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Oct 252013

mls 300x281 MLS Week 33 Preview


After 32 weeks of close games, major transfers, and the drama of all things Chivas USA there is still much to decide in the last week of the Major League Soccer season.  Although there is not one clear top team in MLS, there are plenty of quality MLS squads throughout the league which makes for a compelling two days of soccer this weekend.

So if you are at a match this weekend or watching one at home, here are a couple of storylines to follow:

#1 The Supporter’s Shield









Real Salt Lake







New York Red Bulls







Sporting Kansas City







Portland Timbers







Four teams are still in the running for the Supporters Shield, a trophy awarded at the end of each MLS Season to the team with the most points. The Supporters Shield is more than just a trophy, as it awards the team the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Should the Supporters Shield make the MLS Cup then they would also host the match. In MLS History, the team that won the Supporters Shield has gone on to win the MLS Cup 6 times (D.C. United- 1997 and 1999, the Kansas City Wizards- 2000, the Los Angeles Galaxy-2002 and 2011, and the Columbus Crew- 2008).

Real Salt Lake took the top spot Wednesday night after defeating Chivas USA 2-1. However, that was the last game of their season so they will have to play the waiting game.  The Red Bulls will face the Chicago Fire (Sunday 5pm UNi Mas) with the Fire still in contention for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Red Bulls Forward Tim Cahill has been on a tear recently, scoring three goals in his past three matches and leading the Red Bulls to an undefeated record in the past 7 matches (5-0-2).

Meanwhile, Sporting Kansas City will travel to PPL Park and face the Philadelphia Union (Saturday 3pm NBC Sports Network).  SKC  comes into the match in good form having drawn points in 6 of their last matches (5-1-1).Their last loss actually was against the Philadelphia Union 1-0 in September. Union Forward Conor Casey notched in the decisive goal in the 38th minute. They did win their opening game against the Union at PPL Park 3-1, but the young Union team has grown since then and could still make it into the playoffs. Will get back to that later.

Despite being behind the other teams by two points, Portland looks like they have the best chance to take the Supporters Shield. With the other two teams playing opponents who are still in the Eastern Conference playoff mix, neither New York nor Sporting Kansas City will have themselves an easy match. Portland, on the other hand, will be playing Chivas USA (Saturday 10:30 MLS Live) who will be without their starting goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and his magic ability to make sure Chivas never gets blown out.

Portland has also shown in the past few weeks that they are able to put teams away and earn points in “must-win”circumstances. In previous seasons, Portland has been known as the team with the awesome fanbase and cool mascot, but would break down at the end of the season. They could not win the difficult game, which is why they were unable to make the playoffs last season.  Coach Caleb Porter, Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, and Midfielder Will Johnson have changed the identity of this team and made them a very difficult squad to plan against. Their poise and confidence was evident in the pair of 1-0 victories that they earned against the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders earlier in the month.

The 15 draws may be the deciding factor on whether or not the Timbers win the Supporters Shield. But they should get 3 easy points against Chivas, and if nothing else, gain the top spot in the Western Conference.

#2 Eastern Conference Chaos









Montreal Impact







Chicago Fire







New England Revolution







Houston Dynamo







Philadelphia Union








Although the bottleneck for the last few playoff spots in the Eastern Conference was lessened last week when the New England Revolution eliminated the Columbus 3-2, there are still 5 teams playing for three spots. In addition to the previously mentioned Chicago Fire and Philadelphia Union, the Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, and New England all still have a possibility of making the playoffs this weekend should results work in their favor.

The popular consensus seems to be that the Montreal Impact will defeat Toronto F.C. (Saturday 4pm Univision Deportes, MLS Live,) that the Houston Dynamo will defeat D.C. United (Sunday 1:30pm NBC Sports Network,) and that either the Chicago Fire or the New England Revolution will do enough to make it through.

Two things to keep in mind that is being lost in this narrative. One, Montreal has been terrible since July going 6-8-5. Toronto has already secured a draw in Montreal earlier this season and is coming off of two 1-0 losses against Philadelphia and Chicago where they showed they are still trying to win. Second, Houston needs one of the three teams above them to lose because they are so far behind in goals scored, which is the tie breaker should teams be level on points. For example, if both the New England Revolution and Dynamo win, then the Dynamo would need to make up a nine goal difference against D.C. United. D.C. United is terrible, but they are not bad (D.C. better not lost 9-0 because I am taking my nephew to his first game this weekend.) Houston has had great difficulty scoring this year when they need a goal, so they are really going to need Forward Will Bruin to step up and give them that push.

It should also be mentioned that the Crew may be very angry after the 3-2 result that was leveled against them last week by the Revolution. Referee Mark Geiger gave a rather interesting yellow card against the Crew which led to Revolution defender A.J. Soares goal in the 39th minute. I would suspect that the Crew would like to return the favor to New England from last week and knock them out of the playoff contention (4pm MLS Live.)

