Revs happy to earn a point in Los Angeles

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Revs happy to earn a point in Los Angeles

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

So far, so good.

It wasnt a win to open the season, but the New England Revolution began the 2011 campaign on Sunday with the next best thing: a draw on the road against one of the leagues best teams.

In fact, the Revs got off to their second-fastest start in club history, when Shalrie Josephs header in the third minute of Sundays 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy gave the Revs an early 1-0 lead, even though Steve Nicols squad began the game in a 4-5-1 formation, which stressed an early defensive stand.

But Marko Perovics second-effort on a corner kick that never made it to the goal, found Joseph at the back post, who used his head to put New England up 1-0.

Because Perovic the Revs leading goal scorer from 2010 left the season-opener in the 22nd minute with a hamstring injury, New England focused strictly on defense for the rest of the game. And while allowing the tying goal in the 39th minute, the Revolution were happy to leave Los Angeles with a point to open the 2011 campaign.

It feels good starting the first game of the season getting a point on the road against a huge team like L.A., said Joseph.

The draw snapped a six-game losing skid for the Revs in the Pacific and Mountain time zones, as they went 0-6-0 last season on the West Coast. And even though they werent able to hold onto a 1-0 lead in some nasty weather on Sunday night, the vibe in the locker room is still a positive one.

I think the manner in which we did it was a team effort, said Nicol. We were in good shape, we defended well, we picked good spots. We are unlucky not to score more than one goal.

Nicol believes his team got what they deserved on Sunday. Thats not necessarily a bad thing. And everybody will agree, Josephs early goal was huge for the teams confidence. But also, finishing with a tie against a team like the Galaxy, in L.A.s home, is even bigger for the teams psyche to start a year in which the Revs are trying to get back to the playoffs, after missing out on the postseason last year.

Its always good to get a point on the road, said goaltender Matt Reis, who made six saves in Sundays season opener. If you look at it at the end of the year, if you get a point out of every road game, that is great.

The Revolution will look to build on that confidence with two consecutive home games, beginning with their home opener on Saturday against the D.C. United, followed by a game against the expansion Portland Timbers on Saturday, April 2.

New England enters Saturdays match with a four-game unbeaten streak against United, a streak that last over the last two seasons.

This time around, the Revs will have to face a United club that opened their season on an even more positive note, as they scored three second-half goals over the weekend to defeat the Columbus Crew in D.C.

While injuries are still preventing Nicol to play certain impact players at their usual positions, if the players that are available were good enough to earn a point in Los Angeles over the weekend, it should be enough to at least do the same at home, and build off of the second-fastest start in club history.

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.