Revolution to bring in more new faces

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Revolution to bring in more new faces

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO What a difference a year makes.

The New England Revolution enter the 2011 season with plenty of new faces, and it was confirmed at the teams media day Wednesday at Gillette Stadium that there are more bodies on the way.

Steve Nicols Revs squad opens the regular season on Sunday night in Los Angeles against the Galaxy. MLS roster sizes have increased from 24 to 30 in 2011. New England currently has 27 players on its roster, with 11 new faces for this season, including five new international players that were added in the offseason.

But both Revolution vice president of player personnel Mike Burns and Nicol confirmed at the teams annual media day that they are actively on the hunt for another striker.

We need more help up front, said Nicol on Wednesday. Thats no secret.

Theres only 24 hours in a day, and every one of those 24 hours, weve been talking to people, talking to agents, talking to players, trying to get things done. Weve been close on a couple of occasions. On one occasion, we thought we had it done.

We need another striker, definitely, added the Revs coach. Well do everything we possibly can to make that happen.

Either way, this years Revolution team is dealing with plenty of changes -- changes that Burns said were absolutely necessary after a disappointing 9-16-5 finish in 2010.

I think it goes without saying, but the underlying theme for me this offseason, has been change, in terms of both the league level and for us here on the Revs at a team level, said Burns on Wednesday.

I think with the season that we had last year, frankly, it was necessary, he said. And two, with the increased number of roster spots, that obviously factored into it as well.

Listen, I could sit up here and make a lot of excuses, but I will say this: In 2010, to have a Steve Ralston, a Jay Heaps, and a Taylor Twellman all retire in the same calendar year, without making excuses, that affects the team. No doubt about it, added Burns. It certainly affected us. That, coupled with the fact that we had nine wins last year, changes were a necessity, for sure.

Changes werent just made within the Revolution organization. They were also made throughout the league.

The 2011 season will include expansion teams in Vancouver and Portland. Both of those teams will be in the Western Conference, meaning the Houston Dynamo will join the Eastern Conference, in a conference re-alignment of sorts.

Playoffs will also include two more teams.

And the regular season increases from 30 to 34 games in 2011, meaning Revs fans will have two more opportunities to see their team at Gillette Stadium.

While at Gillette Stadium, fans will also notice some changes in the venues seating arrangement. There will be a new seating configuration in 2011 that will shorten the size of the sections by 10-15 rows, opening up the seats all around the bowl.

In the past, one entire side of the field was blocked off with a tarp, but that will no longer be the case, beginning with the teams first home game, a week from Saturday against D.C. United.

Also seeing a change in 2011 is the MLS minor league system, which will re-emerge this year. And according to Burns, it will be a good way for the Revolution coaching staff to look at all of the organizations players in a professional environment.

I think one of the big pluses of the reserve league, is the ability for us to use our academy players, said Burns. It makes it a little bit more professional. In the reserve league we had previously, the fact that we were able to call up players off the street, I dont think it really was as professionally done as it could have been.

Whether any of these changes work to help improve the Revolution from their 2010 season remains to be seen. New England captain Shalrie Joseph -- who called out the teams immaturity during last years struggles said on Wednesday that with all the new faces on the team, they still need some more time to get where they want to be.

To this day, we still dont know whos our starting 11, or whos going to be on the field, said Joseph. Thats what teams are about. Youve got to come in every day and work hard, and everybodys competing for those 11 spots. And once we decide whos going to be out there, then we can start working together.

Its definitely going to take some time for us to gel, and to get that team spirit, and that team unity youre going to need to be a good team in this league.

Its a new year. The Revolution hope all those changes make a difference sooner, rather than later.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

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.