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7:30 pm ET (WB-56; MSG; FSC)
The Eastern Conference clubs reprise their rivalry at Gillette Stadium with both able to count on their international stars for the last time in a month, before the CONCACAF Gold Cup begins. They are among the hottest clubs in Major League Soccer - the Revolution, while seeing their 11-game unbeaten streak to open the campaign ended last weekend, got back to their winning ways at midweek. The MetroStars haven't lost in five games, winning three games in that time (including their first at home this season) as they've moved up the conference table.
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Bill Dittmar; JAR (opposite): Greg Barkey; 4th: Gus St. Silva
MLS Career: 35 games; FC/gm: 33.0; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 8; pens: 13
Games involving Revolution: P5 W1 L4 T0; FC/gm: 36.4; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 0; pens: 3
Games involving MetroStars: P9 W4 L4 T1; FC/gm: 31.0; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 2; pens: 3
INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: GK Kyle Singer (R shoulder sprain); DOUBTFUL: FW Taylor Twellman (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Marshall Leonard (osteitis pubis) ... METROSTARS - OUT: MF Chris Corcoran (R hamstring strain); DF Tim Ward (L hamstring strain); FW Abbe Ibrahim (L knee torn lateral meniscus); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jeff Agoos (R calf strain); FW Ante Razov (posas bursitis)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
WARNINGS: NE: DF Avery John (10 CP in 2 gms); MF Shalrie Joseph (18 CP); DF Jay Heaps (20 CP) ... MET: MF Amado Guevara (17 CP)
ALL-TIME (36 meetings): Revolution 16 wins (3 shootout), 64 goals ... MetroStars 15 wins (2 shootout), 68 goals ... 5 draws
AT FOXBOROUGH (17 meetings): Revolution 10 wins (1 shootout), 34 goals ...MetroStars 4 wins (2 shootout), 23 goals ... 3 draws
The I-95 rivals face off for the second of four scheduled meetings this season, the first of two at Gillette Stadium. They'll next meet in a home-and-home series late in the campaign, Sept. 17 at Giants Stadium then Sept. 24 in Foxborough (though the Revolution have a game in Columbus in between).
LAST MEETINGThe MetroStars nearly overcame a man disadvantage to end the New England Revolution's unbeaten run, a late goal giving the visitors a 2-2 draw at Giants Stadium on May 21.
The 10-man MetroStars had seemed to have overcome their disadvantage and put an end to the Revolution's undefeated run 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.
Here's Bob Bradley's team (4-4-2): Zach Wells - Chris Leitch, Jeff Agoos (Jeff Parke 76), Tim Regan, Tim Ward - Michael Bradley, Mark Lisi - Eddie Gaven (Mike Magee 74), Amado Guevara - Youri Djorkaeff (John Wolyniec 80), Abbe Ibrahim
Revolution boss Steve Nicol ran out this 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
HISTORYA year ago, the teams battled to a pair of 1-1 draws - one at each ground - before they finished off their league series with home victories. The first 1-1 result came April 25 at Giants Stadium (Guevara 14 - Dempsey 12), then they hit the same scoreline on May 22 at New England (Noonan 7 - Glen 55).
The Revolution claimed a 2-1 win on June 26 at home (Brillant 64, Dempsey 67 - Guevara 90 pen), before the MetroStars turned the tables with a 3-2 win at home on Sept. 11 (Magee 31 pen, Gaven 45, Glen 68 - Noonan 5, Twellman 14)
The MetroStars victory in the season series finale last year was their first win against New England in nine league encounters (11 including MLS Cup Playoffs), since a 4-3 victory at home on July 20, 2002. The Revolution then peeled off five wins in the next eight meetings in the series, with three draws.
New England has twice gone through the season series without loss to the Metros - in 1999 (winning two of the four matches by shootout) and in 2003 (winning three of the four meetings with one draw).
As well in 2003, the Revolution eased to victory when the teams met in the Eastern Conference semifinals, winning 2-0 at Giants Stadium before sealing advancement with a 1-1 draw at home (winning 3-1 on aggregate). The MetroStars did have a modicum of success, winning a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal 2-1 through a golden-goal winner in Piscataway, N.J.