I think the Fire- Red Bulls match is a lot closer than many people seem to believe. Bear in mind that the Red Bulls have never won a major title in their entire history, and have quite a dubious track record in big games. The Fire have really hit their stride since they lost 3-0 Columbus in September and are a much different team than when they lost to the Red Bulls earlier in the season. They are currently on a 3 game unbeaten where they have outscored their opponents 9-0.  Perhaps New York can turn around their previous misfortunes, secure a playoff spot, and doom the Fire. But that seems like a tall task for a team that has only recently shown that they can consistently pull out quality performances.

#3 The Race for the Golden Boot is On







Mike Magee CHI




Marco di Vaio MON




Camilo Sanvezzo VAN





In addition to having so many teams still alive for the Supporters Shield and for playoff spots, there is a real battle being waged for the top goal scorer in MLS. The three-horse race between Montreal Forward Marco di Vaio, Chicago Fire Forward Mike Magee, and Vancouver Whitecaps Forward Camilo Sanvezzo has produced some truly amazing goals this season. Although I am not the biggest fan of saying the top goal scorer should always be the Most Valuable Player (Ricketts and Clint Irwin would have a few words about that,) it is true that all three of these players have kept their teams in contention because they were able to make miracles for their team.

I think Magee is going to end up taking the award. It is important to note that if there is a tie then the tiebreaker will be given to the player who has the most assists. Di Vaio almost never passes the ball and I can see Toronto F.C. pushing their defense up to draw him offsides which will limit his scoring opportunities. The Impact have also had difficulties scoring recently, going without a goal in 3 of their past four matches.

So for me it comes down to Magee and Camilo. Both players have come up huge for their team this year, but with Magee playing against a Red Bulls team that have committed the fifth highest number of fouls in MLS (425) he should have more opportunities off of free kicks and penalties. Colorado has also only given up 15 goals on the road this season and will still be looking to climb up in the Western Conference playoff standings.


Aug 072013

untitled Know Your MLS Teams: The New England Revolution


My eyes have seen the glory of another revs goal scored

We’re marching to New York and we’re sharpening our swords

Undivided beat United, threw the Mutiny overboard

And the Revs go marching on…

(It is a cover of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, a beautiful song if you have never heard it.)

Founded: 1995

Pedigree: 4-Time Runners up to the MLS Cup (2002. 2005, 2006, and 2007,) 2005 Winners of the Supporters Shield, 2007 U.S. Open Cup Champion, and 2-time Eastern Conference Champion (2002 and 2006.)

Current Record This Season: 6-7-6 (Sixth Place in the Eastern Conference)

Supporters: The Midnight Riders, The Rebellion, and the Rev Army.

Rivalries: Chicago Fire, D.C. United, and the New York Red Bulls.

Coach: Jay Heaps (Second Season)

Top Returning Players: GK Matt Reis, GK Bobby Shuttlesworth, DEF A.J. Soares, DEF Stephen McCarthy, MID Kelyn Rowe, MID Lee Nguyen, MID Diego Fagundez, MID Saer Sene, and FWD Jerry Bengston.

Key Additions: DEF Jose Goncalves (F.C. Sion-Switzerland,) DEF Andrew Farrell (1st Overall Pick in the 2013 MLS Superdraft,) MID Kalifa Cisse (Bristol City Rovers- England,) and FWD Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA.)

Key Departures: MID Sainey Nyassi (D.C. United)

Young Player to Look Out For: Farrell, Fagundez, and Rowe (there are many others.)


Rebuilding is never easy. Whether it is a soccer team or in life, starting from scratch requires news ideas, breaking down old thoughts, and looking for new opportunities. It is never easy and sometimes it requires years of work. For the New England Revolution, the rebuilding effort looks to be over after one season. One of the top clubs in Major League Soccer in the 2000’s, the Revolution bottomed out the past two seasons going 5-6-13 in 2011 and 9-17-8 in 2012. They also traded off every major asset for young, unproven players. It has paid off. Even though the Revolution may not make the playoffs this season, they are certainly on the rise and have enough talent to win trophies for years to come.

For me, the biggest key to the Revolution success has been Coach Jay Heaps. Heaps, a 14 year veteran of MLS, came into coaching with very little experience, but high potential to be a positive influence on the team. As a player, he was never a flashy all-star, but was a player who would give you 90 minutes every game. A relentless player with an impeccable work ethic (I would assume playing college basketball for Mike Krzyzewksi at Duke University helped with this,) he has brought many of the traits that he had as a player to this team. Even last season when the club’s inexperience showed, they never quit and would make more experienced clubs work for their 3 points. When you have a young club (the average age of the player is 24.3 years old) you need a coach that is willing to teach, and has the patience to handle the development aspect of the players and the squad, as a whole.

With a two years of growing pains behind them, the club has flourished this season winning 7 of their last 8 matches, including being the first team to beat Houston at BBVA Compass stadium in over 3 years. In addition, their 6 game winning streak earlier this season was the longest for the team since 2005.  What was so impressive about this match was that it was the first match where everything clicked for this team. Sure, they had a pretty nice run earlier in the season, but most of their positive results were against the likes of Chivas USA, Toronto F.C., and D.C. United. Minnows. In the Houston match, New England was pressing one of the league’s best defenses, controlling possession for most of the match, and taking the lead after a beautiful goal by Diego Fagundez. Even in the last few minutes, when Houston was throwing everything but the kitchen sink at New England. But the Revolution maintained a stout defense and Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttlesworth made some brilliant saves.

