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NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION v D.C. UNITED
GILLETTE STADIUM, Foxborough, Mass.
7:30 p.m. ET (FSN-NE)
Sept. 13, 2006 (WEEK 25) / MLS Game #115
Matching the Eastern Conference champions for the last two seasons, one of the more heated rivalries over the past few years kicks off again in Foxborough. D.C. United have already secured their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs and now are trying to hold on to the MLS Supporters' Shield awarded to league's best regular season team, though they've won just once since mid-July. The New England Revolution are still in the thick of a race for playoff survival, but now with a five-point gap on fifth place New York with six games to play, they have a little more breathing room.
REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): George Vergara; JAR (opposite): Richard Eddy; 4th: Gus St. Silva
MLS Career: 4 games; FC/gm: 25.5; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 0; pens: 0
MLS 2006: 4 games; FC/gm: 25.5 (avg: 28.8); Y/gm: 3.5 (avg: 3.67); R: 0 (MLS: 30); pens: 0 (MLS: 34)
Games involving Revolution: P1 W0 L0 T1; FC/gm: 22.0; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 0; pens: 0
Games involving United: first game
INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: FW Pat Noonan (R hip flexor); DF Marshall Leonard (L Achilles tendon repair); MF Daniel Hernandez (L ankle); QUESTIONABLE: FW Willie Sims (costochondral (rib) separation); PROBABLE: MF Shalrie Joseph (L ankle); GK Doug Warren (L arm contusion) ... D.C. UNITED - OUT: MF Domenic Mediate (broken distal fibula); DF John Wilson (knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: FW Alecko Eskandarian (hamstring tendonitis)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NE: Andy Dorman, James Riley ... DC: Brian Carroll, Josh Gros, Ben Olsen
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NE: Clint Dempsey, Joe Franchino, Jay Heaps, Daniel Hernandez, Jeff Larentowicz, Taylor Twellman
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
HEAD-TO-HEADThis is the third of four meetings this season between the Eastern Conference rivals, the second of two at Gillette Stadium. It the first of two meetings over three weeks to conclude the season series at the end of the year - the final meeting is set for Oct. 7 in Washington.
The Revolution won three of the four meetings last season after winning just once in eight tries over the previous two league campaigns. That doesn't include in the 2004 Eastern Conference Championship, also won by United in dramatic fashion, 4-3 on penalty kicks after the clubs battled to a 3-3 draw over 120 minutes.
Coaches record: Steve Nicol v DC: P19 W8 L7 D4 ... Peter Nowak vs. NE: P10 W4 L3 D3
ALL-TIME (42 meetings): Revolution 16 wins (3 shootout), 52 goals ... United 22 wins (4 shootout), 62 goals ... 4 draws
AT FOXBOROUGH: (21 meetings): Revolution 11 wins (2 shootout), 24 goals ... United 8 wins (2 shootout), 20 goals ... 2 draws
2006 (MLS)The teams met twice in a two-week period at midseason, with United winning at home before they played to a draw at Gillette Stadium.
On June 3, United claimed a 1-0 win against the Revolution at RFK Stadium. Jaime Moreno hit for the game's only goal in the 14th minute, although it had a whisper of controversy. Christian Gomez looped a ball over the Revolution defense and while they held their line, the flag stayed down and Moreno raced in alone on New England 'keeper Matt Reis, rounding the netminder and rolling the ball into the open goal as center back Michael Parkhurst just failed to keep it from crossing the line.
An already injury-ravaged Revolution were struck a blow very early on, when Pat Noonan was forced off the field after again suffering a hamstring injury.
6/3: DC 1, NE 0 (Moreno 14)
6/17: NE 1, DC 1 (Dorman 86 - Moreno 44)
LAST MEETINGThe Revolution came back to snatch a share of the points on June 17 at home, getting a last-gasp equalizer for a 1-1 draw.
Jaime Moreno gave United the lead just before the halftime interval with a powerful strike. He took a simple square pass and let fly from nearly 25 yards, the ball flashing past Matt Reis for his eighth goal on the campaign.
But four minutes from the end, the Revolution pulled level through some good fortune. A free kick was served into the mixer where it bounced off a couple of legs, last United defender Bobby Boswell. With his back to goal, Andy Dorman hooked the ball home to give New England a third draw in four games.
Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Tony Lochhead - Andy Dorman, Jeff Larentowicz, Shalrie Joseph, Steve Ralston - Jose Cancela - Taylor Twellman, Kyle Brown (Danny Wynn 89). [Substitutes Not Used: Jani Galik, Pat Haggerty, Willie Sims, T.J. Tomasso, Adam Williamson]
Here's Nowak's team (3-4-1-2): Troy Perkins - Facundo Erpen, Bobby Boswell, Bryan Namoff - Freddy Adu, Brian Carroll, Clyde Simms, Joshua Gros - Christian Gomez - Jaime Moreno, Lucio Filomeno (Jamil Walker 78). [Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Carroll, Devon McTavish, Domenic Mediate, Matt Nickell, Nick Rimando, John Wilson]
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution won for the second time in three games after going six league games without a victory, making an early goal stand up in a 1-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution remain in third place in the Eastern Conference with 34 points from 26 matches, four behind the Chicago Fire but still just one ahead of fourth-place Kansas City and now four ahead of fifth-place New York.
LAST MATCHPat Noonan wasn't on the field long in his return to the Revolution lineup, but he made it count. The defending Eastern Conference champion had won just once over the past two months, while the visiting Red Bulls also had just one victory in their last six games.
Noonan had played just six league games since mid-May, missing the last two with another injury, and hadn't scored a goal on the campaign after hitting for 29 in his first three MLS seasons. But in the eighth minute, Steve Ralston put a slide-rule through ball between a pair of Red Bulls defenders, and Noonan ran onto it before curling a shot with the outside of his boot past Jon Conway inside his right post.
The goal continued a torrid run of form for Noonan against the New York club. In 14 career regular season games, Noonan has scored 11 times. Add in playoff meetings and the tally grows to 14 goals in 18 appearances. But after coming back into the team after being sidelined with a hamstring injury, his return lasted only 18 minutes as he was withdrawn with an injury to his right hip flexor.
The Red Bulls then saw their hopes go down in flames nine minutes from the end when Amado Guevara was sent off with two cautions in very short order, first for dissent after a foul in midfield, then when appeared to grab referee Brian Hall as he continued to dispute the call.
Revolution boss Steve Nicol made three changes to the team that lost 3-0 to the Columbus Crew the weekend before in Ohio. Avery John came in for James Riley in the back three, while Sharlie Joseph returned from suspension, coming in for Jeff Larentowicz. Pat Noonan also made his return to the lineup, coming into attack as Clint Dempsey moved back into the midfield, José Cancela returning to the substitutes' bench.
Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Avery John - Steve Ralston, Andy Dorman, Shalrie Joseph, Joe Franchino (Khano Smith 65) - Clint Dempsey - Pat Noonan (Jeff Larentowicz 19), Taylor Twellman. [Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Brown, Jose Cancela, Tony Lochhead, James Riley, Doug Warren]
"I didn't think we were passing very well the first half. After last week last week, we tried to stay positive and there were some good points (to tonight's game)," Nicol said. "The first half, though, we really didn't get the ball all that we wanted to."
TEAM NEWSFor Pat Noonan, it was his first goal of the season, and his first in a league game since last June 25, when he scored his eighth goal of the season in a 4-2 win against the MetroStars. He figured in just eight league games the rest of the way, without scoring, then went his first 13 league games this year without a goal. He did score in the return leg of last year's Eastern Conference Semifinals against the MetroStars, a 3-1 win that advanced the Revolution.
"Satisfying, no question, not really worried about it. I was just kind of worried about getting out there and getting a full game in but obviously it didn't happen which was kind of disappointing. It was nice to help out a little bit."
Noonan has already been ruled out of the United match. "Frustrating. I wanted to help the team and stay consistent but I haven't been able to do that. But I hope to find a way down the stretch to stay healthy and stay on the field. ... I'm not really worried about it. I was just kind of worried about getting out there and getting a full game in but obviously it didn't happen, which was kind of disappointing."
It was just the second win for the Revolution since July 14. "We've been really conscious of it lately, talking about it quite a bit, and we know that there's not that much room for error in the season and we really haven't played up to our potential," said goalkeeper Matt Reis. "Tonight was great in that we created a lot of chances. Unfortunately, we didn't finish but Jon Conway made quite a few good saves."
The Revolution has scored just six goals over their last nine games, and haven't hit for multiple goals in a game since a 2-1 win against Chicago on July 8. "We need to do a better job with our chances. We kept them hanging around too long tonight. When you do that, it just takes one slip and then, all of a sudden, the game's tied when it shouldn't be," Nicol said. "A few times (we) went one-on-one with their goalkeeper, and we need to do a better job with that. But we got one (goal), and we can't complain with one."
Said Reis: "We really kind of make it hard on ourselves by only scoring one goal. But tonight, as a team, we really defended well in front of me and I think we did a really good job of talking to each other and organizing, especially in the midfield. We had a lot of guys coming and going and I thought we did a great job tonight."
The Revolution have four of their final six games in Foxborough, where they have posted six of their eight victories on the season. They play just one Western Conference team the remainder of the way (Sept. 30 v Colorado at home); they have played Eastern Conference opponents in five consecutive games (2-2-1).
"It's in our own hands now to have those remaining games at home and chasing Chicago for the second spot," said Noonan. "There's no reason we can't get results at home with the lineup we've got out there."
