New England Soccer Today


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Shalrie Joseph converted a 49th minute penalty kick and it would be all the New England Revolution needed against the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps as goalkeeper Matt Reis and the defense held strong to get the team’s second straight shut-out.

A slow start didn’t hurt the Revs (3-3-4, 13 points) as the Whitecaps (1-5-5, 8 points) rarely threatened the Revs net and Reis was equal to the task when they did. Some nice play from Benny Feilhaber earned the Revs a penalty in the 49th minute and Joseph calmly slotted it past Jay Nolly to give the Revs a 1-0 lead that would hold for the rest of the match.

“First half particularly was certainly not our best as far as I was concerned,” said Revs head coach Steve Nicol. “When you give the ball away you put yourself under pressure. We just encouraged them by giving the ball away. Second half was better.”

Once again the Revs were without reigning team MVP Marko Perovic due to a left knee sprain, and the creative midfielder was joined on the sidelines by French veterans Ousmane Dabo (right adductor strain) and Didier Domi (left quadriceps strain). Perovic was replaced by Chris Tierney in the line-up and joined in the attack by Rajko Lekic and Zak Boggs. Darrius Barnes filled in for Domi at left back, while Stephen McCarthy partnered Joseph and Feilhaber in the midfield with Dabo unavailable.

The Revs pushed forward through Chris Tierney in the 19th minute as the left midfielder sent a cross into the box. Tierney’s cross was deflected by a Vancouver defender right to Benny Feilhaber, who sent a header towards goal, only to see it deflect off another Whitecaps defender and go out for a corner.

It was Tierney creating a Revs chance again in the 28th minute after Feilhaber was tripped up about 35 yards from goal, earning a free kick. Tierney curled a shot towards the upper left corner that landed just high of the net.

Revs ‘keeper Matt Reis was forced into a diving save in the 45th minute after 17-year-old striker Omar Salgado intercepted a pass and blasted a low shot on frame from about 30 yards. Despite the distance, Salgado’s shot had a surprising amount of pace and accuracy, forcing a difficult save from Reis.

The Revs came out with renewed life in the second half and took the lead in the 49th minute after Feilhaber was taken down from behind in the box by Wes Knight. Joseph stepped up to take the penalty kick and slotted it past goalkeeper Nolly inside the left post for his fourth goal of the season.

“The ball didn’t really sit up for me to shoot it that well,” said Feilhaber of the play leading to the penalty kick. “I don’t think I could’ve shot it, so I faked the shot. [Knight] bit on it. I took a touch and he stepped right on my ankle.”

Joseph’s penalty kick goal ended the Revolution’s scoreless streak at 236 minutes.

“Tonight when I went up [to take the penalty] I know what corner I was going for,” said Joseph, who mentioned he had been practicing penalties with Reis and Kevin Alston this week. “I picked it out already in my mind. I just wanted to put it there low and hard. Tonight it went in for me and it felt great.”

A poor call denied the Revs a second goal in the 55th minute as Lekic played Feilhaber behind the defense. Feilhaber chipped a shot over an onrushing Nolly and into the back of the net, but was ruled offside. Replays appeared to show Feilhaber was onside on the play.

“The second goal was a great move and a great finish and he’s onside,” said Nicol. “But we’re looking to do more of that.”

Reis preserved the lead for the Revs in the 70th minute when Salgado rose above his defender to head a Blake Wagner cross on frame.  Salgado’s header was targeted just inside the far post, but Reis kept it out with a diving save.

Substitute Sainey Nyassi nearly added to the Revs lead in the 82nd minute, dribbling towards the box and beating Wagner before sending a low shot across frame that Nolly just managed to tip wide.

Reis was again in the spotlight in the 89th minute as Shea Salinas found Long Tan at the back post about 6 yards from goal. Tan directed a quick shot on frame, but Reis was well positioned to make the save and avoid giving up a rebound.

“We won,” said Nicol. “We’re excited to win the game. We think we deserved to win the game overall and we move on.”

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