New England Soccer Today


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For the 13,414 fans in attendance at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night, it was a night to forget. Those watching as the New England Revolution (3-9-7, 16 points) took on the Philadelphia Union (8-4-7, 31 points) were treated not only to a 3-0 loss extending the club’s winless streak to nine games, but also a lifeless stadium.

There was little goalkeeper Matt Reis could do to bail out his porous defense on Sunday. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

With the Revs supporters groups in section 143, also known as “The Fort”, protesting a June 18th incident, the stadium was almost completely silent – and the Revs put up a performance to match. It took all of 24 minutes for the Union to take a two goal lead and all but put the game out of reach.

Without Shalrie Joseph and Ryan Cochrane due to suspension, the Revs switched from the 4-5-1 they had been using lately to a 4-4-2. Franco Coria slotted into Cochrane’s spot alongside A.J. Soares, while Kevin Alston and Chris Tierney were on the outside. Benny Feilhaber played out of position at left midfield, while Stephen McCarthy and Pat Phelan took over in the center and Sainey Nyassi patrolled the right. Kenny Mansally partnered Rajko Lekic up top.

“When you’re missing a presence like Shalrie out there, it’s tough to replicate what he does,” said veteran goalkeeper Matt Reis. “So guys have to step up in those positions and we all have to step up as a team to cover for him, but that didn’t happen.  It was dead in the locker room before the game even started, so for us, we’re obviously on the bottom of the heap looking up and it’s not looking good.”

The new formation never looked like working as the Union controlled the first half from start to finish. Just 12 minutes in Carlos Ruiz gave the visitors the lead after Justin Mapp got the ball in space on the right side of box and sent a cross to the far post where Keon Daniel headed it back across frame. Ruiz then easily tapped it into the empty net to give the Union a 1-0 lead.

“We didn’t come out with, I guess, a distinct game plan,” said Alston. “I guess we didn’t come out and try to put the game in our hands. We kind of just let them dictate it early.”

Twelve minutes later it was Carlos Valdes adding to the lead in a similar fashion. A long free kick from Kyle Nakazawa found Sebastien Le Toux at the post, who headed it across frame where Valdes poked it into the open net.

“I think the first half is about worse as I’ve been here,” said head coach Steve Nicol. “It was like watching a bunch of schoolboys.”

By the end of the half the Revs had taken exactly zero shots, while maintaining just 36.7% of the possession. With that – plus the two goal deficit – in mind, Nicol switched to a 3-5-2 formation, moving Tierney to left midfield and slotting Feilhaber into the center while substituting Zak Boggs and Darrius Barnes on for Nyassi and Coria.

And the changes seemed to make a difference. The Revs first chance of the match would come in the 47th minute after a Revs corner kick deflected out to Stephen McCarthy from about 10 yards out. McCarthy’s shot was well high of the net.

Shortly after Chris Tierney had another chance to find one for the Revs after a long Zak Boggs cross found him at the far post. Tierney blasted a shot towards the near post, but his effort banged off the post.

But the positivity all but ended for the Revs in the 66th minute when Benny Feilhaber was given his marching orders, getting his second yellow card for the night. Feilhaber came in with a late challenge on Ruiz, who made the most of the incident to assure the Revs creative leader was ejected.

“Clearly halftime they got a roasting,” said Nicol. “And obviously second half we changed it and put up a better fight, and then obviously Benny [Feilhaber] getting the red card totally kills that. Not that we were playing like superstars anyway, but at least we were actually competing, we were actually in the game, had we snuck a goal in the 65-, 70th minute, we may have stolen something from the game. But then obviously the red card makes that impossible.”

The Revs then dodged a series of chances in the 76th minute with goalkeeper Matt Reis making a big save on Le Toux and then Kevin Alston heading a subsequent chance off the rebound off the line.

But Philadelphia would get a third in the final minute of stoppage time when Boston native Sheanon Williams was played behind the defense on a through ball from substitute Danny Mwanga. Williams dribbled in on goal and slotted a shot around Reis before Barnes got in with a sliding tackle.

The loss keeps the Revs stuck at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

“Not wining since May has been awful,” said Reis. “After a while, if you’re on a winning streak things seem to go your way and if you’re in a losing streak things don’t seem to go your way, so it’s going to take something special to get us out of it and we really have to dig deep here because we’re going into two places that are really tough to play.”

The Revs now head on a three game road trip, starting with a Wednesday night matchup with D.C. United.

“They’re professionals,” said Nicol. “They get paid to be professional. But on top of that, we need to see what’s inside them. It’s about heart. Having ability and all those other things is fantastic, but if you don’t have the heart for a fight, and you don’t know how to fight for yourself, and your teammates … so that’s what we’ll see on Wednesday. It’s time to step forward and show what you’re made of.”

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