Revs' win 'all about heart'


Revs' win 'all about heart'

FOXBORO -- It took one of the hottest teams in the league. That's it.
The Columbus Crew entered Gillette Stadium on Wednesday night having won four straight games and they hadn't lost in six.
The New England Revolution, on the other hand, were desperately looking to snap a 10-game winless skid in which they had an 0-7-3 record.
And on Wednesday night, the Revs did just that, defeating the Crew 2-0.
"It was a good result for us," said a somewhat relieved Revolution coach Jay Heaps after the win. "It was nice to kind of end this unbeaten streak, to be honest with you. It was just a tough road, but I think the guys came out tonight and played really well. We showed a lot of heart."
At the end of the day, that's all this one was about. It was about heart. And the Revolution had it throughout the game.
"There wasn't much more than a lot of guys playing with a lot of heart, and knowing that it's not easy to go out there when you've had the run we've been on, and the luck that hasn't gone our way," said Heaps. "I was really happy with the way the guys showed up tonight."
Dimitry Imbongo put New England up 1-0 in the 53rd minute when he put home a loose ball into an open net as a Diego Fagundez shot off the right post bounced out front.
"I thought Imbongo was excellent tonight," said Heaps. "He worked hard, he battled Chad Marshall who is, arguably, one of the best center backs in the league and the best player in the air. And I thought Dimitry just absolutely met him, challenge for challenge and step for step. It was a really good game for Imbongo."
Marshall gave the Revs a 2-0 lead, yes, Marshall. He headed an own-goal over Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum's head and into his own net in the 74th minute.
It was just another sign of New England's gritty game plan taking shape.
"Columbus is a rhythm team, and we never really let them get into a rhythm, and that was important," said Heaps. "I've preached it the whole time, it starts with our forwards, and how they play, defensively, and they really worked hard. That kind of sets the tone for the rest of the group."
But again, mostly, this one was about heart. And having not tasted history since July 8, the Revolution simply just out-worked the Crew all game long.
"That's what it's all about, back to basics," said Chris Tierney. "We've got to grind it out at this point. First and foremost, win the physical battles, win the one-on-one matchups, be tough to play against. It wasn't always the prettiest tonight, but we'll take ugly and a win over playing pretty soccer and losing games.
"It's a monkey off our back," added Tierney. "That was definitely weighing us down. We know we're a better team and are capable of being much higher on the table and picking up more points than we have thus far. So, it feels good to prove yourself again against a good team in Columbus."

Jurgen Klinsmann fired as coach of United States soccer team


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.