Revs advance to SuperLiga semifinals

Revs advance to SuperLiga semifinals

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. The New England Revolution clinched a spot in the SuperLiga 2010 semifinals courtesy of a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night at Toyota Park. Marko Perovic scored the only goal of the game in the 76th minute and goalkeeper Matt Reis made three saves to secure the Revolutions third straight shutout in all competitions.

The victory combined with the 2-2 draw between Monarcas Morelia and Pumas UNAM in the second half of the evenings doubleheader guarantees the Revs a spot in the SuperLiga semifinals for the third straight year. New England won the competition in 2008 and was eliminated by the Fire in the 2009 semifinals.

After the first two group games, the Revolution (2-0-0, 6 pts.) sits on top of Group B ahead of Morelia (1-0-1, 4 pts.), Pumas (0-1-1, 1 pt.) and the Fire (0-2-0, 0 pts.). The Revs will meet Morelia in the final group game on Tuesday, July 20, in a match which will decide whether New England finishes in first or second place in Group B. A win or a draw against Morelia will clinch the top spot for the Revolution, while a loss would mean the Revs would finish second behind Morelia.

The only goal of Saturday nights contest came in the 76th minute, when second-half substitute Kheli Dubes hard work forced a turnover in the attacking third. Perovic pounced on the loose ball and drilled a shot past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson to register his fourth goal of the season in all competitions.

There were two changes to the Revolution lineup which beat Pumas 1-0 on Wednesday night. Reis returned between the pipes in place of Bobby Shuttleworth, while Sainey Nyassi replaced Dube. Nyassi took over his customary right midfield role, while Perovic pushed up into a withdrawn forward position.

Chicago controlled possession in the opening stages and almost capitalized with the games first quality chance in the 12th minute. Mike Banner connected on a 25-yard shot which comfortably beat Reis, but the effort struck the face of the left post and the Revs were able to clear the ball to safety.

After absorbing the early pressure, the Revs slowly began to work themselves into the game and found much of their success down the right wing. In the 28th minute, Nyassi used a couple quick stepovers to burst past his defender and into the box, but his low cross from the endline was cut out by Johnson. Right back Kevin Alston followed that up with a 20-yard shot a few moments later, but his effort was hit directly at Johnson.

The Fire responded and almost grabbed a halftime lead through Marco Pappa in first-half stoppage time. Pappa who scored the lone goal when the Fire defeated the Revs 1-0 on June 27 at Gillette Stadium ran onto a long pass and broke into the right side of the box, but his curling effort toward the far post was just off the mark.

While New England began the second half with the same 11 players who started the match, Chicago made three substitutions at the break. Brian McBride, Justin Mapp and Tim Ward all came on, while Corben Bone, Krzysztof Krol and Steven Kinney went to the bench.

Mapp almost made an immediate contribution as Pappa found him free at the back post in the 54th minute, but the halftime substitutes header looped over the bar.

Revolution head coach Steve Nicol didnt wait long to dip into his available substitutes, inserting Khano Smith (62nd minute), Dube (65th minute) and Pat Phelan (69th minute) while taking off Kenny Mansally, Zack Schilawski and Joseph Niouky.

Dube was lively from the moment he entered the game and although it wont show up in the box score, it was his tireless work which led to Perovics goal in the 76th minute. Just one minute after almost scoring himself, the Zimbabweans harassment of Fire defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe forced a turnover 30 yards from goal. Perovic was the recipient of the loose ball, and he made Chicago pay by depositing a left-footed shot inside the right post.

Desperate for a result to keep its hopes of a semifinal berth alive, the Fire pushed for an equalizer but never seriously threatened late in the match and the Revs held on for their first win in Chicago since 2006.

SuperLiga 2010&8232;New England Revolution (2-0-0, 6 pts.) at Chicago Fire (0-2-0, 0 pts.)&8232;July 17, 2010 Toyota Park (Bridgeview, Ill.)

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.