Pair of first-half goals sink Revs in Desert Diamond Cup opener

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Pair of first-half goals sink Revs in Desert Diamond Cup opener

By Jeff Lemieux

TUCSON, Ariz. Brad Evans converted a first-half penalty kick and Eddie Johnson added an insurance strike just before halftime as the New England Revolution suffered a 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC in the first game of the Desert Diamond Cup on Wednesday night at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The game was a physical at times reckless affair, featuring a total of six yellow cards and two red cards as New Englands Sainey Nyassi and Seattles Marc Burch were both sent off in the 80th minute. Additionally, the Revolutions Clyde Simms and the Sounders Osvaldo Alonso were both subbed off before halftime when a scuffle ensued following a rough challenge on Chris Tierney.

Chad Barrett (illness), Ryan Guy (calf), Matt Reis (illness), Kelyn Rowe (knee) and Saer Sene (ACL surgery) were unavailable for the Revolution, which used largely different lineups for the first and second halves.

Jerry Bengtson made his first preseason appearance after returning from international duty, creating the games first chance in the fifth minute. The Hondurans flick sent Diego Fagundez into the right side of the box and the Revolution forward drilled a shot which Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning tipped over the crossbar.

Evans opened the scoring for Seattle in the 27th minute, converting a penalty kick after the Revolutions defensive wall was whistled for a handball while blocking a free kick. The effort was slotted low into the right corner as Evans sent New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth the wrong direction.

Johnson doubled the Sounders lead just before halftime, finishing off a strong individual move after receiving a long pass from Mauro Rosales down the right wing. After cutting inside onto his left foot, Johnson curled his shot inside the far post to give Seattle a 2-0 advantage at the break.

New England created the better of the chances throughout the second half and forced Seattle goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann into a pair of saves 10 minutes apart. Training camp invitee Marko Jesic directed a 20-yard shot on frame in the 68th minute, while Stephen McCarthy saw his header saved by Hahnemann in the 78th minute.

Nyassi and Burch were both ejected in the 80th minute when a fracas erupted near midfield, which began with a sliding challenge from Nyassi.

The Revolutions best chance to cut into the deficit arrived in the 83rd minute when the Sounders Lamar Neagle twice cleared the ball off the line. Following a corner kick, Neagle first directed Darrius Barnes header onto the crossbar before he was on hand to clear the follow-up effort away from danger.

The Revs will continue Desert Diamond Cup group play on Saturday, Feb. 16, when theyll take on the New York Red Bulls at 8 p.m. ET.

Revs deny Toronto opportunity to clinch best record with 2-1 victory

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Revs deny Toronto opportunity to clinch best record with 2-1 victory

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Lee Nguyen and Kei Kamara scored late goals and the New England Revolution, with a 2-1 win, denied Toronto FC an opportunity to clinch the Supporters' Shield on Saturday.

Kamara scored the go-ahead goal in the 87th minute with a header off Nguyen's cross. The Revs (11-14-5) avoided playoff elimination and extended their undefeated streak at home against Toronto FC (18-5-8) to six games. Toronto has three matches remaining to clinch the Shield with a magic number of three points.

Nguyen opened the scoring for New England in the 82nd minute with his 50th career goal, taking Chris Tierney's lead pass from midfield and finishing through a defensive deflection.

Toronto FC's Nicolas Hasler answered two minutes later with a right-footed volley of Michael Bradley's diagonal cross.

Forwards Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore missed the match for Toronto FC, both due to lower body tightness.

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Revs announce Heaps’ firing, name Soehn interim coach

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Revs announce Heaps’ firing, name Soehn interim coach

Tom Soehn will take over as interim coach of the New England Revolution for the remaining five matches of the MLS season after the team confirmed the firing of Jay Heaps with an announcement on Tuesday.

Ives Galarcep of Goal USA was first to report Heaps’ firing on Monday. 

The decision to move on from Heaps comes after two back-to-back losses, one of which was a 7-0 defeat at the hands of Atlanta United. New England is 10-14-5 and in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Revs next play Saturday at 5 p.m. against Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium. 

Heaps had been the Revs head coach since 2011, the longest tenure in team history, and was 75-81-43 in the regular season. He also led the Revs to the MLS Cup Final in 2014 where they lost to the LA Galaxy.

“Jay has done a great deal for the club over the years and had considerable achievements. I have great respect for him and wish him well in the next steps of his career,” said Revs general manager Michael Burns. “This decision has not been taken lightly, however, we need to do better than the results have shown from the last couple of seasons and this season left us convinced we need to go in a different direction.”

Heaps has been a central figure in 15 of the Revolution's 22 seasons in MLS, including nine years as a defender for the team from 2001-09. He played a part in all five of the Revolution's Eastern Conference championships, four as a player, and helped lead them to the U.S. Open Cup Final on three occasions, including the club's victory in 2007.
 
“Jay gave the club his all as a player and coach, and we are thankful to him for all his passion and hard work,” said Revs team president Brian Bilello. “We will always be grateful for his efforts in bringing us back to both an MLS Cup final and a U.S. Open Cup Final and wish nothing but the best for him moving forward.”

Soehn was in his fourth season as an assistant coach after joining Heaps’ staff in January 2014. Soehn has been an MLS player, assistant coach, head coach, and team executive. He began his pro playing career in 1988 and has 13 years of MLS coaching experience as both a head coach and assistant, including three seasons with the Chicago Fire and six seasons with D.C. United.