Wizards cast spell over Revs 4-1

Wizards cast spell over Revs 4-1

KANSAS CITY, Kan. Converted defensive midfielder Birahim Diop scored two goals and added one assist in his first career appearance at forward, while Kei Kamara registered one goal and two assists as the Kansas City Wizards claimed a crucial 4-1 win over the New England Revolution on Saturday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

Diop scored the games first two goals within the opening 30 minutes on the first two shots of his MLS career before Kenny Mansallys third goal of the season briefly cut the deficit to 2-1 going into the halftime break. Kamara stretched the lead to 3-1 in the 65th minute, however, before Jack Jewsbury put the result beyond doubt with the Wizards fourth goal in the 69th minute.

With the loss, the Revs (6-11-3, 21 pts.) finished their two-game road trip with zero points after a 2-1 setback to the Chicago Fire on Wednesday night. Prior to this road swing, the Revolution was on an eight-game unbeaten streak in all competitions. Meanwhile, the Wizards (6-9-5, 23 pts.) are now 3-1-2 in their last six games and have leapfrogged the Revs in the Eastern Conference standings.

New Englands road woes continued, as the club is now 1-8-1 away from Gillette Stadium this season. The loss also extended the Revolutions winless run against the Wizards to six games (0-5-1), dating back to 2008.

The Revs began the match in a 3-5-2 formation for the first time this season, a notable departure from the customary 4-4-2 setup. In addition to the formation switch, head coach Steve Nicol also made two personnel changes following Wednesday nights loss in Chicago; Khano Smith and Mansally came into the side, while Chris Tierney and Emmanuel Osei went to the bench. Both Kevin Alston (L hamstring strain) and Cory Gibbs (L ankle sprain) overcame minor injuries to keep their places on the backline, although Alston was replaced by Osei in the 39th minute after re-aggravating his strained hamstring.

Kansas City pressed from the opening whistle and it took a fantastic save from Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis to keep the game scoreless in the third minute. English winger Ryan Smith burst into the left side of the box and released a low shot, but Reis charged off his line to smother the attempt.

Reis early save only served to delay the opening goal, however, as the Wizards took a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute through Diop. Kamara played a clever ball over the top of the Revs backline to spring Diop, who narrowly beat the offside trap before calmly slotting a left-footed shot past the onrushing Reis.

Diop doubled the Wizards advantage in the 27th minute, out-jumping Alston on a back-post header and directing his effort inside the left post. Kamara was the set-up man once again, receiving a throw-in down the right wing and wriggling free of Barnes to deliver the killer ball into the box.

Despite being outplayed through much of the first half, the Revs pulled one back in the 37th minute to cut the deficit to 2-1 heading into the break. Smiths charging run down the left wing finished with a well-placed cross into the feet of Mansally, who used two touches to release a shot from the left side of the box. Mansallys effort was deflected by Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad on its way toward goal, giving Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen no chance.

The Revolution had a great chance to equalize in the 56th minute when Marko Perovic was given the opportunity to stand over a free kick on the left wing. Perovics service to the back post found Shalrie Joseph, who headed the ball back toward the penalty spot. The ball fell to Gibbs 12 yards from goal, but the defenders effort was blasted over the bar.

New England was left to rue its missed chance as Diop and Kamara combined to score the Wizards third goal in the 65th minute. Diop was the provider on this occasion, slipping a low cross from the right wing into the path of Kamara, who used a clever finish to guide the ball under Reis.

The hosts made it 4-1 just four minutes later, taking advantage of a mistake at the back by Osei. The Ghanaian defender misplayed a back-pass to Reis, who was forced to charge off his line under pressure from Smith. Reis got to the ball but could only play it into the path of Jewsbury, who finished into the empty net from 20 yards out.

It couldve been five in the 77th minute if not for a fantastic save by Reis, who stuffed Jewsbury after he was played through on goal by Davy Arnaud, but the save merely limited the damage on a night the Revolution would like to forget.

With their two-game road trip complete, the Revs will now return home for their next three games, beginning with a visit from the expansion Philadelphia Union on Saturday, Aug. 28. Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.

NOTES:
With the loss, the Revs dropped their regular-season record against the Wizards to 11-20-8 overall, and 6-10-3 in Kansas City it was New Englands third straight loss at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
For the first time in 2010, the Revs deployed a 3-5-2 formation to start the game, using a backline of Kevin Alston, Cory Gibbs and Darrius Barnes Khano Smith slotted into the left midfield spot with Shalrie Joseph and Pat Phelan patrolling the central midfield, while Sainey Nyassi was on the right wing Marko Perovic was in the playmaking spot ahead of the midfield, while Iljia Stolica and Kenny Mansally were up front.
Kenny Mansally made his third start of the season, all three at forward
Khano Smith returned to the starting lineup for the fifth time this season and for the fourth time at left midfield.
The Revs surrendered more than one goal in back-to-back games in MLS games for the first time since May 29 (3-2 win over New York) and June 5 (3-0 loss at Seattle) on Wednesday, the Revs surrendered two goals at Chicago in the 2-1 loss.
Kenny Mansally scored his third goal of the season, and his first since he potted two goals in the second match of the year on April 3 at D.C. he went 17 scoreless games between his tallies.
Khano Smith registered his first assist of 2010 on Kenny Mansallys goal, and his 12th career regular-season assist in MLS.
The Revolution has scored at least one goal in five straight MLS games, a season high including all competitions, the Revs are on a 10-match scoring streak.
The loss marked the third time this season the Revs gave up four or more goals in MLS action the team surrendered four goals in a 4-0 loss on May 5 against Chivas USA and five goals in 5-0 loss at Real Salt Lake on July 2.
Kevin Alston departed the game in the 39th minute with a left hamstring strain.

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.