Revs win SuperLiga 2010 opener

Revs win SuperLiga 2010 opener

FOXBORO Rookie forward Zack Schilawski scored the match's only goal with a clever finish in the 18th minute and the New England Revolution kicked off its SuperLiga 2010 campaign in ideal fashion by earning a hard-fought 1-0 win over Mexican Primera Divisin club Pumas UNAM on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.

Marko Perovic provided the service for Schilawskis goal from a corner kick, marking the second time in five days the Serbian midfielder contributed to a Revolution goal via set piece.

Second-year goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth made six saves and got a little help from the crossbar in the 89th minute to record his first professional shutout and secure the win.

Revs head coach Steve Nicol indicated early in the week hed likely shuffle his lineup for SuperLiga and he did just that, as four players who started on the bench in last weekends 2-0 win over the LA Galaxy found themselves in the starting 11 on Wednesday night. Shuttleworth took over between the pipes, while Joseph Niouky, Kenny Mansally and Kheli Dube were all handed starts.

Almost the entire first half was bogged down in midfield, not unsurprisingly considering the slick surface afternoon rain drenched much of the Northeast and the unfamiliarity between the two sides from neighboring domestic leagues. The Revs outshot their Mexican guests by a margin of 5-2 in the opening 45 minutes, but each side managed to direct just two efforts on target.

Although scoring chances were at a premium in the first half, one moment of quality from Schilawski provided a breakthrough as the Revs grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute. Perovic delivered an in-swinging corner kick from the right and Schilawski broke free of his marker at the back post before acrobatically rising to poke the ball just inside the post.

Both teams responded to the sluggish pace of the first half by making an attack-minded substitution at the break. The Revs introduced speedy winger Sainey Nyassi in place of Mansally, while Pumas brought on Martin Bravo to replace Jehu Chiapas.

The changes appeared to provide the necessary spark for both sides as the second half began at a breakneck pace. Perovic forced Pumas goalkeeper Sergio Benal into a smart save with a long-range drive in the 46th minute, while Shalrie Joseph (53rd minute) and Niouky (55th minute) both went close with similar long-distance shots.

Pumas began to push the tempo in the attacking third as well, and the Mexicans appeared to level the score in the 52nd minute. Just seven minutes after entering the game, Bravo buried a back-post header only to see the goal ruled out for offside, although replays indicated he mightve been level with the last defender.

The visitors continued to threaten as they pressed for an equalizer and twice came close in the 71st and 73rd minutes. First, defender Marco Palacios was left open in the box for a free header but looped his effort over the bar, while Bravo followed that chance up two minutes later with a low shot which skidded just past the post.

Pumas had one final chance to pull level and the Mexican side came so close to doing so in the 89th minute. Israel Castros 25-yard shot clipped Joseph and the new trajectory wrong-footed Shuttleworth, but the ball struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced away before the Revs goalkeeper corralled the ball to end the threat.

The group stage of SuperLiga 2010 will continue this weekend when the Revs visit MLS rival Chicago Fire on Saturday, July 17. Kickoff from Toyota Park is set for 7 p.m. ET.

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.