Revs seeing red on road trip to Houston

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Revs seeing red on road trip to Houston

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO Saturdays 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake was bad enough. What made it even worse was that the New England Revolution left Gillette Stadium that night, knowing two of their biggest leaders would be unavailable for their next game Sunday night in Houston, against the Dynamo.

The reason? Captain Shalrie Joseph and midfielder Pat Phelan both received second-half straight red cards in Saturdays loss. For those unfamiliar with the sport, a straight red card causes an ejection from the current game, followed by a one-game suspension in the next match.

So while the Revolution find themselves in third place in the Eastern Conference, with just one loss in five games, they also find themselves trying to prepare for the Easts fourth-place team, without Joseph and Phelan in the equation.

We have to obviously make changes there, said Revolution coach Steve Nicol after Wednesdays practice. And the changes we make, were going to have to make sure we solve it. Were away from home, so were going to have to be solid.

Nicol was handling the questions like any coach should. He wasnt trying to come off as if he was in panic mode. And in April, nor should he actually feel that way.

But clearly, the loss of Joseph and Phelan doesnt benefit them in any way, and the lineup that Nicol comes up with for Sunday, wont be the teams best lineup because that lineup would include both Joseph and Phelan.

Still, Nicol doesnt believe hanging their heads over it is the right strategy to have.

Its just one of those things, its about being a good pro, and things happen, Nicol said. But its how you react, that matters most. Obviously were disappointed that we dont have them, but the thing is, we dont. Well move on and organize without them.

Its about professionalism, added Nicol. Things happen over the course of the season, and its really about how you deal with it. We can complain about it, and cry about it all week, and carry that into the game, or we can accept it, and move forward and do something about it.

Houston is just one point behind New England in the standings, and the Dynamo will certainly be licking their chops with the unavailability of Joseph and Phelan.

But the Revolution will see the return of two other players in the process, in A.J. Soares and goalkeeper Matt Reis.

Soares will be available for Sundays game after serving a one-game suspension on Saturday for picking up a red card last Wednesday night in Vancouver.

Reis, on the other hand, has missed the last couple games with a groin injury, and while the goalkeeper hasnt been 100-percent involved this past week at practice, Nicol said on Wednesday that hes hopeful Reis will be 100-percent and playing on Sunday.

Also seeing some action on Sunday will be newly acquired Danish striker Rajko Lekic. The forward signed with the Revs on April 8, and joined the team for training for the first time on Tuesday.

Nicol said he expects the striker to hit the pitch on Sunday.

Im sure hell see the field at some point, said the Revs coach. Were working on some things, so it will depend on a few days to sort things out.

He looks great. Hes a good player, no doubt about that, so we just have to try and make the best use of what he has, and we have to get the ball in the penalty box, so that he can do his stuff.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

DC United tops Revolution 2-0

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DC United tops Revolution 2-0

WASHINGTON -- Lamar Neagle had a goal and an assist to give D.C. United an early lead that stood up in a 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution on Saturday night.

D.C., after being shut out in its two previous games and four of six, opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Luciano Acosta chipped a perfect pass over the defense to the foot of Neagle, who volleyed it in from 10 yards out.

Sean Franklin scored the second goal, his first of the season, when he knocked in Neagle's cross. Albaro Saborio sent a long ball down the right sideline that Neagle ran down and crossed to Franklin for the easy counter.

D.C. (5-6-5) leapfrogged the Revolution (4-5-7) into fifth in the Eastern Conference with its fourth shutout in the last seven games and improved to 2-0-1 in the series this season.

Messi leads Argentina over U.S. 4-0, into Copa America final

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Messi leads Argentina over U.S. 4-0, into Copa America final

HOUSTON — Lionel Messi was too much for the United States to contain.

The five-time world player of the year set up Ezequiel Lavezzi's opening goal in the third minute, then scored on a free kick to break Argentina's career scoring record and assisted on the final goal in a 4-0 rout of the U.S. on Tuesday night that put the La Albiceleste into the Copa America final.

