By Danny Picard
FOXBORO --Retirement press conferences arent usually scheduled for 10p.m. on a weeknight. But thats the way things went down at Gillette Stadiumprior to the New England Revolutions 1-0 win over Monarcas Morelia on Tuesdaynight.
With the win, the Revolution clinch the top seed in theirgroup for SuperLiga 2010, and will host a semi-final game in the first week ofAugust.
But following the game, Steve Ralstons retirement pressconference stole the show.
Ralston is known as the MLS Iron Man and has played inall four of New Englands MLS Cup appearances. Hes one of the best right-sidedmidfielders in MLS history, but called it quits on Tuesday night.
Obviously it wasnt an easy decision, but Ill look backwith a lot of great memories from being a part of this organization, saidRalston, with Revolution coach Steve Nicol to his right, and several members ofthe organization sitting with the media.
Ralston didnt have a speech prepared. The reason? He waspreparing to suit up for one last game in front of the Revolution fans.
We wanted him to start the game, and we wanted him to be acaptain, said Nicol after the win.
An administrative issue at league level forced Ralston tocall it quits without getting back on the field again.
I was hoping to play in the game tonight, and I wanted toprepare for the game, like I always do, and go about the business and enjoyit, said Ralston. Unfortunately, some things came up, and I wasnt able toobviously play in the game. So this is kind of off the cuff here.
Playing in front of the crowd one more time, I would haveloved that opportunity, but some things kind of came up, unfortunately, that wedidnt know about, and just kind of deemed that it just couldnt happen,unfortunately.
Those things that came up most likely have to do with therumors that Ralston will join the Houston Dynamo as their assistant coach oncehis retirement is official.
When asked what hed take with him into coaching, Ralstonresponded by saying, Well if I get into that stuff, obviously theres a lot ofthings.
After Ralston got up from the press conference, Nicol mayhave slipped up about his now-former players future.
Steve Ralstons as good a player as weve had on this club,ever, said the Revs coach. Theres absolutely no doubt about that.
Somebody else is going to get the benefit of a greatperson, and he certainly was a great player, and Ill be shocked if hes not agreat coach.
Regardless of what Ralstons future holds, the Revolutionwill have to finish this season without him, and the post-Ralston period beganon Tuesday with a win over Monarcas, thanks to Marko Perovics third goal infour games.
Perovic put the Revs on top 1-0 in the 62nd minute, after hefound a loose ball in Monarcas box and put a bullet into the top-left corner.
Hes got talent. Theres absolutely no doubt, hes gottalent, said Nicol about his Serbian midfielder who's in his first MLS season. And wed like to find more ways of trying to show histalent.
I think he realizes the game is quite physical, addedthe Revs coach. As soon as he gets it, teams understand that he can hop them,so theyre going to be at him quick, and theyre going to be physical with him.I think that was probably a shock for him to begin with.
Its about getting it right between your ears. Once you canunderstand whats happening and whats coming at you, then obviously, it givesyou a head start. And I think hes taking advantage of that."
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard