Brillant (L ankle bone bruise); MF Shalrie Joseph (R ankle contusion); DF Marshall Leonard (osteitis pubis) ... COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: MF Terry Cooke (R knee sprain); MF Pablo Mastroeni (R quadriceps strain); FW Jean-Philippe Peguero (concussion); DOUBTFUL FW Luchi Gonzalez (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Matt Crawford (R quadriceps strain); DF Nat Borchers (R lower leg contusion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: NE: MF Clint Dempsey; MF Steve Ralston (USA; May 28 v England)
YELLOW PERIL: COL: Nat Borchers (8 CP in 2 gms)
ALL-TIME (24 meetings): Revolution 12 wins (1 shootout), 43 goals ... Rapids 9 wins (2 shootout), 37 goals ... 3 draws
AT FOXBOROUGH (12 meetings): Revolution 8 wins (1 shootout), 21 goals ... Rapids 3 wins (0 shootout), 10 goals ... 1 draw
This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the clubs this season. Their lone encounter in Denver is now set for Aug. 17.
A year ago, each team won once in their three-game season series, with the third game a scoreless draw. That came in the first meeting, May 7 in Denver.
The Rapids then won the next match, on the annual Fourth of July extravaganza, the lone goal of the game from Alberto Delgado (75). The Revolution exploded for a 6-1 triumph in the final meeting, the only match at Gillette Stadium (Ralston 27, 36 pen; Twellman 28, 71; Noonan 41, 50 - Peguero 17).
The last three years, the two clubs have exactly halved their season series. They've met three times in each of the last two seasons, each team winning one with one draw. In 2002, the teams each won twice, once at each ground.
The Revolution went nearly four years without a victory in the early years of the series. From Aug. 9, 1997 (a 3-0 Colorado win) and May 29, 2000 (a 2-1 Rapids win), the Revolution lost seven consecutive meetings (one by shootout).
Coaches record: Steve Nicol v COL: P9 W4 L3 T2 ... Fernando Clavijo vs. NE: first game
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
It took some late heroics, but the New England Revolution lengthened their unbeaten run to open the season to eight games, coming back to claim a 2-2 draw with the MetroStars on Saturday afternoon at Giants Stadium. The Revolution have 20 points from eight matches, seven ahead of the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference, and two ahead of West leader FC Dallas in the MLS overall table.
A 10-man MetroStars had seemed to have overcome their disadvantage and put an end to the Revolution's undefeated streak to start the campaign - until Taylor Twellman again came to the rescue.
Twellman had given the Revolution the lead after just six minutes. Pat Noonan collected a Steve Ralston ball played down the right flank before curling in an early cross that Twellman knocked home inside the far post with a sublime first-time strike. But the home side responded just 10 minutes later, a neat bit of juggling from Amado Guevara able to find Tim Ward in the corner, who spun and drove a low cross into the area that Eddie Gaven stabbed home.
MetroStars striker Abbe Ibrahim - making his first MLS start - was sent off for a second bookable offense in the 66th minute. Yet it was the Metros who responded, Mike Magee driving in a low cross from the right corner that John Wolyniec slid to bang home off his knees in the middle of the goal area.
But the Revolution weren't going to let their hot start slip away, and a minute from the end, substitute Khano Smith teased in a cross from the left flank that Twellman lunged forward to power home, heading it off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net.
Revolution boss Steve Nicol made no changes to his team for the fourth consecutive match. Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Avery John - Steve Ralston, Clint Dempsey, Shalrie Joseph, Marshall Leonard (Khano Smith 61) - Andy Dorman (Jose Cancela 86) - Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan
"I don't think they were more dangerous with 10 men at all,'' Revs coach Steve Nicol said. "I think they scored a great goal, but by then we had about five or six chances to score. But, fortunately, we kept it going and were able to get one back.''
The 16th-minute goal from the MetroStars was the first allowed by the Revolution in more than six hours (384 minutes) and the first allowed by New England in open play in 408 minutes.
"A few of the games haven't been pretty,'' Ralston said to the Boston Herald. "But we keep finding a way to get points. It reminds me of the first game (a 2-2 tie at San Jose). I couldn't believe we could be so bad in the first half and then be so good in the second half. Against Chivas, we didn't score until the 88th minute. We definitely feel we are coming together as a team when you can come back like that.''
Since Taylor Twellman had pulled the Revolution into a 2-2 tie in the 73rd minute of the season opener, they hadn't trailed in a match until Wolyniec's goal gave the MetroStars the short-lived lead.