Coaches record: Steve Nicol vs. MET: P13 W6 L3 D4 ... Bob Bradley v NE: P21 W6 L8 T7
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution returned to their winning ways, erasing an early deficit before coming back to defeat the Columbus Crew 3-1 on Wednesday night at Crew Stadium. The Revolution extended their lead in the Eastern Conference to five points over the Chicago Fire, now with 28 points from 13 matches, two points behind West leader FC Dallas in the race for the league's best record.
Edson Buddle got the Crew off to a glorious beginning, turning home from close range after just four minutes. Cornell Glen found Simon Elliott at the top of the area and his weak shot snaked through to a completely unmarked Buddle, who easily turned and beat Matt Reis for his fifth goal.
But the Revolution pulled level through Pat Noonan in the 24th minute. An early Steve Ralston cross was headed down by Noonan into the path of Clint Dempsey, and he carried to the byeline before rolling a low cross through the penalty area. Noonan had continued his run and snuck to the back post alone, and had the easiest of tap-ins for the equalizer.
In first-half stoppage time the Revs hit for a killer goal. After winning a last-ditch corner, Jose Cancela swung it in where Clint Dempsey dove in front of his marker and powered a header under the crossbar for his sixth goal, but first in seven games (47+).
Then midway through the second half Noonan completed his double, also on a corner kick. Dempsey challenged for the ball and it slipped through to Noonan at the back post, and he prodded it past Crew 'keeper Bill Gaudette from the doorstep for the final margin (68).
Revolution boss Steve Nicol made one change to the team that saw its season-opening unbeaten run ended by D.C. United the weekend before. Connally Edozien made his first MLS start, coming into the attack in place of Khano Smith.
Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Joe Franchino - Steve Ralston, Clint Dempsey, Shalrie Joseph, Marshall Leonard (James Riley 79) - Jose Cancela (Andy Dorman 65) - Pat Noonan, Connally Edozien (Khano Smith 53).
"I think we deserved it. We were taking the play to them and they were just trying to (catch) us on the break. We are the away team and I thought we deserved it," Nicol said. Ralston threw it at the goalkeeper as well, and then it would have really been dead. I thought we deserved to win tonight."
TEAM NEWSA big reason for the victory were two clearances off the line in the first half by left back Joe Franchino. "We could have scored a couple of goals as well and then it is completely dead. You can slice it anyway. Joey - that's his job, so he was in good position to cover. But we need to be better with the ball. If we had been better with the ball, we would have had a more comfortable evening."
The Revolution were happy with the chance to play again quickly after seeing their unbeaten run ended in an admittedly poor performance at RFK Stadium. It was our first loss but we didn't want to keep our heads down. We didn't want to wait the whole week, so it's good that we had this Wednesday game to get this back. It was good. I think the guys came out ready to play," said Rev captain Franchino.
Clint Dempsey had last scored May 7 v Chicago - a span of six matches without a goal (though he missed two to national team duty). "Resting your body, trying to get back in the flow of things (it) also felt good to get back on the scoreboard, get a goal. I think it is just going to continue to get back on the wave again. Throughout the season, you are going to have ups and downs. When you have your downs, you just have to figure out a way to get back on that way and get going again," he said.
As feared, the Revolution will be shorthanded as they face a busy stretch. An MLS-high four players - Reis, Noonan, Dempsey and Ralston have been called into the U.S. team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. They will leave for that duty after Saturday's game and could be gone up to a month - the final is set for July 24.
The MetroStars ran their undefeated streak to five games, winning the first game after Alexi Lalas took over as the club's president and general manager, knocking off the Columbus Crew 3-2 at Giants Stadium last Saturday. The MetroStars are now in third place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points from 13 matches, three behind the Chicago Fire and eight out of first place - yet just two ahead of fifth-place Kansas City.