D.C. United returned home but weren't able to build on their victory of the weekend before, the first in league play since July 15, seeing Real Salt Lake peg them back for a 1-1 draw on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United still lead the Eastern Conference with 51 points from 26 matches, now 13 ahead of second-place Chicago Fire, and still lead FC Dallas by five points in the chase for the MLS Supporters' Shield.
LAST MATCHD.C. United returned home having put an end to their five-game winless run in league play, while Real Salt Lake had lost two of three after a club-record four-game winning streak.
With three players making their first MLS starts, the home side took the lead just before the halftime break through an exquisite freekick from Freddy Adu. After he was hooked down some 30 yards from goal, he whistled a left-footed shot over the wall and inside Scott Garlick's left-hand post.
But 20 minutes after the restart Real pulled level. Jeff Cunningham was sent in alone on goal, but forced to turn back by United 'keeper Nick Rimando. But he maintained possession and laid the ball back for Chris Klein, whose neat finish curled in off the far post to ensure RSL would not lose to the league's overall leader in league play this year.
United head coach Peter Nowak made five changes to the team that defeated Chivas USA 2-1 at The Home Depot Center the previous Sunday. Matias Donnet, Stephen deRoux and Rod Dyachenko all made their first career MLS starts, Nick Rimando made his first league start of the season and Brandon Prideaux made his first start since May 6 for suspension-hit United. Josh Gros, Christian Gomez, Bobby Boswell and Alecko Eskandarian were all suspended (the last three for yellow card accumulation; Gros after a red card), while goalkeeper Troy Perkins was not included in the 18-man gameday squad.
Here's Nowak's team (3-4-1-2): Nick Rimando - Facundo Erpen, Brandon Prideaux, Bryan Namoff - Matias Donnet (Jamil Walker 68), Brian Carroll, Ben Olsen (Matt Nickell 82), Stephen deRoux - Rod Dyachenko (Clyde Simms 75) - Freddy Adu, Jaime Moreno. [Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Carroll, Ryan McIntosh, Andy Metcalf, David Stokes]
"They played a good game. We need to be a little bit smarter. We're leading 1-0 and I told them, we still have inexperienced guys playing in the game. Stephen [deRoux] wanted to go forward and Rod [Dyachenko] is pushing, but we need to keep the ball a little bit longer," Nowak said. "We played very good in the first half, the ball was moving very well, and the last half didn't go as we wanted. We missed a couple of good chances in the first half. We had enough chances to win the game, but we made a couple of mistakes and the goal wasn't necessary, but the performance was pretty good."
TEAM NEWSUnited's reserves made significant contributions, as deRoux produced a lively display on the left wing while Rod Dyachenko labored industriously to fill Christian Gomez's attacking midfielder role. Both players were making their first-ever MLS starts.
"They played very well. For Matias [Donnet], it was his first game here, and Stephen and Rod Dyachenko and Brandon Prideaux coming back from injury - we can be pretty happy with all these performances," said Nowak. "Even though we had some guys out, the guys that stepped in did very well," said Clyde Simms. "It was exciting to see them play. But definitely frustrating - I think we controlled most of the game and had better chances. Some of [Real's] chances were definitely against the run of play. But that's how soccer is."
United also tried out a new look on their back line as Brandon Prideaux took Bobby Boswell's center back spot, while Facundo Erpen and Bryan Namoff reversed roles to make life easier for their respective wingers. The reorganized defense played well, allowing just three shots on goal, while goalkeeper Nick Rimando performed capably in his first league start of 2006.
"The reason for the switch with Facundo and I was communication with our new player Donnet, with [his] Argentinian background," said Namoff. "And I was able to provide better communication to Stephen deRoux coming on for his first start."
While United has won just once in league play since July 15, they've also lost only twice, the first of those coming to Real when they conceded two penalties after the 90th minute.
"Our overall play and performance was good. I think we got back to dominating and playing the way we want to play. Other than that, we got a tie today in a game that I think we should have won. But these teams are fighting hard. They're fighting for playoff spots and I think that it's going to be tough. We're going to have to do all the little things right," Ben Olsen said. "The little bounces that are not going our way, we're getting punished for them. Sometimes you luck out when you don't do the right thing, and these teams are fighting for a playoff spot and fighting for their lives here, and when they do get their chance, they're punishing us."
United does have their sights set on ensuring they come home with one piece of hardware - the MLS Supporters' Shield, awarded to the regular season champion, which also ensures a place in next year's CONCACAF Champions' Cup.
"We want to win it. That's a pressure that we want to have. We're in a good position right now to just keep going and we'll see what the other teams do, but we don't care about that - they're going to win or lose or tie - we've just got to play our game," Nowak said. "And with the experience in this team, after a performance like that - they lost two points - but, we're going to get back those points."