"This was the goal when we got here, to play another final and we made it," Messi said. "We've been spectacular from day one and we deserved this."

After Messi doubled the lead in the 32nd minute with his 55th international goal, his tournament-leading fifth, Gonzalo Higuain quickly ended U.S. comeback hopes when he put the rebound of his initial shot past goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 50th. Higuain scored off a Messi pass in the 86th.

Argentina will seek its first major title since the 1993 Copa — and its first since Messi's debut in 2005 — when it plays Chile or Colombia on Sunday in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

"That's what we hope and what we want, to finally achieve that," Messi said. "We deserve it, for all the good work we've been doing all these years."

It might be missing Lavezzi, who fell backward over an advertising sign board and appeared to land hard on his left arm at about the 60th minute. Lavezzi was able to get up several minutes later and left on a cart.

Hosting a special, expanded 16-nation edition of South America's championship to celebrate Copa America's 100th anniversary, the U.S. won a difficult group that included third-ranked Colombia and then beat No. 13 Ecuador in the quarterfinals. But top-ranked Argentina and Messi, who turns 29 Friday and is at the top of his game, outclassed the U.S. from the opening whistle and stunned the sellout crowd of 70,858 at NRG Stadium.

Messi has helped Barcelona win eight titles in Spain's La Liga and four in the Champions League, but his Argentina trophies have been limited to the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship for players under 20 and the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, mostly for players under 23. La Albiceleste lost to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and to Chile in last year's Copa America final.

The U.S. and coach Jurgen Klinsmann were trying to rebound after getting eliminated by Jamaica in the semifinals of last year's CONCACAF Gold Cup, losing to Mexico in a playoff for a 2017 Confederations Cup berth and struggling in the semifinal round of 2018 World Cup qualifying. The Americans close the tournament Saturday in the third-place match at Glendale, Arizona.

Klinsmann inserted midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Graham Zusi into his lineup along with forward Chris Wondolowski because of suspensions assessed to midfielders Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya, and forward Bobby Wood. In an effort to spark offense, 17-year-old Christian Pulisic entered at the start of the second half, and Steve Birnbaum came on in the 60th for Beckerman, allowing Geoff Cameron to move up to midfield, and Darlington Nagbe replaced Clint Dempsey in the 78th.

Argentina went ahead when Lavezzi played a short corner kick to Ever Banega, who passed back to Lavezzi sprinting from the corner diagonally. Lavezzi beat Fabian Johnson to the ball and poked it to Messi about 25 yards out, in the center of the field. As the U.S. defense started to come out, Messi one-timed a flick with his left foot over the back line to Lavezzi, who got to the ball ahead of Kyle Beckerman about 7 yards from the goal. He headed the ball over Guzan, who had started to come off his line.

Messi doubled the lead after Beckerman slipped and Chris Wondolowski took down Messi, earning a yellow card. Klinsmann screamed at Paraguayan referee Eduardo Cardozo as Messi placed the ball about 26 yards out, a few yards closer to the goal than the foul. After the U.S. set up its wall, Messi bent a beautiful curving drive that went just over Guzan's outstretched left palm and into the upper corner.

Messi moved one ahead Gabriel Batistuta's career total, according to the Argentine Football Association. However, FIFA records Batistuta's total as 56, including two goals in an exhibition against Slovakia in June 1995.

Higuain scored when he burst past John Brooks for Lavezzi's pass and one-timed a shot that Guzan stopped with a diving save, then poked the rebound into an open net. Messi nearly added a goal in the 83rd with a 20-yard shot that Guzan palmed to safety.

Feldman: Terrific goal by Rowe to win the game

Feldman: Terrific goal by Rowe to win the game

Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner break down the New England Revolution’s victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps behind the goals from London Woodberry and Kelyn Rowe.