Revs washed away by Rapids, 3-0

Revs washed away by Rapids, 3-0

Special to CSNNE.com

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. Omar Cummings and Conor Casey scored first-half goals and former New England Revolution midfielder Wells Thompson added a late insurance tally as the Colorado Rapids rolled to a 3-0 win over the Revs on Saturday night at Dicks Sporting Goods Park.

Jamie Smith had a pair of assists for the Rapids (10-7-7, 37 pts.), who have now won three consecutive home games by a score of 3-0. Meanwhile, the shutout loss was the second straight for the Revolution (7-14-3, 24 pts.), which now travels directly to Texas for a midweek meeting with FC Dallas.

Cummings opened the scoring in the fifth minute with his team-leading 10th goal of the season, but Casey matched him 30 minutes later as he joined his teammate by reaching double digits in goals scored. Thompson who spent three years with the Revs from 2007-09 rounded out the scoring in the 83rd minute with an assist from recently-acquired forward Macoumba Kandji.

The loss extended the Revolutions winless streak in Colorado to nine games (0-6-3) dating back to 2002.

There were three changes to the Revolution side which suffered a 2-0 loss to Chivas USA last weekend at The Home Depot Center. Marko Perovic, Sainey Nyassi and Seth Sinovic all returned to the starting lineup in place of Zack Schilawski, Kheli Dube and Darrius Barnes, respectively.

Colorado began the game entirely on the front foot and it took just five minutes for the hosts to take a deserved 1-0 lead, putting the Revolution a goal behind inside 10 minutes for the second straight week.

Smith, Casey and Brian Mullan all had early chances for the Rapids, but predictably it was the red-hot Cummings who scored his fifth goal in the last four games from an acute angle. Smith was the provider, intercepting a pass from Emmanuel Osei before slipping a clever pass to Cummings in the box. The Jamaican forward made no mistake, calmly slotting a low shot inside the far post.

The Rapids so nearly doubled their lead in the 23rd minute when the dynamic tandem of Casey and Cummings linked up for a one-two outside the box, but Caseys resulting 20-yard blast kicked off the left post and bounced clear.

Casey and Cummings combined again 12 minutes later, however, and this time to deadly effect as the Rapids did claim a 2-0 lead before the halftime break. Smith was again the orchestrator from the left wing, slotting a low pass inside to Cummings, who used his first touch to play Casey into the left side of the box. The hulking forward made no mistake with his effort, blasting a low shot inside the near post.

The Revs began the second half unchanged but immediately improved in possession following the halftime break, and Perovic registered New Englands first shot on goal in the 56th minute with a long-range drive which forced a diving save out of Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens. Nyassi then threatened in the 64th minute, blasting a tight-angle drive which Pickens could only punch away.

Just one minute later Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis made a miraculous save to deny Casey, whose redirection from Cummings low driven cross appeared goal-bound. However, Reis reacted quickly and dove full-stretch to his right to push the effort away.

Reis was called into action once again in the 73rd minute as he denied Kandji, who was aiming for a debut goal after entering as a second-half substitute.

Wide open play continued and five minutes later it was the Revs who went close again, this time second-half substitute Kenny Mansally flashing a left-wing shot across the face of goal. In the 79th minute it was Colorados turn, as Quincy Amarikwa headed wide from six yards out.

The Rapids finally found the dagger in the 83rd minute when Thompson scored his first league goal for his new club against his former team. Thompson dribbled into the left side of the box and cut inside before guiding a low, right-footed shot inside the near post to provide the final score line of 3-0.

The Revs will conclude their two-game road trip on Wednesday, Sept. 22, when they visit FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.

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.

Messi starts, Argentina beats Venezuela 4-1 in Copa America

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Messi starts, Argentina beats Venezuela 4-1 in Copa America

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Lionel Messi had the ball along the sideline, closer to midfield than the goal, in what seemed to be a harmless position.

One well-placed entry pass later, the ball was in the net and Argentina was on its way to a Copa America semifinal matchup with the United States.

"He knows that he's a game-changing player," Argentina coach Geraldo Martino said Saturday night after Messi scored a goal and added two assists to beat Venezuela 4-1.

"Everybody's trying to cancel him. But he knows when to play one against one. He knows when to pass the ball to other players. There may be times when he lets some other player take advantage of this."

Messi's goal in the 60th minute gave Argentina a 3-0 lead and was his 54th in international play, tying the national record set by Gabriel Batistuta, according to Argentina's governing body. The Barcelona star also took over the Copa America scoring lead with his fourth goal despite making his first start of the tournament.

Argentina has two days to rest before playing the U.S. in Houston on Tuesday night. The Americans have been off since beating Ecuador on Thursday.

"I don't think we're too worried about that. We're very focused on our goal," Martino said. "This is not a big deal, the rest time."

With many in the Gillette Stadium wearing No. 10 from Messi's national team and La Liga jerseys, the five-time FIFA Player of the Year started the game after playing a total of just 74 minutes in the three group stage matches. Just eight minutes in, he connected with Gonzalo Higuain on a long entry pass to make it 1-0.

Eight days after recording a hat trick in just 29 minutes against Panama, Messi gathered the ball in at the sideline and lofted a long pass to Higuain, who split two defenders took the ball on a short hop and booted it in.

"We tried to force them to play long balls," Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel said. "They have that stroke of genius that changes all your schemes. They had an incredible pass from Messi, and they scored. When you lose so early in the game, it's almost like a knockout."

Higuain scored again in the 28th to make it 2-0, picking up an errant backpass by Venezuela midfielder Arquimedes Figuera and sidestepping goalkeeper Dani Hernandez before left-footing it into the net.

In the 42nd minute, Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero took out Josef Martinez's legs with a headfirst dive. But on the resulting penalty kick, Luis Seijas tried to scooch it straight up the middle and Romero took a small stutter step to his left before catching it.

Messi made it 3-0 when he took a pass from Nicolas Gaitan just outside the 6-yard box.

Venezuela finally beat Romero in the 70th minute when Salomon Rondon headed the ball in, nicking the post on the way. But Messi assisted again on Erik Lamela's goal a minute later to make it 4-1.

Argentina is 6-2-2 against the U.S., with the teams playing to a 1-1 draw in a 2011 friendly in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The last American win was in a 1999 exhibition in Washington, D.C.

Recovering from a back injury, Messi sat out the group stage opener this year and played just 29 minutes against Panama — but still managed to record a hat trick. He came on as a second-half substitute in the group stage finale against Bolivia on Tuesday.

But Messi played the entire game on Saturday, giving a scare when he was taken down from behind in the penalty box in the first half and was slow to get up.

"We're very happy with the way that he has been evolved, the way that he recovered from his injury," Martino said. "His reinsertion into the team, we really value that, and we're happy to have him in good shape now that we're facing the semifinals."

Martino said he was pleased to see Messi tie the national record, but he would wait to comment on it until the record was broken "and I would like that to happen in the Copa America." With a semifinal and then either a championship or third-place game, that's a good bet.

"I tied it, still haven't broken it," Messi said. "But I'm happy to be next to Bati, with all that means."

Bautista also scored twice in an exhibition against Slovakia in 1995 that is included in FIFA's records but not the national federation's; that would give him 56 goals.

For Venezuela, which finished fourth in the 2011 Copa America, it was a reminder of how far La Vinotinto have to go.

"It's not what we were hoping for, nor what we would imagine," Dudamel said. "We found ourselves watching a very strong team, ranked No. 1, and they have been very unforgiving with our mistakes. When you play an adversary like this, any mistake you make they do not forgive. They just kill you."