Slumping Revs still looking for answers on the field

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Slumping Revs still looking for answers on the field

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO They started exactly how they wanted on Sunday in Seattle. Still, the New England Revolution came away with a 2-1 loss to Sounders FC.

Days later, the Revs admit that the same old issues haunted them, extending their winless skid to seven games.

I think on the road, youve just got to stay a little bit more mentally sharp, and we werent able to do that in Seattle, and thats why weve been so unsuccessful at picking up points on the road, said Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph after Wednesdays practice. It takes a split second to make that bad decision, and thats whats been costing us.

The same old mental mistakes, thats whats been killing us.

Those mental mistakes came twice on Sunday, in the form of a Ryan Cochrane collision with Mauro Rosales that set up Seattles first goal on a free kick, and then a lack of communication in the backfield after Kevin Alstons shoe came undone.

We have to be sensible and look at it rationally, said Revs coach Steve Nicol on Wednesday. We certainly didnt deserve to lose the game on Sunday. I dont think anybody would question that. The goals we lost, the first ones a bad decision. Its a great finish, but its a bad decision. And that puts them back in the game.

The second goal, from my point of view, is just a disaster. Kevin Alston lost his shoe. Its not like theres a set thing you do when you bust a boot, but you know, hes trying to run around with his foot hanging out of his boot, and we end up losing a goal because of it.

So when you end up losing the game for two reasons like that, you have to wonder, somebodys going against us here.

Nicol can question the soccer gods all he wants. Fact of the matter is, the Revolution got a much-needed early goal from Sainey Nyassi in the third minute, which took the crowd out of the game. With an early one-goal lead on the road, those mental mistakes became costly on the defensive end, which in turn cost them the game.

If you go 1-up with a minute to go, then its a different ballgame, said Nicol. But when you go 1-up after three minutes, then obviously the home teams going to get at you. Saying that, we didnt let them do that. The game was dead. It was ideal for us. It was exactly what we spoke about before the game. Try and kill the crowd, try and take the heat out of the game. And thats exactly what we did, until the free kick that was given against us, which was just a terrible decision. And that put them back in the game.

But at the same time, we did have some chances that we could have equalized. Obviously we took the lead . . . so its kind of the same-old-same-old, which is getting old for everybody, but facts are facts, and thats pretty much how it was.

Now, the Revolution play four of their next five games on the road. And the points have to start coming soon.

Theres a sense of desperation that we need to start playing better as a team, as a unit, Joseph said. But we need to pick up points too, which is important.

Luckily for the Revs as they stand in dead last place in the Eastern Conference with 15 points nobody else in the conference has necessarily ran away with it, as the first place Philadelphia Union only have 26 points.

At least, an 11-point difference isnt something that scares New England.

That still says that, even though we havent been able to get on track, if we get one or two wins, then we can be right back in the thick of it, Joseph said.

We need to start picking up points, and start playing better as a team.

That starts on Monday night in Salt Lake City.

For us, its about the same as we did every weekend, Nicol said. We want to go there and kill the crowd, kill the game, try and get ourselves ahead again. And this time, hopefully, things will go with us, and will stay that way.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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.