Revs win, but know they need more


Revs win, but know they need more

By Danny Picard Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO --The music was louder than usual in the New EnglandRevolution locker room after Saturday nights match with FC Dallas at GilletteStadium.

Thats because the Revs had a reason to be happy. It wastheir first win since July 20, and just their second win since May 14.

In case you werent counting, thats two wins in 19 games.

So while defeating FC Dallas 2-0 on Saturday night should bea sigh of relief, it isnt enough to start rolling in the champagne.

I guess I should be ecstatic, but, you know, you cant lookat it now and think, had we not made the mistakes previously, wed be in agreat position, said Revolution coach Steve Nicol afterwards. But its goodto win.

Nicol said his Revs deserved to win on Saturday night.Its a term hes used even during the teams darkest moments this season.

Deserving hasnt necessarily translated into three points.

But on Saturday night it did, thanks to goals from ShalrieJoseph in the 14th minute, and Rajko Lekic in the 84th minute.

While Josephs early goal was big for the teams confidence,it was Lekics late strike that made the difference.

Lekic was standing at the far post on a corner kick taken byBenny Feilhaber, who kicked it to Ryan Cochrane at the near post. Cochraneheaded it over everyone to a wide open Lekic, and Lekic finished.

It was to my left foot, and I hate to shoot with my leftfoot, but I was like expletive it, let me just try to hit it, said Lekic.And I saw it in the net. I was so happy.

Scoring goals hasnt been the problem as of late for theRevs. It was holding onto leads after they scored them. So Saturday nights winwas extra satisfying, knowing that the back four stayed together, and closedout the win with a shutout.

Better spots and better decisions, said Nicol. Wellalways mourn about keeping the ball better and doing other things better. Butdefensively, if you keep good position and good spots, and you make gooddecisions when youre under pressure, then youll be fine. And thats what wedid tonight.

Tactically, we didnt drop into a shell like we have been,said Feilhaber. I think that kind of stuff, it doesnt work. Unless youre anamazing team at defending 10 guys behind the ball, and you have no brain lapseswhatsoever, and no lack of concentration, thats going to be tough to play 45minutes sitting back and not giving up goals. And we didnt do that today.

One win wont catapult the Revolution out of the basement ofthe Eastern Conference standings and into the playoffs. They know that. So fromhere on out, theyll try to take it one game at a time.

And the type of 90-minute performance they gave on Saturdaywill be the blueprint for their desired success.

I still think we should be thinking one game at a time,said Feilhaber. Putting in a 90-minute performance, and we did that today. Sonow we can look forward to trying to build. And I think if we can start puttingsome performances together, regardless if we get three points every singlegame. But if we get 90 minutes, were comfortable with it.

I think thats the first goal. If were able to get threepoints here, three points there, and were starting to climb up the rankings,then yea, then we can start looking and maybe we can sneak in there and grab aplayoff spot. But I dont think thats where our minds should be right now.

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.