The Revs get back to work Sunday

The Revs get back to work Sunday

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO The New England Revolution get back to work on Sunday night, hosting the Chicago Fire in their first MLS match since June 5 in Seattle. The Revs last played a friendly against Cruzeiro at Gillette Stadium on June 13, and since, have used their two-week World Cup break wisely.

It gave us a chance to kind of look at some things that we havent done so well, and obviously some of the things we have done well, and try and add to that, said Revolution coach Steve Nicol after Fridays training session.

The Revs (3-7-2) enter Sundays league match with only one win in their last nine league matches. That win came on May 29 against the New York Red Bulls. Prior to that win, New England hadnt won a game since April 10.

Everyones hoping to carry more of the good into the second half of the season.

Looking back at the first part of the season, we just have to see what we need to correct on, said defender Cory Gibbs on Friday. Weve been training well, so Chicagos our first test.

Playing our game, is most important. Understanding what Steve Nicol wants from us, and playing up to the best of our abilities.

Gibbs added that the three most important things that the Revs must take into the second half of the season are focus, concentration, and belief.

Once those things come into play, our teams good enough to play football and score goals, and be a good team, he said.

Sundays an important game for us, said Nicol. We need to start picking points up. Theres no denying that. To do that, we have to be positive, and go after it. Sunday, we need to show everybody thats what we intend to do.

Theyll do it with an extra midfielder, and the official word on one less forward.

Taylor Twellman, one of New Englands star players, has been out all season with a concussion, but the team announced earlier in the week that hed be put on the season-ending injury list with continued health issues stemming from the concussion he suffered in August of 2008.

Were all worried about his main being, his health, said Gibbs. We do miss him, but we have to understand where hes coming from right now, and he has to get better, first and foremost.

I cant imagine whats going through his mind, said Nicol. And obviously for us, were losing a guy who you know is scoring anywhere from 15-20 goals a season. So nobody wins.

The Revs signed rookie midfielder Jason Griffiths the day after announcing Twellman would be put on the season-ending injury list. Griffiths was drafted by the Revs out of Kentucky in the third round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. Hes been with the team this season as a trialist.

We drafted him, because he has a nice touch, and he passes good, his touch is good, said Nicol. We think he can progress.

The Revolution, as a whole would like to progress from a brutal first half stretch, which saw many injuries and unfortunate circumstances. Their final run begins on Sunday night against Chicago.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Jurgen Klinsmann fired as coach of United States soccer team


Jurgen Klinsmann fired as coach of United States soccer team

NEW YORK - Jurgen Klinsmann was fired as coach of the U.S. soccer team Monday, six days after a 4-0 loss at Costa Rica dropped the Americans to 0-2 in the final round of World Cup qualifying.

Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena is the favorite to succeed Klinsmann, and his hiring could be announced as early as Tuesday. Arena coached the national team from 1998 to 2006.

Qualifying resumes when the U.S. hosts Honduras on March 24 and plays four days later at Panama.

"While we remain confident that we have quality players to help us advance to Russia 2018, the form and growth of the team up to this point left us convinced that we need to go in a different direction," U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said in a statement. "With the next qualifying match in late March, we have several months to refocus the group and determine the best way forward to ensure a successful journey to qualify for our eighth consecutive World Cup."

A former German star forward who has lived mostly in Southern California since retiring as a player in 1998, Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley in July 2011 and led the team to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and the second round of the 2014 World Cup, where the Americans lost to Belgium in extra time.

The USSF announced in December 2013 a four-year contract extension through 2018, but the successful World Cup was followed by poor performances. The U.S. was knocked out by Jamaica in last year's Gold Cup semifinals and lost to Mexico in a playoff for a Confederations Cup berth. The team rebounded to reach this year's Copa America semifinals before losing to Argentina 4-0. But this month Mexico beat the Americans 2-1 at Columbus, Ohio, in the first home qualifying loss for the U.S. since 2001.

And last week, the Americans were routed in Costa Rica, their largest margin of defeat in qualifying since 1980. They dropped to 0-2 for the first time in the hexagonal, as the final round of World Cup qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean is known.

While there is time to recover, given the top three teams qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia and the fourth-place finisher advances to a playoff against Asia's No. 5 team, players seemed confused by Klinsmann's tactics, such as a 3-4-1-2 formation used at the start against the Mexicans.

"Today we made the difficult decision of parting ways with Jurgen Klinsmann," Gulati said. "There were considerable achievements along the way ... but there were also lesser publicized efforts behind the scenes. He challenged everyone in the U.S. Soccer community to think about things in new ways, and thanks to his efforts we have grown as an organization and expect there will be benefits from his work for years to come."

The U.S. had not changed coaches in the middle of qualifying since the USSF made the position a full-time job and hired Bob Gansler in 1989 to replace Lothar Osiander, who also at the time was a waiter at a San Francisco restaurant.

Klinsmann made controversial decisions, such as dropping Landon Donovan from the 2014 World Cup roster while taking along relatively inexperienced players such as John Brooks, Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin. Brooks and Green were among five German-Americans on the 23-man U.S. World Cup roster, which drew criticism from some in the American soccer community.

He coached the team to a 55-27-16 record, including a U.S.-record 12-game winning streak and victories in exhibitions at Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. He has worked in the past year to integrate more young players into the lineup, such as teen midfield sensation Christian Pulisic, Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris.

Arena, a 65-year-old wisecracking Brooklynite known for blunt talk, was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010. He coached the University of Virginia from 1978-95, then coached D.C. United to titles in Major League Soccer's first two seasons before losing in the 1998 final. As U.S. coach, he led the Americans to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals in the team's best finish since 1930.

He was let go after the team's first-round elimination in 2006. Gulati unsuccessfully courted Klinsmann, who won the 1990 World Cup with West Germany and the 1996 European Championship with Germany, then coached his nation to the 2006 World Cup semifinals.

When Gulati and Klinsmann couldn't reach an agreement, the USSF hired Bradley, who coached the team to the second round of the 2010 World Cup. A year later, the Americans stumbled in the Gold Cup, and Klinsmann replaced Bradley.

Arena coached the New York Red Bulls of MLS from July 2006 to November 2007, then was hired the following August by the Galaxy. He led the team to MLS titles in 2011, '12 and '14.