From that Houston match, a team’s identity was built. In the back, Shuttlesworth proved that he is a starting goalkeeper in this league. Before this season, Shuttlesworth was mostly a backup goalkeeper for the Colorado Rapids. But with the injury to Matt Reis, Shuttlesworth has shown that he can be a serviceable starting goalkeeper in this league. His Goals Against Average of 1 is one of the lowest in the league.  Since that match, the club has pulled off some impressive victories, including beating the Los Angeles Galaxy 5-0, and drawing the New York Red Bulls at home.

With a goalkeeper that is still learning the ropes, it is integral that the team has a defense can pick up some of the slack. The Revolution has a nice mix of young high upside players and solid veterans that makes for a pretty difficult defense to break down. Their defense has only allowed 20 goals this season, which is the lowest among any teams.  Perhaps their best run of form was from April 27th to June 8th, where they had a record of 4-3-1 and only allowed two goals. They have sputtered a bit recently though, losing three of their past five matches. In the match on July the 20th against Colorado, they looked very disorganized on corner kicks and set plays. So this is still a work in progress, but the progress on the Revolution defense is evident.

The defense is anchored by Jose Goncalves, the Portugese centreback who is unquestionably the leader of this team. Part of the reason why he is such a quality back is that he controls space so well and is able to put out the small fires that can sometimes happen with an inexperienced team. Even in a match like the one on Sunday against Toronto F.C., where the club lost 1-0, you could see his ability to hold the line down and reduce mistakes that kept them in the match.  Stephen McCarthy has also shown himself to be someone who can be relied on for some critical minutes, but I would like to see more of A.J. Soares. The #6 pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, he really came on last season and proved to be a sound defender in what was a really trying season. He has suffered from some hamstring issues earlier in the season, which have hopefully passed.

Part of their success in the back is due to drafting Andrew Farrell. The number one pick in last year’s MLS Superdraft, Farrell is big, strong defender who has a bit of a flair for the attack. When he was a kid, he actually played in youth leagues in Peru which shows because he is very comfortable going forward. He is a very difficult defender to break down. In the D.C. United match, he was able to hold his own against the like DeWayne DeRosario and Chris Pontius and held strong against continuous pressure in the late stages of the game. Hopefully in the future he will have a place with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

New England likes to play a 4-1-4-1 which allows their defense to play back and gives the team some flexibility in the midfield. The Revolution have at least 6 players in the midfield who could play on any team in the league. Steven Caldwell works very well as a defensive midfield because he does have the ability to push the ball forward, but is great one on one defending. He is also the second player from the New England Revolution Academy to make the starting roster of the Revolution. Saer Sene, the Paris Saint Germain academy product, is finally back into match fitness after missing part of last season and this season with a torn ACL. Sene is so good on the right side of the field because he makes very long strides down the pitch which opens the field up for either a shot or a pass inside. He started off very slowly, but has scored 2 goals in his last 4 games.  They also have Juan Toja, who is proving to be an excellent distributor from the midfield.

I also really like Kellen Rowe as a supersub off of the bench. Rowe, who was selected third in last year’s MLS Superdraft, has built a solid year after a strong 2012 season. The reason why Rowe works so well off of the bench is the energy and speed that he can bring in around the 65th or 70th minute of a match. You could see it in last week’s loss against Toronto F.C.  Although the Revolution was not able to score, Rowe was able to set up some very good plays that led to some highly quality shots. He is not just a good passer, the cuts that he makes against an opposition’s defense can be quite lethal. He put on a dribbling clinic in the D.C. United match on June the 9th. Rowe is not just a good possession midfielder, he can also unleash one hell of a shot, like he did against the Los Angeles Galaxy earlier this season. Although he has started 14 of 21 games, they are going to need players who can come off of the bench and provide that lift against stronger teams in the East Rowe is perfect for this position.

But the one player who makes this entire midfield and this team work is Diego Fagundez. The first home grown player to ever be signed by the New England Revolution, Fagundez at the age of 18 already has all of the skills necessary to become a dominant player in this league and in Europe. So many midfielders assume that the only skills that you need are to make good passes and to be able to make a decent shot from time to time. But the best midfielders are always able to keep plays alive, and are always watching what the other team is doing. This game is chess, not checkers. Fagundez understands this. In the match against the Galaxy, Fagundez was constantly on his opponent forcing whomever he was marking to make irrational passes.

In addition to his fielding, he is also one of the best scorers in Major League Soccer. When you watch him on attack, he is just teeming with confidence and has such strong awareness of the entire pitch that he can make a shot like the one he did against the Houston Dynamo. As the leading goal scorer for the Revolution  he will be a key cog for this team’s playoff run. The key will be how is he able to respond with an increased workload and the pressure of playing in the playoffs. No one in Major League Soccer at the age of 18 has as much pressure as Fagundez does because no 18 year old has been in this position (And Freddy Adu does not count because he was not 18.) So it will be interesting to see how he responds to this pressure because he certainly has all of the tools to be one of the best.

Where the Revolution may have some troubles is up front. I really like Jerry Bengston because he is a big, strong forward who has shown himself to be a very capable scorer on the Honduras National Team (16 goals in 33 appearances.) But with the Revolution, he has not had as much success only scoring 3 goals in 26 matches. I have also not been impressed with Dmitriy Imbungo, who has shown some promise but seems to go down way too easy in the box and does not always finish the play. In the match last week against Toronto F.C., it seemed like he was a bit lost as the sole forward up front. It is a tremendous responsibility being the sole forward and perhaps he is just not ready for it yet.

That leaves Juan Agudelo as the Revolution’s best option in the forward position. Agudelo for years has been seen as one of the top young forwards in U.S. Soccer. At the age of 20, he has already played 3 full seasons in MLS and has 17 caps for the United States Men’s National Team. But Agudelo has never truly found a place where he can settle in and grow. With the New York Red Bulls, he was never able to get enough minutes behind the likes of Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez. He was receiving some playing time with Chivas USA but because Chivas is such chaotic environment it was not really a good place for him to grow. I really liked the trade to the Revolution because he would finally play on a team that would give him the time and training necessary to shine. And he has done quite well this season, linking up for 3 goals earlier this season.

But he has not been able to play in the last month because of a right knee sprain, and with an impending January move to English Premier League side Stoke City on the horizon, one has to wonder if he ever truly will come back. I have to say I am honestly not too sure why he is choosing  to leave at this juncture of his career. While it is true that soccer is a young man’s game, he has not really had a chance to prove himself yet. And at Stoke City, he will probably be lining the bench with the other American players like Brek Shea and Maurice Edu. It is a very puzzling move for the player, and for the Revolution it could leave a huge gap in their offense. Now with a big contract to England lined up, will he show the same passion that he had earlier in the season?

Coming off of ghastly 2011 and 2012 campaigns, the New England Revolution have turned their fortunes around this season. Behind Jay Heaps, they have shown themselves to be a solid defensive team, that can also make creative chances on the offensive side of the pitch. They do have some questions in the forward position, but with a host of attacking midfielders that part is almost negligible. They have a lot of heart and character and may be able to slip into the fifth spot for the playoffs. But their inexperience may catch up to them later in the season. There is nothing wrong with a rebuilding season if the club is doing it the right way. By developing a solid core of young players both from their academy (Caldwell,) the draft (Farrell and Rowe) and abroad (Sene,) the Revolution are doing just that.

Beer of Choice:

Harpoon India Pale Ale, Harpoon Brewery

Although as a lark I thought about saying Pawtucket Patriot, in honor of the always funny show Family Guy, I found myself opposed to the re-use of their beer. Also, it is made in Rhode Island which is blasphemous to all Bostonians.

I had my first Harpoon about five years ago when my friends Rob and Djerdj went with me to see my brother on my 22nd birthday. We were at a bar called the Black Rose in downtown Boston at about noon on the 4th of July. Being young and not knowing much about beer, I asked the clearly Irish bartender for the beer that had a man and a harpoon as a logo. Back then, I based all my beer choices off of the logo. Some hits, lots of misses.  It turned out to be a good time as we all had a few too many Harpoons and laughed at tourists who could not understand the Irish bartender (Tourist: “Can I get a Smithwicks?” Bartender: “No, that is not how you say it. Say it properly. Smitticks.” Tourist: “Smithwicks?)

Not much else is known about that evening, but I do remember how even though Harpoon is a very hoppy beer, it goes down quite smoothly. And with the Brewery in South Boston, you can have a few cold ones in downtown then hit the T to watch a Revolution match.

Mar 082013

Chris Rolfe Fire Open Home Schedule vs New England Revolution

The Chicago Fire (0-1-0; 0 points) return to the Windy City this week as they welcome the New England Revolution (0-0-0; 0 points) for Opening Night at Toyota Park this Saturday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. CT.

The Men in Red opened the 2013 season with a 4-0 loss to two-time defending MLS Cup Champion Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center Sunday afternoon. A hat trick from Galaxy forward and Chicago, Ill. native Mike Magee and a goal from Galaxy captain Robbie Keane proved the difference as the Fire dropped the first match of the 2013 MLS season.

The March 9 match marks the earliest regular season home opener in the club’s 16 seasons, nearly two weeks earlier than last year’s 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on March 24. The Fire are 9-3-3 all-time in their first match of the year in Chicago.

The Revolution, who enter the match after a bye this past weekend, went 2-3-1 in their preseason matches.

