Revolution 'playing for their jobs'


Revolution 'playing for their jobs'

By Danny Picard Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- Emotions are running high in the New England Revolutionlocker room these days. Thats what happens when you go two full months withouta win.

The Revolution are in dead last place in the EasternConference, and didnt help themselves out on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium,losing to the Philadelphia Union 3-0, and extending the Revs winless skid tonine games.

Its the type of stretch that goalkeeper Matt Reis calledthe worst experience of his soccer career. And if it doesnt improve soon,things could get even uglier in New England.

I think everybody needs to realize that theyre playing fortheir jobs, said Reis after Sunday nights loss. Its their livelihood. Ithink everybodys out here thinking everythings great and everythings fun. Inthe end, if we keep sucking like this, then guys are going to be out of jobs.

Revolution coach Steve Nicol said after the game that theteam needs some new faces and that New England was close to acquiring a pairof players over the weekend, until those deals fell through at the last minute.

In the meantime, the Revs must improve on the basics,something that they didnt do well with on Sunday. Its a domino effect thatscaused by a lack of heart and determination.

It was like watching a bunch of schoolboys, said Nicol.

We talked before the game of growing a pair, Nicollater added. And that doesnt mean you can run around kicking people andfighting people. That means that you do the basics well, and you do your ownjob well.

Philadelphia put the game out of reach in the first half,when Carlos Ruiz and Carlos Valdes scored in the 12th and 24th minutes,respectively. Both goals were the results of a lack of communication on theback end, leading to wide-open bids out front.

When you dont pick up your man, what do you expect isgoing to happen when you do stuff like that, said Nicol. So real basics.

Weve been like that for most of the season. We haventdone the basics of the game well. Every successful team and every team thatwins games, at the very least, they do the basics well, and then they add theirown quality on top of that.

We really have to get on the same page, said Reis. Wevegot guys doing two different things. Were losing goals on set pieces. Werejust very uninspired out there. We didnt show all the stuff that we needed todo. We didnt fight. And all in all, it was a terrible game.

Part of that lack of communication was caused by the absenceof Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph, who was suspended for Sunday nights gamebecause of yellow card accumulation.

Shalrie will open his mouth, and hell get people in placeswhere they should be, said Nicol. So when you dont have that, andeverybodys kind of relying on somebody else, guys need to take responsibility,and we didnt do that in the first half.

Now, Benny Feilhaber will be missing from Wednesdays matchin Washington D.C., after he was ejected from Sundays match on a pair ofyellow cards.

Still, the Revolution can no longer afford to playschoolboy football. And that starts with whats inside their chests.

We need to see whats inside them, said Nicol. Its aboutheart as well. Having ability and all those other things is fantastic, but ifyou dont have the heart for a fight, then you dont have a heart to fight foryourself or your teammates.

So thats what well see on Wednesday. Its time to stepforward and let everybody know what youre made of.

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

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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.