Positives outweigh the negatives for Revolution

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Positives outweigh the negatives for Revolution

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; You could categorize the New England Revolutions 4-1 friendly loss toManchester United Wednesday night as two different matches.

On one hand, they allowed four goalsin the second half, and let their usual mental mistakes get in the way.

On theother hand, though, the Revs usual starting 11 held one of the worlds best club teamsto zero goals.

So the Revolution can take something from bothhalves, both positive and negative, heading into Sundays league match with thePhiladelphia Union, which New England coach Steve Nicol described as huge.

I think what we can take from this is that we moved theball well, we created some chances here, and most importantly, we had the confidenceagainst a team of that caliber, said Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph.Defensively, we were solid in the first half with our starting 11, but itsthe same old story with us. Just mental mistakes. And you cant do that with ateam like that. Theyll punish you, and tonight they did that.

We dont stay concentrated, to be honest about it. We dontstay concentrated for 90 minutes, and when you do that, you make mistakes, yougive up goals, you give up balls . . . You cant do that against a team likeManchester United."

Jospeh was on the field for all 90 minutes on Wednesdaynight, unlike nine other Revolution starters, who were substituted out of thegame either during or after halftime. Joseph played the entire game because heis suspended for Sundays match with yellow card accumulation.

Its a big loss for the Revs, who are looking to snap aneight-game league winless skid. Nicol said after the loss that if Joseph wasntsuspended, he would have been substituted out, just like the others.

We knew it would cause us some problems, said Nicol on thehalftime substitutions. But we had to do it, to look after ourselves onSunday.

And the substitutions did cause New England some problems,because Manchester United took over for a 30-minute span in the second half,scoring four goals and giving the fans at Gillette Stadium something excitingto watch.

But it would be easy to look at those four second-half goalsas a negative. At first glance, it looks like the same old Revs. But takeinto consideration that New England had mostly backups playing in the secondhalf including goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and youll see that Wednesdaynight should be more encouraging than anything else, given the scoreless firsthalf.

Were happy with the way things went in the first half,said Nicol. I thought we were pretty solid, defended well . . . Were playingagainst players who, at the end of the day, are smarter between the ears thanyour average player. I thought we did that well.

Youre playing against one of the best teams in the world,so its just good to be out there, challenging yourself against that kind ofcompetition, Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber said. It was really fun. Ithought we did really well in the first half. I didnt think they dominated thegame in the first half. I thought we had our chances, we had some possession.

Overall, it was good, and then obviously they turned it upa notch in the second half. To be honest, I think the first three goals, wecould have done better at. The fourth goal, they played tic-tac-toe on us inthe box. That was a great goal.

If we play the way we played in the first half againstManchester United, for 90 minutes against Philadelphia, Im sure we can getsomething, Feilhaber said.

The Revolution need to put Wednesday night into perspective,and forget about those goals. Because on this night, in the 45 minutes that NewEnglands starters saw against one of the best teams in the world, theRevolution looked like they belonged.

And moving forward, that has to count for something.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Jurgen Klinsmann fired as coach of United States soccer team

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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.