New England Soccer Today

Revs Happy with “Professional” Performance

The New England Revolution’s 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo was not only their first win since September 4th, but brought an end to a road winless streak that stretched 11 games and 190 days.

Head coach Steve Nicol and his team have come close to breaking that trend in recent weeks, including a 2-2 draw at Dallas two and a half weeks ago in which the Revs held a 2-0 lead going into the final ten minutes, but they have come up short each time.

"Overall it was a good performance," said Revs head coach Steve Nicol after his team's victory over Houston. (Photo by Art Donahue/

Despite just having 15 players available for the match due to injuries and international call-ups, Nicol’s side managed to put together an efficient performance to get the full three points.

“I think tonight we put on a real good professional show,” said Nicol to the media after the game. “I didn’t think we gave too much away. We scored two good goals away from home, and overall it was a good performance.”

Missing from the squad were regular starters Kevin Alston, Sainey Nyassi, and Kenny Mansally, while Nicol also opted to rest veteran goalkeeper Matt Reis and gave second year netminder Bobby Shuttleworth a chance to gain some more experience.

“The coaches put a lot of confidence in me playing, so I just wanted to step up and play well,” said Shuttleworth.

Shuttleworth didn’t disappoint, making a couple of crucial saves, including one from pointblank range on Dominic Oduro, likely a candidate for MLS save of the week, that preserved the Revs’ 1-0 lead going into halftime.

“I didn’t know much about it,” said Shuttleworth. “I just wanted to make myself big. I thought he was leaning to the right, so I dove to the right and he just knocked it into me.”

The Revs’ lead didn’t last long into the second half, however, as Oduro found the equalized for Houston in the 59th minute. With the Revs’ recent habit of dropping points by giving up late goals, it seemed like this game might be headed for a familiar ending.

Serbian striker Ilija Stolica did his best to make sure that wasn’t the case by helping put the Revs back on top just fourteen minutes later. The hard working forward chased down what seemed like a lost cause, putting pressure on defender Ryan Cochrane until he turned the ball over.

“I think it was maybe a mistake from [Cochrane],” said Stolica. “He was trying to dribble when it’s not good for one defender to try and dribble. I took my chance and gave my assist to Kheli [Dube]. I saw him immediately, and I was just waiting for good timing and a good moment.”

Stolica’s pass found Dube in stride, and the Zimbabwean striker made no mistake, powering a low shot past goalkeeper Pat Onstad to the far post for the game winning goal.

The win also kept the Revs unbeaten in Houston, improving their record there to 4-0-1, an impressive mark considering the Dynamo are two time MLS Champions. Of course the Dynamo defeated the Revs in both Cup finals, helping to build the current rivalry between the two teams.

“I think there is more respect than anything else [between both teams],” said Nicol. “You know you are going to have to win the battle. Both teams were going at it. I think there were too many cards shown tonight. I don’t think it was a dirty game at all. Both teams are pretty similar. At the very least you are going to have to fight for what you get.”

Both teams have changed a lot since they met in the MLS Cup in 2007 and neither will be headed to the playoffs this season.

“I think there was a little bit more indiscipline than I’ve seen from [Houston] in the past in terms of the fouling, and the elbows, and the bad tackle,” Revs captain Shalrie Joseph, who scored the first goal of the night, told Hincha TV. “In the past I’ve never thought they were one of those teams.

“Not having Brian Ching tonight; I think they definitely missed him. He’s one of the great forwards in the league that allows them to play their style of soccer which is holding it, allowing their midfielders to join the attack, and creating chances and I think him not being there hurt them a little bit tonight.”

The indiscipline Joseph mentioned led to the Joseph Ngwenya and Geoff Cameron both being sent off in the dying minutes of the match.

“It got a little ugly at the end,” said Khano Smith to Hincha TV. “But that’s how it goes when it’s two teams in the position that we are both in.”

That position means the Revs have nothing but pride to play for with two games remaining: at home against Kansas City, Saturday, October 16th and in New York against the Red Bulls on Thursday, October 21st.

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