FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England captain Shalrie Joseph converted a penalty kick four minutes after halftime to give the Revolution a 1-0 victory over Vancouver at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.
Joseph stroked home his fourth goal of the campaign from the spot after Vancouver fullback Wes Knight fouled Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber just inside the penalty area. Vancouver wasted a couple of good chances in the second half to equalize, but the Revs managed to hold on for their first win in three attempts.
New England coach Steve Nicol made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Colorado last Saturday. Darrius Barnes earned the start at left back as Chris Tierney pushed up onto the left flank and Ousmane Dabo (right adductor strain) dropped out of the side through injury. Zak Boggs returned to the starting XI on the right flank after a bout with illness allowed Kenny Mansally to take his place against the Rapids. Didier Domi (left quadriceps strain) and Marko Perović (left knee sprain) missed out on the squad entirely.
Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit made his first start since the opening game of the season as Whitecaps manager Teitur Thordarson rang the changes ahead of the first leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship final against Toronto FC on Wednesday. DeMerit partnered Mouloud Akloul in central defense as one of six changes to the starting XI from Wednesday's 1-1 draw with San Jose. Eric Hassli (hamstring) and Alain Rochat (rested) did not make the trip, while Camilo and Davide Chiumiento settled for a place on the bench.
Both sides created their chances primarily in the wide areas during a mundane opening half. Tierney found himself with plenty of time and space to serve several balls into the box on the left flank, while Shea Salinas caused the Revs problems with his forays down the right flank. Feilhaber saw his goal-bound header from a Tierney cross deflected away by Akloul after 19 minutes before Long Tan failed to nod home Salinas' cross seven minutes later.
New England nearly carved out the opener a minute before halftime after a quick counterattack, but Akloul once again intervened to cut out the danger and send the teams into the interval on level terms.
Joseph handed the home side the lead four minutes after halftime. Feilhaber collected the remnants of Barnes' long throw just inside the Vancouver penalty area and tempted Knight into hacking him down with a clever juke. The penalty award inevitably followed and Joseph coolly slotted his fourth goal of the campaign into the lower left hand corner.
Feilhaber though he had doubled the Revs' advantage six minutes later. Lekic played Feilhaber in behind the Whitecaps' back four. Feilhaber latched onto the pass and clipped the ball over the onrushing Jay Nolly, but the assistant referee's flag went up to wipe away the goal. Replays appeared to lend credence to Feilhaber's assertion that he had timed his run perfectly.
Vancouver forward Omar Salgado drew the best out of Matt Reis with 20 minutes to play as the Whitecaps pressed for the tying goal. Blake Wagner swung a tempting ball in from the left flank. Salgado rose highest to nod the ball toward the near post, but Reis managed to push the ball onto the post and watched thankfully as it bounced away to safety.
Revolution substitute Sainey Nyassi nearly grabbed a second for the home side with a darting run down the right flank and a rousing near-post effort with eight minutes to play, but Nolly poked the effort around the far post.
Tan probably should have equalized for the visitors with a minute left to play, but he scuffed his half-volley attempt from Salinas' inviting cross to ensure the Whitecaps extended their winless streak to ten matches.
NE -- Shalrie Joseph 4 (penalty kick) 49
VAN -- Jay DeMerit (caution; Reckless Tackle) 33
NE -- Zak Boggs (caution; Reckless Foul) 62
NE -- Stephen McCarthy (caution; Reckless Tackle) 66
Vancouver Whitecaps -- Jay Nolly, Blake Wagner, Jay DeMerit (Greg Janicki 61), Mouloud Akloul, Wes Knight, Jeb Brovsky, Shea Salinas, Gershon Koffie, Russell Teibert (Davide Chiumiento 79), Omar Salgado (Nizar Khalfan 74), Long Tan.
Substitutes Not Used: Camilo, Terry Dunfield, Jonathan Leathers, Joe Cannon.
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane, A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes, Zak Boggs (Sainey Nyassi 75), Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph, Stephen McCarthy, Chris Tierney, Rajko Lekic (Kheli Dube 81).
Substitutes Not Used: Franco Coria, Kenny Mansally, Pat Phelan, Zack Schilawski, Bobby Shuttleworth.
Referee: Chris Penso
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; Mike Rottersman
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Cloudy and 55 degrees