CHICAGO FIRE vs. New England Revolution Fact-sheet:

  • The Fire hold a 19-15-9 regular season record against the New England Revolution, including a dominating 11-4-6 record in matches played at home.
  • The Fire are 9-3-3 on Opening Day at home dating back to 1998. For only the third time in club history, the Fire will host a MLS home opener in the month of March.
  • The Fire are undefeated in home openers against the Revolution with a 2-0-3 record.
  • The Men in Red went 1-2-0 against the Revolution in the 2012 series. The Fire fell 2-0 at Gillette Stadium June 2 and 1-0 on Oct. 20. In the home leg of the series, Chris Rolfe converted an early penalty kick in the 5th minute and Sherjill MacDonald found his first goal in a Fire shirt in the 25th minute to lead the Fire to a 2-1 win Aug. 18.
  • Fire defender Steven Kinney appeared in his first MLS match Sunday since rupturing his Achilles at The Home Depot Center Oct. 23, 2010, the final match of his rookie season.
  • Arne Friedrich (hamstring) and Logan Pause (quad) were kept out of the match Sunday due to injury.
  • Jeff Larentowicz, Joel Lindpere, Dilly Duka, Maicon Santos and Yazid Atouba all made their debuts for the Men in Red against the Galaxy.
  • Larentowicz donned the armband in the stead of captain Logan Pause.
  • Selected by the Revolution in the fourth round (45th overall) in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft, Larentowicz made 111 regular season appearances for the Revolution from 2005-2009. The Revolution reached MLS Cup in his first three seasons with the side.
  • Wells Thompson was drafted by the New England Revolution in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, and went on to make 71 regular season appearances in three seasons for the Revolution. In his rookie season, Thompson made 27 appearances and started 11 matches, then started all four post-season games for the Revs, including the 2007 MLS Cup final. Thompson made his MLS debut against the Fire on April 7, 2007. He also notched his first professional goal against the Men in Red on May 6, 2007.
  • Larentowicz and Thompson joined the Colorado Rapids in 2010 in a trade that sent recently-retired Fire defender Cory Gibbs to the New England Revolution.
  • Milford, Mass. product Michael Videira was selected in the second round (18th overall) in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft but elected to sign with Hamilton Academical of the Scottish Premier League. Videira returned to sign with the Revolution in 2009, making 12 appearances and notched a total of 973 minutes from 2009-10.

Monday Musing

 Posted by on July 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm  MLS, Sporting KC
Jul 232012


Is the word to describe the 0-0 draw at Livestrong Sporting Park against the New England Revolution, a team that was destroyed by Sporting Kansas City in March.
What happened?
They were unable to take apart a bad Revolution team who has not been a good team all season long.
It is now the Toronto FC game in mid June that there was a goal at home in MLS play.  Two 0-0 draws in a row is not cutting it.
So far this season more goals have been scored on the road than at home.
Unacceptable when you are selling out your stadium and can take the Kansas City sports spotlight when the Royals suck(nothing new there) and the Chiefs have yet to start preseason training camp.

Montpellier Est Ici

While MLS talks about always having these friendlies against top European sides Sporting KC has been playing 2 games a week for a month so far and have a couple weeks more of this.
With the US Open Cup Final around the corner having these friendlies occur now are more of a distraction.
Yes, Montpellier HSC is the higher profile of the two teams as they are reigning French Ligue 1 champions and are to participate in the Champions League group stage but its the timing of the two friendlies is just inconvenient.
Who should be playing?
With a MLS home game on Saturday v a weak Columbus Crew have the typical substitutes bench in the starting line up and use all the members of the reserves so that they can get proper playing time and give the usual starting 11 a breather
Sorry Stoke, Champions League v Europa League….
The French team has landed and has participated in training at Swope Park Training facility and with that said they will be interesting to watch after losing their best player Giroux to Arsenal.

Sporting v Revolution Round 2

 Posted by on July 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm  MLS, Sporting KC
Jul 212012

It seems a little while ago on St Patrick’s Day Sporting Kansas City was putting an inept New England Revolution side to the sword at Livestrong Sporting Park.
That was March, this is July.
Sporting still leads the East and the Revs are still looking for some consistency that would put them back in the playoff hunt.
Coming off a road swing that was very successful, with exception to the final game, Sporting KC will be looking to make a big splash with their return.
While Roger Espinoza has already left for London to play on the Honduran national team and Peterson Joseph out via red card the midfield will be the big talking point. Who is to step up?
Im feeling that Paulo Nagamura will be filling the gap and hopes are, from me, that he stays off the injured list cause the All-Star game will be taking a few players away very quickly.
The weather will also be playing a factor.  Its going to be in the triple digits come game time which will be rough on the players.  In Houston it was only 84 but this heat wave that has been going on in KC will be a test for the players, and the Revs as well.
Prediction: Thinking that this will be a draining game on the players in terms of energy, 1-0 to Sporting thanks to early goal

Mar 252012
It took all of 28 seconds for the New England Revolution to send the Portland Timbers to their first defeat of the MLS season. The Revolution opened the match with four beautiful touches capped by a Saer Sène header to win their sixth consecutive home opener.
The Timbers had their chances to get back into the match, but despite outshooting and leading in time of possession, they couldn’t make a comeback for the third match in a row.
TimbersShots Slow start finally haunts the Timbers in 1 0 loss to New England

This graphic sums it up for the Timbers: Shot attempts with the green being ones on target. Only 3 on target. Boyd (#9) had 4 headers off target. The Timbers need to do better with their chances and had sufficient opportunities to get 3 points against the Revolution.


