Shorthanded Revs shut out in Houston

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Shorthanded Revs shut out in Houston

Special to CSNNE.com

HOUSTON, Texas Defender Hunter Freeman scored the only goal of the game in the 86th minute as the Houston Dynamo defeated the New England Revolution, 1-0, Sunday night at Robertson Stadium.

Freemans goal concluded a bizarre sequence in which Cam Weavers initial header struck the crossbar and bounced straight up into the air and fell directly on the goal line, where Freeman was on hand to bundle the ball into the net. It ruined an otherwise stellar night for Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis, who made seven saves upon his return to the lineup.

The victory helped the Dynamo (2-1-2, 8 points) leapfrog the Revolution (1-2-3, 6 pts.) into a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference. It was the Revs second straight shutout loss after suffering their first setback of the season last weekend against Real Salt Lake.

Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph and central midfield partner Pat Phelan were unavailable while serving one-game suspensions for red cards received last weekend against RSL, while left back Didier Domi (left hamstring strain) missed out because of injury. Meanwhile, Reis resumed his starting duties after missing two games because of a right adductor strain, while rookie A.J. Soares returned from suspension to partner Franco Coria in central defense.

In response to the circumstances, coach Steve Nicol trotted out a makeshift 4-3-3 lineup at Robertson Stadium. Usual center back Darrius Barnes started at left back, the versatile Chris Tierney partnered Stephen McCarthy and Zak Boggs in midfield, and Danish forward Rajko Lekic made his MLS debut alongside Marko Perovic and Zack Schilawski.

Houston almost opened the scoring in just the fourth minute, with the Dynamos attack predictably running through Brad Davis down the left wing. Davis took a powerful long-range shot which Reis saved, but the rebound spilled to Will Bruin 12 yards from goal. The rookies low effort beat Reis, but Soares was positioned on the line to make a lunging clearance.

Bruin threatened again in the 12th minute when he wriggled free to meet Davis corner kick, but he directed his header over the bar from six yards out. Five minutes later the former Indiana forward was at it again, pushing another header wide from close range after Weavers left-wing cross.

The pressure continued to mount and Reis was called upon to make a fine reaction save on Bobby Boswells free header in the 22nd minute.

After weathering the early storm Houston fired 13 shots in the opening 45 minutes the Revs slowly worked themselves into the action as the game progressed, eventually reaching the halftime break scoreless.

But just as the hosts pressed early in the first half, they did so again in the early stages of the second half. Boswell threatened twice in the 57th and 58th minutes, first seeing his rolling effort cleared off the line by Schilawski although Dynamo players claimed the ball crossed the line before hitting the right post just one minute later.

Bruin continued his quest for a goal when he was put through in the 73rd minute, but Reis charged off his line to make a leg save.

Coria almost caught Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall napping in the 76th minute, but his audacious effort from well inside his own half drifted harmlessly over the bar.

Houston finally made the breakthrough with less than five minutes remaining. Davis corner kick was met well by Weaver, whose header ricocheted off the crossbar and high into the air. As the ball came down, Freeman jostled with Reis and eventually pushed the ball over the line to hand the Dynamo all three points.

The Revs will host Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, April 23 at Gillette Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

Lionel Messi says he is quitting Argentina national team

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Lionel Messi says he is quitting Argentina national team

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Lionel Messi says he is quitting Argentina's national team.

Argentina and Messi lost a final for the third year in a row, with Chile winning the Copa America 4-2 on penalty kicks following a 0-0 tie Sunday night.

His nation's career scoring leader with 55 international goals, Messi sent Argentina's first penalty kick over the crossbar.

Messi tells the Argentine network TyC Sports "the national team is over for me. It's been four finals, it's not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over."

Messi and Argentina lost to Brazil in the 2007 Copa final and to Germany in extra time in the 2014 World Cup final. They lost last year's Copa final to host Chile on penalty kicks.

The 29-year-old Messi has led Barcelona to four Champions League titles.

Chile wins 2nd straight Copa America title as Messi misses

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Chile wins 2nd straight Copa America title as Messi misses

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Lionel Messi still awaits his first title with Argentina's national team.

