Revolution searching for more scoring, motivation

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Revolution searching for more scoring, motivation

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO Steve Nicol wasnt at Gillette Stadium on Thursday morning. The New England Revolution coach was on his way back from Europe as his team practiced under the watchful eye of assistant coach Steve Myles.

Myles playfully described Nicols trip as a holiday. But even he knew that wasnt true.

Nicol wasnt playing games when he called out the Revolution following Saturday nights 0-0 draw with the Colorado Rapids. He meant what he said when he threatened to go out and acquire another attacking midfielder or forward.

Threat may seem like a strong word, but Nicol knew what he was doing. And Revolution players knew why he was in Europe. He was scouting, in preparation to make a move before this summers transfer window closed.

Its a move that Nicol said the team needed to make after being shut-out for the second straight game on Saturday. And as serious as he was, perhaps he also had another plan: motivation.

If they arent, then they shouldnt be in the game, said Myles, when asked if Nicols postgame message motivated his players to step it up, offensively. If theyre taking notice of what people are saying, then at the end of the day, youve got to be looking over your shoulder, saying, Well, Im going to make sure, if they do bring anybody in, he aint gonna be taking my spot.

The fellas should be looking over their shoulder and saying, Im going to be making sure Im doing my best, to keep my position. And if everybody does that, obviously the whole level of the team rises.

Thats part of the plan, at least. The other part of the plan, is to actually acquire another creative piece, in the absence of Marko Perovic, who didnt train this week because of a left knee injury.

Without him, Revs have struggled in the final third.

Marko is definitely our most creative player, said Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph after Thursdays practice. Not having him out there has definitely been a huge loss to everybody.

Hes disappointed, were disappointed, said Myles. Hes one of our creative players. So anytime youre missing that type of quality on the team, obviously it affects the team.

But, in saying that, if somebodys out, then its somebody elses fortune to take his place, and make sure they do the right things. We cant dwell on that. Weve got to get on with it, get on with what weve got, and try to do the best we can with what weve got.

Nicols message after Saturdays scoreless draw was directed towards everybody. But even more so to Joseph and recently acquired attacking midfielder Benny Feilhaber.

Those are the two players that need to step up. Both had golden opportunities on Saturday. Joseph was robbed of a header with a fantastic hand save. Feilhaber hit the cross bar.

Tough breaks for both players, sure. But its that inability to finish in the final third, that has haunted the Revolution this season.

Both heard Nicols latest message. Both are motivated to take charge in Perovics absence.

I think me and Benny are being a little bit more offensive minded, and getting on the ball, said Joseph. Weve got to find ways to create more chances and be a little bit more deceptive on the ball, especially in the second third.

We take it as a personal challenge. Coach was just calling us to step up as being team leaders.

Guys have to realize, its a business, said Joseph. Theres 11 spots to start out there, and youve got to work hard to be in the first 11. So if you want to keep your job, youve got to put the work in, week in and week out. Its important that, whoever he brings in, comes in and adds to our team. We cant just bring in somebody thats not good enough to make our team better.

Danny Picard is onTwitter 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.