Real Salt Lake continues mastery of Revs

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Real Salt Lake continues mastery of Revs

SANDY, Utah (AP) - Real Salt Lake has the New England Revolution's number.

The Revolution did several things right against Salt Lake. New England scored first. It played aggressive for 90 minutes, trading blows with Salt Lake on both ends of the field. None of it proved enough to shake a lingering jinx the Revolution has experienced in recent seasons.

Alvaro Saborio scored twice and Salt Lake ran its unbeaten streak against New England to five games, beating the Revolution 2-1 on Saturday night. The victory also boosted RSL into a first-place tie with San Jose and Seattle atop the Western Conference.

Salt Lake (7-3-1) has dealt the Revolution two of their worst losses in club history during the unbeaten string that stretches to 2009 - winning 6-0 in 2009 and 5-0 in 2010.

Nat Borchers of Real Salt Lake clears the ball ahead of Blake Brettschneider of the New England Revolution during their MLS match up at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy Saturday, May 5, 2012 (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News).

Given that history, trailing by a single goal was no insurmountable obstacle.

"We don't stop believing," midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. "Tonight we went down a goal and there wasn't any doubt in our mind that we were going to win this game."

RSL claimed its latest victory even while playing part of the second half a man down. Salt Lake yielded the man advantage when Will Johnson was shown a red card in the 59th minute for a foul on Clyde Simms. The Revolution lost the man advantage when reserve forward Fernando Cardenas was given a red card in the 82nd minute for a foul on Jamison Olave.

Being forced to play only 10 players could have resulted in a negative momentum shift for RSL. It did not play out that way. Salt Lake stayed aggressive and kept pounding the ball at the goal, forcing New England goalkeeper Matt Reis to make several incredible saves.

"We're unfazed," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "This team has probably been through literally every tactical situation there could be. Everybody probably even knows what we're doing. We don't have to tell them what the shape is going to be. We go into that shape and carry on."

New England (3-6-0) struck first on Blake Brettschneider's goal in the 22nd minute. He dribbled into the left side of the box and blasted a right footed shot past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando into the right corner.

It was exactly the kind of start the Revolution hoped to get against their league nemesis.

"We definitely felt confident going forward," Brettschneider said. "It's a tough place to play with altitude and the environment. They're just a good team in general."

Salt Lake began tied it in the 34th minute. Beckerman dropped the ball in the middle of a cluster of players outside the goalmouth, Javier Morales knocked it down with his head and it fell at Sabario's feet for an easy goal into an empty net after Reis dived for the ball.

Saborio put Salt Lake ahead in the 55th minute. Morales booted a free kick over a three-man defensive wall and sent a cross toward Saborio near the far post. He outjumped the closest New England defender and headed the ball into the net.

Morales thought Salt Lake had several more goals left in the tank, but said the complexion of the game changed entirely once Johnson left with his red card. From that point on, it was simply about survival.

"Down a man, it's hard to play," Morales said. "We scored the second goal and we were playing pretty good. Then another red card changed the game."

Johnson will serve a mandatory one-game suspension when Salt Lake plays the Chicago Fire on Wednesday night. Cardenas will sit out New England's home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps next Saturday.

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.