The Timbers were forced to go to a substitution early after Hayner Mosquera took a shot to his nose and face on a 50/50 challenge with Blake Brettschneider. Mosquera went to a local hospital for suspected nose and possible facial injuries. Rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste came on in the 24th minute and performed admirably on the backline.
One positive takeaway for the Timbers was also the debut of Franck Songo’o. Songo’o came on in the 60th minute and provided a much-needed spark to the Timbers attack. A healthy and matchfit Songo’o will be huge for the Timbers if they expect to push for the playoffs in the extremely competitive Western Conference.
The Timbers look to bounce back, as they end this short road trip by returning to the comforts of Jeld-Wen, next Saturday against Real Salt Lake.

Timbers coach John Spencer:
“I’m just very disappointed. I think this is one of those performances that keep the media talking about why we can’t play away from home. This is one of those performances, a very poor performance. And in saying that, we still probably created four good looks at goal today. Matt Reis pulls off a great save from Franck Songo’o, other than that we had two or three clear cut chances. I think that we’re a better team than we showed.”
Man of the Match:
No one.

Game stats:

Scoring Summary
NE: Sene (Tierney), 1
Misconduct Summary
POR: Jewsbury (Caution), 16
NE: Tierney (Caution), 18
POR: Palmer (Caution), 35
POR: Songo’o (Caution), 65
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Perkins, D Wallace (Perlaza, 76), D Brunner, D Mosquera (Jean-Baptiste, 24), D Palmer, M Alexander (Songo’o, 60), M Jewsbury ©, M Chara, M Alhassan, F Boyd, F Nagbe
Substitutes Not Used: GK Bendik, D Chabala, M Braun, F Dike
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Boyd, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Songo’o, 2); FOULS: 17 (Chara, 4); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 4
NE: GK Reis, D Tierney, D Joseph ©, D Soares, D Alston (Purdie, 70), M Guy, M Simms, M Nguyen, M Rowe, F Sene (Cardenas, 70), F Brettschneider
Substitutes Not Used: GK Shuttleworth, D Polak, M Mansally, M White, F Fagundez
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Tierney, Nguyen, Sene, 2) ; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Tierney, Nguyen, Guy, Rowe, Sene, 1); FOULS: 10 (Brettschneider, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 3

Match Highlights:

Mar 242012

The Portland Timbers (1-0-1, 4 points) look to continue their strong start to the 2012 season in today’s afternoon match against the New England Revolution (0-2-0, 0 points) at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.

It will be the home debut for the Revolution as they hope to bounce back from two very disappointing road result. Game time is 1 p.m. (PST)
* The effect of travel on MLS matches. I don’t have any doubts that the Timbers are a better team, but there’s no hiding the fact that MLS Western conference teams traveling 3 time zones to play makes a big difference. As Peter Hirdt from the Elias Sports Bureau pointed out today on Twitter: “Here we go again: #MLS teams playing 3 time zones from their home city are 0-5-0 this season (outscored 12-3). Last season: 13-31-28.”
* Hayner Mosquera. The center back made a strong debut last weekend against FC Dallas and there were many out there (including Timbers owner Merritt Paulson) who felt Mosquera was Man of the Match. While the addition of Kris Boyd is getting all sorts of well-deserved attention, if Mosquera can help solidify an improving Portland defense, his addition will prove to be huge.
* Spencer’s dilemma. Coach John Spencer has a problem every coach would like to have. Do you start Darlington Nagbe or Jorge Perlaza at forward alongside Kris Boyd? Nagbe sparked the team off the bench last week against FC Dallas and the Timbers looked noticeably better and more attack-minded. Nagbe is one of the up and coming talents in MLS and fans are definitely clamoring for him to get more playing time.
My best guess at a starting lineup and bench:

TimbersLineup Timbers look for their first road win against the Revolution
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION — OUT: DF Darrius Barnes (L calf strain); FW Zak Boggs (R ankle sprain); DF John Lozano (R hip flexor strain); MF Sainey Nyassi (R hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Benny Feilhaber (L peroneal strain); PROBABLE: MF Shalrie Joseph (R calf tightness); GK Matt Reis (L adductor soreness)

PORTLAND TIMBERS — OUT: DF Futty Danso (L foot fracture); DF David Horst (R hip surgery); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion);DOUBTFUL: MF Sal Zizzo (L ACL surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF Franck Songo’o (R knee sprain); DF Steve Purdy (L hamstring strain); James Marcelin (L hamstring strain) PROBABLE: DF Lovel Palmer (illness) FW Jorge Perlaza (L Achilles tendinitis)

SUSPENDED: NE: Stephen McCarthy (through March 25)

The New England Revolution are hurting defensively. With Darius Barnes and John Lozano out with injuries already, their back line depth took another hit with Steven McCarthy out today with a red card suspension. Despite this, I think the Timbers still have to bring their top game and not overlook the Revolution. They will have opportunities to score and this could be the kind of game Kris Boyd fans really salivate over. Travel and road play aside, I think the Timbers win this match 2-1.
Mar 032012

Despite losing two of their three matches in round-robin play, the LA Galaxy have a shot at their first “silverware” of the 2012 season against the New England Revolution in the final of Tuscon’s Desert Diamond Cup.