Ante Razov scored a pair of goals against his former club in a quick first-half burst as the Lalas era in charge began for the MetroStars. The Crew missed a glorious opportunity to take the lead after 28 minutes when Metro 'keeper Zach Wells saved Chris Henderson's penalty kick, redeeming himself after he had tripped up Crew striker Cornell Glen.
Almost immediately after, Razov struck twice within three minutes. First he finished off a quick break out of the MetroStars half when he ran onto a perfectly weighted through ball and made no mistake from just outside the area with a low drive (31). Then he finished off a neat passing sequence on the right, hammering the ball inside the near post from a tight angle after sent through by Amado Guevara.
But the Crew answered just three minutes later, Edson Buddle showing remarkable strength in fighting off defender Jeff Agoos in the box and turning to poke home past Wells.
Yet the MetroStars sealed the victory in the 70th minute when Youri Djorkaeff finished off from the spot after Mario Rodriguez pulled down Guevara in the box following some wonderful individual skill. The Crew again pulled within one, a terrific ball from former MetroStars forward sending Glen on his way, and he finished with aplomb after leaving Wells grasping for air (77), but that was all the visitors could manage.
"Anytime your goalkeeper saves a penalty it's a boost for a the team. I think Zach has shown now that when the other team gets penalties there is going to be no freebees. He's quick and reads things well," MetroStars coach Bob Bradley said. "So that is something that works well for us. Hopefully we don't keep giving up penalties, we've given up more than I'd like."
MetroStars coach Bob Bradley made one change to the team that played to a scoreless draw with D.C. United the previous Sunday at home. Jeff Agoos returned to the starting lineup for the second time in six games, coming into central defense for Carlos Mendes.
Here's Bradley's team (4-4-2): Zach Wells - Chris Leitch, Jeff Agoos (Carlos Mendes 82), Jeff Parke, Tim Regan - Michael Bradley, Mark Lisi - Mike Magee (Sergio Galvan Rey 86), Amado Guevara - Ante Razov, Youri Djorkaeff (Seth Stammler 89).
TEAM NEWSRazov's two goals in two minutes tied the second-quickest pair in MetroStars history. Current MetroStars youth soccer director Giovanni Savarese scored twice within a minute Aug. 18, 1988 v Colorado, and scored twice in two minutes against Tampa Bay on May 4, 1996.
"I've known Ante a long time. I think he's a dangerous striker. I think he has a good way of moving on the field," Bradley said. "The hope is that he will continue to get sharper and sharper but his movement is good and when he gets chances running in on goal his ability to finish and beat the keeper is as good as anybody in the league."
For Razov, the two goals also give him 80 for his MLS career, now fifth on the league's all-time goal-scoring charts. He is two behind Raul Diaz Arce, four behind current D.C. United striker Jaime Moreno and 15 off the pace set by Real Salt Lake striker Jason Kreis, whose 95 goals is the all-time MLS lead.
Razov said their was no coincidence the goals came against his former club, after a brief yet acrimonious spell in Columbus. "I haven't scored since the first game of the year so it was nice to get two," said Razov. "It's just coincidence that they came up so fast. If we had played them six weeks from now it wouldn't have been a big deal."
A lot was also made of another change - this one sartorial. Lalas asked Bradley to wear a suit on the touchline, a change from his usual team gear, to create a "separation" between the team staff and the players. "Alexi asked me to wear a suit. I think he feels my image needs a shakeup," Bradley said. "It was either that or a red goatee, so I chose the suit."
The MetroStars did receive a blow before the match. 21-year-old Togolese international striker Abbe Ibrahim will be lost to the team for 3-5 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a tear in his left lateral meniscus. "We'll miss Abbe, he's made a lot of progress of late," Bradley said. "But we'll just have to deal with it. He's young so the hope is that he'll return quickly and pick up where he left off."
In Sunday's reserve match, Colombian striker Sergio Galvan Rey scored the lone goal against the Crew reserves and showed he could be ready to fill in for Ibrahim. "Sergio's a threat this year. He's given us some good minutes as a forward, has played a little bit in the midfield as well," Bradley said. "He's certainly someone we continue to use and challenge with the idea that we need him to be a good team player."