Revolution getting defensive in the preseason

Revolution getting defensive in the preseason

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

The regular season is getting closer, as the New England Revolution wrapped up an 11-day preseason trip to Orlando, Fla., with a 1-0 win over FC Dallas on Wednesday afternoon.

It was the teams third exhibition win and it seems as if Revolution coach Steve Nicols offseason goal of improving defensively has worked in the early stages of preparation for 2011.

Everything we did today was just so much better than what we did in the last couple of preseason games, said Nicol in a postgame conference call on Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Matt Reis and midfielder Chris Tierney were also in on Wednesdays conference call, and both were pleased with the results in Orlando.

Its preseason, so it takes time to get your sharpness back, said Tierney. Today was definitely a step forward in the right direction. I think if we keep progressing at the rate we are now, and keep working on things that Nicol is pushing, keeping the ball and passing, that sort of stuff, then we should continue to progress over the course of this preseason.

Reis believes its still a work in progress, but expressed his desire to get back into the playoffs this season, where he said, anything can happen.

We were on the outside looking in, last year, in terms of postseason play, and we want to change that this year, said Reis.

I have gotten a lot of reps in, which has been, really, the most important thing for me lately, said the Revs goalkeeper. I feel good. Were moving in the right direction.

The Revolution have yet to allow a goal in their preseason games. Their previous two wins came against the University of Central Florida and the U.S. Under-17 National Team, both coming in 2-0 fashion.

Shutting out an actual MLS opponent was the icing on the cake to a road trip that saw several minor injuries, and the dismissal of Shalrie Joseph and Kevin Alston, who were both sent back to New England because of disciplinary reasons.

This is just about getting time on the field, and try to build a little bit of confidence, and then go from there, said Nicol. The next trip is certainly going to be a lot more important than this one is.

The Revs travel to Georgia next week for three more preseason games against the Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo.

Marko Perovic and Kenny Mansally both sat out of Wednesdays game due to muscle strains, but Nicol didnt seem too concerned after the match, saying that the duo will be ready by the time their next preseason game rolls around, and that their injuries are not unusual for soccer players.

As for Joseph and Alston, when asked if there was an update on the specifics of why they were sent home from Orlando, Reis responded, Youll probably have to ask them when you see them.

Nicol was asked about the possibility of adding a new striker to the team before the beginning of the regular season. He acknowledged that, yes, that was currently something he was working on.

Were working away at it, said Nicol. These things take as long as it takes. Its always something, whether its paper work, or whether its somebody that changes their mind.

Were actively trying to bring another striker in. I think we need another one. That will help us . . . Wed like to get it done as soon as we can.

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.