LA’s berth in the preseason tournament’s final is thanks to a late strike from newcomer Marcelo Sarvas in a loss to the New York Redbulls Wednesday night. Down 2-0, the well-placed free kick sent LA through with a superior goal differential, setting up a rematch with the Revolution, who defeated the Galaxy 3-2 in the tournament’s opener.
The final of the DD Cup will bring LA’s preseason to a close, as the team travels north of the border to take on Toronto FC in first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League match. And knowing coach Bruce Arena’s mindset, claiming the preseason trophy would be a nice bookend to a up and down preseason, but he’ll be more concerned with results once the games begin to matter starting Wednesday.
It will be interesting to see if how Arena rests many of his probable starters just days before the CCL match. Look for Sarvas to be key in the match due to his being cup-tied and unable to take part in any of the Galaxy’ CCL matches.
Kick-off is scheduled for 7:15 pm PST and can be watched with live chat over at (mobile compatible even!)

FIRE v. REVS liveblog

 Posted by on September 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm  Uncategorized
Sep 252011

Final stats from Chicago, were a lapse in concentration by the Fire made for a far more interesting match than it had any right to be. Shots: NE 22 (11 on goal) Fire 8 (6og). 8 saves for Johnson, 3 for Reis. Shocking stat of the night: Patrick Nyarko scored his first of the season. Busy road stretch for the Fire coming up, @RSL Wednesday, @Houston Saturday and the US Open cup final the following Tuesday in Seattle. Check back here for full coverage. Thanks for checking in.-steve

FINAL: Fire 3-2 Revs

That’s the whistle. The Fire pay late for some lax defending after 89 strong minutes.

90+ Goal NE Guy scores off a squared ball.

89′ Johnson has been dominant in goal today for the Fire. Of course, as I write that, Johnson comes out to punch a ball clear and smashes into a Revs player, both go down, Ryan guy lobs into the open goal. 3-1 Fire

86′ Not a lot of continuity of play as the teams are just playing it out until the whistle blows. Mikulic down in the box after a tangle of bodies in the box.

77′ Fire sub: Barouch on for Oduro.

76′ Yellow for Gargan.

75′ Alston with a weaving run thru the left side of the Fire D has a good crack at goal that Johnson parries away.

72′ Play opening up a bit more. Revs just had a decent low FK saved by Johnson, now wit ha corner. Cleared. Fire D (Gargan especially) playing really well as a unit.

71′ NE sub: Shilawski off, Fagundez on.

68′ Fire corner on the right. Husidic takes. Eventually Pardo heads one directly at Reis. Possible shout for a handball as the ball bounced around the box.

65′ Fire break, Pappa to Nyarko on the left, he shoots wide of the far post from just outside the box. Fire sub: Chaves on for Nyarko.

63′ revs corner on the right, Tierney takes across the top of the box to Fielhaber, who loses the ball to Oduro.

59′ Guy floats in a shot/cross from the right that clangs off the bar. Fire clear the danger.

56′ NE sub: Dube on for Mensally. Fire break and Nyarko squares to Oduro, his off balance shot is juuust tipped away by Reis.

53′ NE still dominating possession, but can’t break down the Fire in the final 3rd. Fire holding firm on D, but unless they can break, have trouble building an attack or holding the ball.

47′ We’re back underway. NE having more of the ball, trying to open up the Fire D. Chicago looking to play on the break, as they do.

I somehow missed a Yellow on Coria for the Revs in the 27th minute. NE has 2 players now on a yellow.

half time stats: New England 10 shots (3 on goal) Chicago 5 shots (4 on goal). 5 corners for the Revs, 0 for the Fire. Reis with 1 save, Johnson with 3 (free milk!). We’ll be back underway in just a minute. NE to kick off.

Halftime Fire 3-0 New England

45′ Barnes yellow card for dissent after he was called for a foul on Oduro near midfield.

2 minutes added on.

43′ NE with another dangerous FK deep on the right. 2 man wall for the Fire. Tierney’s left footed effort on goal is well high.

39′ Nice movement by the Revs to get the ball into the final 3rd, Caraglio shoots high from 30 yards out. Pretty close.

37′ Free kick deep on the right for NE. Sent in all the way across the box and bounces off a surprised Caraglio’s chest and out of play.

33′ Chants of “Chi-town Beatdown” and “Five more Fire, Five more” ringing out from Section 8.

30′ GOAL Fire! Oduro ran onto a ball and squared a pass to Nyarko. Reis came out AGAIN to try and stop it. They both touched it (just outside the box) at the same time. It stayed in Nyarko’s foot and he easily scored. 3-0 Fire!

Grazzini is off with tightness in his left hamstring. That’s the official word.

27′ Johnson does well to save after a deflected ball bounced into the path of Schilawski.

25′ Husidic on for Grazzini.

23′ And just like that, Grazzini is down injured, possibly a hamstring. Looks like his day is over. Fire down to 10 awaiting the substitution.

20′ Grazzini dominating the attacking third. Always looking for the killer pass. Joseph struggling to contain him.

13′ Caraglio heads just wide off a Revs corner.

