Revs close season with draw

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Revs close season with draw

TORONTO Monsef Zerka and Milton Caraglio scored either side of halftime and Benny Feilhaber assisted on both goals as the New England Revolution closed out its 2011 season with a 2-2 draw in a Saturday afternoon meeting with Toronto FC at BMO Field.

It was the final game of the season for both the Revs (5-16-13, 28 pts.) and TFC (6-13-15, 33 pts.), neither of which qualified for the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Nick Soolsma gave Toronto an early lead with the games opening goal in the 20thminute before the Revs jumped ahead courtesy of strikes from Zerka (41stminute) and Caraglio (46thminute). New England carried its advantage into the late stages, but Danny Koevermans scored his eighth goal of the season in the 83rdminute to pull the hosts level and provide the final score line.

There was just one change to the Revolution lineup which suffered a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew last weekend at Gillette Stadium. Danish forward Rajko Lekic who missed three games with a sprained left ankle returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Sept. 16 in place of the injured Diego Fagundez (concussion).

New England started on the front foot and almost made an early breakthrough in the 10thminute. Feilhabers in-swinging cross from the left wing was missed by the cutting Zerka, but the attempt ended up on frame and forced a lunging save out of TFC goalkeeper Milos Kocic.

It was Toronto which opened the scoring, however, as Soolsma notched his third goal of the season to put the hosts up 1-0 in the 20thminute. Koevermans was played into the left side of the box, where he delivered a low cross to the near post for Soolsma, who arrived ahead of his marker and finished with a first-time shot.

Soolsma almost had a second just four minutes later when he burst into the right side of the box, but New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth came up with a big save to deny the rising effort.

Zerka ultimately pulled the Revs level before halftime, recording his second goal of the season in the 41stminute to knot the score at 1-1. Feilhaber was the provider from a set piece as his corner kick was whipped to the near post, where Zerka sent a flashing header off the hands of Kocic and just under the crossbar.

Feilhaber was the setup man again just moments after the second half began as the Revs took a 2-1 lead in the 46thminute. The U.S. National Team midfielder capitalized on a turnover and worked his way down the right wing before playing a low cross to the back post, where Caraglio slid in to finish into the empty net.

The Revs almost found a third in the 67thminute when Zerka unleashed a volley from 25 yards out, but Kocic was at full stretch to push the shot away from danger. Kocic then repeated the feat in the 76thminute, kicking away Zerkas low effort.

TFCs goalkeepers heroics proved vital in the 83rdminute, when Koevermans popped up to score the equalizer. Torsten Frings sprayed the ball wide to substitute Eric Avila, who whipped an in-swinging cross into the box from the left wing. The service found its way through the box to Koevermans, who tapped home from close range at the back post.

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.