New England Soccer Today

Lost in New York

HARRISON, NJ. – A bit of brilliance from Thierry Henry was all the New York Red Bulls needed on Saturday to grab a 1-0 home victory over the New England Revolution in front of 18,152 at Red Bull Arena.

The French striker and former World Cup winner took advantage of a slow start by the Revs (2-5-0, 6 points) to put the home side on top in just the seventh minute and the Red Bulls (4-3-1, 13 points) usually shaky defense took over from there to shut out the visitors.

“We started poorly,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “It wasn’t good enough in certain situations. Unfortunately we attacked, but we didn’t put a final ball in. We had a lot of chances, but we felt like we were a little flat to start which was disappointing.”

New England came into the match after a bye week, but rather than looking refreshed, the Revs looked rusty from the extra rest.  The Revs, who made just one change from the line-up that lost 2-1 to D.C. United on April 14th – Shalrie Joseph’s return from suspension in place of the injured Ryan Guy – struggled to keep possession and were run over by New York in the early going.

Henry broke into the Revs box just a minute into the match off a pass from Dane Richards. Reis made the save, but spilled it wide for a corner kick.

A minute later, it was Kenny Cooper causing the Revs defense issues, outpacing Chris Tierney before sending in a shot that was deflected just wide.

“We’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror and realize that it’s important that we start off hard especially being on the road and against a team like New York that has so much firepower and attacking weapons,” said Revs captain Shalrie Joseph. “We’ve got to be able to start off with that intensity and start off right. We didn’t do that tonight, but as the game progressed you could tell we were the better team.”

Henry scored the game’s lone goal in seventh minute. Conor Lade played a long ball to Henry, sending the experienced French striker towards goal in a battle with Stephen McCarthy. The current MLS scoring leader caught Reis off his line and chipped it over the Revs keeper for his ninth goal of the season.

“Henry’s obviously a legend,” said McCarthy. “I looked up to him growing up. You have to be mentally strong [defending him], but it just takes one second for him, just like it did today. I feel like we should’ve probably gotten something out of the game, but he can change it like that and Kenny Cooper’s the same exact way.”

New York came close to adding a second goal in the 12th minute later with Dax McCarty coming close. The center midfielder got a shot off an Henry corner kick that was only denied by the post.

About a quarter of an hour into the match the Revs began to gain some control. Colombia striker Jose Moreno nearly broke free of the Red Bull defense in the 18th minute, but was dragged down by Tyler Ruthven. Despite being the last defender back, Ruthven managed to escape with just a yellow card.

Saer Sene missed a great chance for the Revs in the 20th minute after an impressive build-up. Nguyen played Sene into the box on a give-and-go, but Sene, behind the defense, sent his shot right at rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara.

The game turned further in the Revs favor the 25th minute when Thierry Henry was forced to leave the match with a hamstring strain. MLS’s current goals leader was replaced by Victor Palsson, leaving the home side without their star striker.

“I think the first ten minutes they were all over us,” said Joseph. “They could’ve scored two or three goals. When [Henry] went out you could see the ball immediately because they’ve got nobody who can really stretch the defense and run at people. Thierry’s just a world class player, so when he goes out it’s just a huge loss for them. We tried to take advantage of it tonight, but we weren’t able to score a goal.”

Sene wasted another golden opportunity for the Revs seven minutes before the halftime break. The former Bayern Munich Reserves forward got the ball from Lee Nguyen and dribbled through three Red Bulls defenders and in on goal. Sene placed a shot on frame, but it was again right at Meara, who easily pushed the ball off the post.

Looking for a spark, the Revs brought on Benny Feilhaber for Kelyn Rowe at half time and pinned the Red Bulls back early in the second half. Sene was the early aggressor, once getting into the box before seeing his shot blocked and later, about 15 minutes into the half, going down in the box after a tangle with Brandon Barklage, but getting no call from referee Jair Marrufo.

With New York content to sit back on defense, Feilhaber had perhaps the best chance of the night in the 77th minute after a great build-up by the Revs down the left flank. Nguyen found Shalrie Joseph outside the box and the Revs captain sent a cross in towards the far post. A wide open Feilhaber weakly headed a shot on frame that was right at Meara.

“In the second half we made a couple of positional changes,” said Heaps. “It certainly went our way in terms of possession and in terms of the game, but I thought Ryan Meara made a couple of nice saves… he stood up big as a rookie.”

The Revs threatened once more through Feilhaber again in the 88th minute. This time Feilhaber played a short corner to Nguyen who quickly played it back to Feilhaber. The U.S. International cut towards the top of the box before powering a shot on frame that was right at Meara.

“[That shot] obviously I can do better,” said Feilhaber. “I heard the goalie say ‘keep’ and he tricked me. I thought he was definitely coming out. I didn’t have a look and I just tried to hit it past him. He stayed in his goal. I could’ve brought it down – I probably had five yards around in every direction – so I definitely should’ve done better. I’ll probably have nightmares about that tonight.”

In the dying minutes of stoppage time the Revs had one last chance when Nguyen came close after some nice moves at the top of the. The 25 year old midfielder sent in a shot towards frame that was pushed out by Meara and the rebound fell just out of reach of several Revs attackers.

“There’s no excuse to start [the way we did],” said McCarthy. “We showed what we can do in the second half and we just have to do that the whole game.”

The Revs return to action on Wednesday with a home match against the Colorado Rapids at 8 p.m. at Gillette Stadium.

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