Messi put his penalty kick over the crossbar, Francisco Silva converted Chile's shootout finale and La Roja won their second straight Copa America title by beating Argentina 4-2 on penalty kicks following a 0-0 tie Sunday night.

Playing two days after his 29th birthday, Messi lost a final for the third year in a row following an extra-time defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup and a penalty-kicks loss to host Chile in last year's Copa America. The five-time FIFA Player of the Year has won four Champions League titles and eight La Liga crowns with Barcelona, but has never taken a trophy with Argentina's senior team.

For its 100th anniversary, South America's championship was expanded to 16 nations and played in the United States, and Argentina was hoping to win its first major title since 1993.

In an ill-tempered match that included an ejection on each side and eight yellow cards, the match was scoreless through regulation and 30 minutes of extra time, with Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain missing a clear goal-scoring opportunity for the third straight final. Argentina outshot Chile 16-4 and La Roja collapsed three, four and even five defenders around the bearded Messi, then chopped down the diminutive attacker when he tried to accelerate toward the goal.

Messi, who scored five goals in the tournament, had a free kick 28 yards out in the 115th minute after Francisco SIlva fouled him, but the ball deflected off the wall and over the crossbar. Messi's 35-yard free kick was headed on target by Aguero in the 10th minute of extra time, and Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo jumped extended his right hand to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved the opening kick by Arturo Vidal, and up stepped Messi, the best player of his generation and considered alongside Brazil's Pele and Argentina's Diego Maradona as the sport's greatest ever. While he won the titles at the under-20 and Olympic (under-23) levels for Argentina, in the minds of many he needs a title with his nation's senior team to solidify his place as one of the greats.

Messi sent his shot over Bravo — his Barcelona teammate — and into the stands. Messi turned, bowed his head and clenched both fists in frustration.

Nicolas Castillo and Charles Aranguiz converted their kicks for Chile, and Javier Mascherano and Sergio Aguero made theirs, leaving the teams tied 2-2 after three rounds.

Jean Beausejour put Chile ahead, and Bravo dived to his right, saving Lucas Biglia's shot and bringing up Silva, a 30-year-old midfielder. Messi briefly pulled his jersey of his face, as if not wanting to watch.

Romero dived to his left and the shot went in to his right, giving Chile another title.

Messi crouched over, as if in pain, then got up, took off his captain's armband and walked to the bench, where he was consoled by Angel Di Maria. After Messi came back on the field, Aguero put a hand on one of Messi's shoulders. And new FIFA President Gianni Infantino gave Messi a pat on the back when Messi came onto the podium with his teammates for his second-place medal. Messi almost immediately took it off.

It was the fourth final loss for Messi, who also played for Argentina in its penalty-kicks loss to Brazil in the 2004 final.

A crowd of 82,076 at MetLife Stadium — the largest to see a soccer game in New Jersey — raised the tournament total to just under 1.48 million. The average of 46,119, nearly double the 25,223 in Chile last year, will be used by the U.S. Soccer Federation as evidence it deserves to host a World Cup again, likely as part of a bid for the 2026 tournament.

Brazilian referee Heber Lopes became the focus in the first half, ejecting a pair of defenders: Chile's Marcelo Diaz in the 28th minute and Argentina's Marcos Rojo in the 43rd. After issuing six yellow cards during a World Cup qualifier between the nations in March, Lopes handed out eight yellows, including one to Messi for diving in the 40th minute, and the two reds.

Diaz got his first yellow for hacking down Messi about 28 yards out in the 16th minute, then got his second for obstructing a charging Messi about 30 yards out. Rojo received a straight red when he slid into Arturo Vidal from behind and poked away the ball, but Vidal's leg bent awkwardly under his body as he fell.

Higuain had the best first-half chance in the 21st minute when he picked up a giveaway from Gary Medel, dribbled in and chipped the ball over Bravo only to have it roll wide of the far post. It was almost the exact time he broke in alone during the World Cup final against Germany and also shot wide. Higuain also missed a tap-in of Ezequiel Lavezzi's cross during the final minute of regulation in last year's final, then sent his penalty kick during the shootout over the crossbar.

Revolution shut out by D.C. United, 2-0

Revolution shut out by D.C. United, 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.