9′ GOAL Fire! Oduro with his 11th of the year! Grazzini splits the entire revs d straight down the middle. Oduro taps it past an onrushing Reis and then slots home easily.

5′ Grazzini scores! sends it low and right and Reis guesses correctly but can’t get their in time. 1-0 Fire

4′ Penalty to Chicago! Pause intercepts and feeds Nyarko streaking into the box. Reis and Nyarko reach the ball at the same time and Nyarko is taken out.

Fire to kick off. Oduro & Grazzini over the ball. And we’re off!

Fire line up in all Red, Revs in all Navy Blue. Fire attacking goal on the right of your screen, Revs, left.

It’s a beautiful day for soccer! Nope, it’s 60 degrees and rainy as the players finish their warmups and head back to the locker rooms. Kickoff is about 15 minutes away.

Fire v. Revs Lineups

FIRE: Johnson; Gargan, Mikulic, Anibaba, Segares; Pappa, Pardo, Pause (C); Grazzini; Oduro, Nyarko

subs: Conway, Cuesta, Bone, Husidic, Paladini, Barouch, Chaves

REVS: Reis; Alston, Coria, Barnes, Tierney; Guy, Feilhaber, Joseph (C), Mansally; Caraglio, Schilawski

subs: Shuttleworth, Loewy, Boggs, Fagundez, Phelan, Dube, Kinne

Join me here from 2:30 for live coverage of the Chicago Fire hosting the New England Revolution. Should be a good one as the Fire try to stay in the playoff hunt and end the Revs’ chances at a postseason.

Timbers capitalize on Revolution mistakes for a crucial 3-0 victory

 Posted by on September 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm  Uncategorized
Sep 192011

(Note: Apologies for the delay in this match review. I wasn’t able to watch the entire game as I was away at a conference. I have just watched the replay which was finally made available on Match Day Live.)

The Portland Timbers took care of business at home with a complete domination of the New England Revolution on Friday evening in front of a record Jeld-Wen Field crowd. The Timbers treated 20,323 fans to their most complete game of the season with the 3-0 result, which practically eliminated the Revolution (5-12-12, 27 points) from any possibility of making the playoffs.
The story of this game was the Timbers ability to capitalize on Revolution defensive mistakes and then taking advantage of those opportunities offensively.
Designated player, Diego Chara got things rolling, with his second goal of the season in the 9th minute. Chara got free in the box and outmaneuvered three Revolution defenders thanks to some fantastic buildup play from Darlington Nagbe, Mike Chabala and Lovel Palmer. Chara beat goalkeeper Matt Reis to the ball and toe poked it to the far post for the score. The goal was only the Timbers third goal of the season scored within the first 15 minutes.
The Timbers got their second score in the 32nd minute thanks again to some fantastic build up play and ball movement. Mike Chabala’s cross bounced off of Kenny Cooper’s chest for his 5th goal of the season.
Although the Timbers ended the half with a 2-0 lead, it could have been even greater, if it weren’t from some big time stops from Reis and his backline moving upfield to catch some Timbers offside on several corner kicks.
The Revolution came out playing better in the second half and had two excellent scoring opportunities in the 51st and 60th minute, but both opportunities (Milton Carraglio and Shalrie Joseph) missed the target.
The Timbers put the game away decisively in the 66th minute when Kalif Alhassan delivered a cross to Nagbe who put the ball away with a clinical snap header.
The 3-0 victory was Troy Perkins’ third straight shutout and his eighth on the season, one short of his career high of nine.
The Timbers (10-12-6, 36 points) look to extend their unbeaten streak to five when they host the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday, September 21st. This will be another big match as the Timbers continue their push for the MLS playoffs.
Coach John Spencer, on the play of midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe:
“He keeps telling me that his best position is up front and I don’t think he’s far from wrong, to be honest. His hold-up play, link-up play was superb. His movement was dynamic, lightening quick. From the first minute, you could tell the back four were very wary of his pace. He was head and shoulders above anyone walking on that field tonight.”

Men of the Match:
Darlington Nagbe and Mike Chabala

Match Stats:
Scoring Summary:
POR — Diego Chara 2 (Lovel Palmer 1) 9
POR — Kenny Cooper 5 (Mike Chabala 2) 32
POR — Darlington Nagbe 2 (Kalif Alhassan 6) 66
New England Revolution — Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Franco Coria, A.J. Soares (Ryan Guy 58), Darrius Barnes, Monsef Zerka (Kenny Mansally 71), Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph, Chris Tierney, Rajko Lekic (Zack Schilawski 45), Milton Caraglio.
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Cochrane, Kheli Dube, Pat Phelan, Bobby Shuttleworth.
Portland Timbers — Troy Perkins, Lovel Palmer, Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Mike Chabala, Sal Zizzo (Eric Alexander 82), Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Kalif Alhassan, Kenny Cooper (Bright Dike 80), Darlington Nagbe.
Substitutes Not Used: James Marcelin, Jorge Perlaza, Steve Purdy, Rodney Wallace, Jake Gleeson.
Misconduct Summary:
NE — Franco Coria (caution; Reckless Foul) 62

Match Highlights:
 Timbers capitalize on Revolution mistakes for a crucial 3 0 victory