''When they got the lead, it was a little scary," Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph said. ''But we just wanted to get the ball wide to Khano and Steve Ralston and let them work their magic, get it back into the box. It was a matter of time before we scored. 'It is disappointing not to get 3 points and lose the shutout streak, but at the end of the day, we are still undefeated and we are looking forward to keeping it that way (this) week 'We have shown we can play from behind or in front. If we go one down or two down, we are going to keep fighting and, eventually, the goals will come."
The Revolution have pointed to having a core of players together for a number of years now as a key to their fast start. ''With two new teams, it has thinned out the talent pool a little bit," Reis said to The Boston Globe. ''Teams that made a lot of changes in the offseason are struggling early. Teams like ourselves, which did not make a lot of changes, have benefited."
Changes are guaranteed for the Rapids match, with Clint Dempsey and Steve Ralston in Chicago with the U.S. national team for their glamour friendly against England. Nicol said Bermuda international Khano Smith - the substitute on the hour against the MetroStars who set up the last goal - is a good contender to start wide in the midfield.
"He's got a nice left foot," said Nicol, "and he's got real pace. Defenders don't like that kind of pace. So we put him in there and he did really well."
The Colorado Rapids returned home and lost their third match in a row, a late goal giving the San Jose Earthquakes a 1-0 victory in Denver on Wednesday night. The Rapids remain in fifth place in the Western Conference with seven points from 10 matches, four behind Real Salt Lake and three ahead of Chivas USA, while now 11 points out of the West lead.
Alejandro Moreno's 78th-minute goal gave the Earthquakes the victory on the road. Dwayne De Rosario found Moreno on the outside near the corner of the area, and he beat newly-acquired defender Mike Petke one-on-one, turning the former D.C. United center back before hitting a low shot that skipped off Petke's foot and through a host of legs, curling inside the far post past Joe Cannon's outstretched dive.
Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo made three changes to the team that lost 2-1 to the Chicago Fire the weekend before. Center back Mike Petke, acquired from D.C. United in a trade that eventually saw Chris Henderson head to the Columbus Crew, started in central defense for Ritchie Kotschau. There were two changes in the midfield, Matt Crawford and Leo Cullen coming in for Luchi Gonzalez and Kyle Beckerman.
Here's Clavijo's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon, Ricky Lewis, Nat Borchers, Mike Petke, Eric Denton, Matt Crawford, Guy Melamed, Leo Cullen (Kyle Beckerman 58), Alain Nkong (Hunter Freeman 66), Jeff Cunningham (Eugene Sepuya 72), Jean Philippe Peguero
"Nothing happened, nothing. From the beginning we laid down a ball with no energy and (this was) just one of those games that you want to put behind you and concentrate on the next one," Clavijo said. "I'm just very dissatisfied the way we played the whole way through."
The Rapids had undergone a significant makeover in less than a week leading into the Earthquakes match. Before the Fire match, Mark Chung was dealt to San Jose, then Henderson's transfer was completed over the weekend with the move finally occurring before the midweek contest. The two MLS originals are in the top four all-time in league history in appearances.
"The idea is very simple. We had some value today in those players. That value might not be there in six months. We need to pull the trigger when we have a chance." "I needed to pull the trigger to correct some mistakes right now that are happening," Clavijo said.
"Those two guys have done tremendous things for this franchise, but at the same time, they haven't won anything," he added. "It would be great if they won three championships and keep them here until we help them to retire. My job would be much easier.
However, after the San Jose match, Clavijo indicated the quick moves could have been a factor in the result. "One thing I have to look at as a common denominator for everything that has been happening, between trades and everything else, we do not have a team that is mentally strong and we have suffered some of the consequences," he said.
Petke started in central defense in just his second day with the club, and unfortunately was beaten by Moreno on the winning goal. "I have only been here for two days and it is tough to get used to people in two days. There have been two other changes in the lineup since last game besides me. San Jose came here to play and for whatever reason we did not, especially in the second half," he said.
The trade of Henderson involved a player who has nearly become synonymous with the Rocky Mountain club, in his second stint with the team after three years spent with Kansas City and Miami. "I'm proud of the time I had here," Henderson said. "If someone would have told me before the season I'd have seven points in eight games, I'd be happy with that start. I leave as the leading points scorer and most games played and started so there a lot of things I'm proud of in my time here.
The Rapids had plaudits for Henderson as well. "I want to thank Chris for everything he did for soccer in Colorado, both on and off the field," Rapids COO Charlie Wright said. "The doors of our club will always remain open to him and a position within our organization will be waiting for him whenever he decides to retire." Said Henderson: "To have them say those words, it does mean a lot that they value me as a person and what I can do for soccer in Denver."