Revs 'disappointed' with tie vs. Timbers

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Revs 'disappointed' with tie vs. Timbers

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- Steve Nicol walked into his postgame press conference, and grabbed a seat in the front row, right leg crossed, and left arm resting on the back of the chair next to him.

It was as if to say, "You guys will probably have more answers than me."

The New England Revolution coach eventually made his way up to the podium, and gave his analysis of Saturday night's 1-1 draw with the expansion Portland Timbers at Gillette Stadium.

From the outside, it would seem that the Revs would be happy with their fifth point in three games to begin the regular season with a big fat zero in the loss column.

But take a stroll through the New England locker room after Saturday's draw, and you'll find nothing but disappointment, even from rookie Stephen McCarthy, who scored his first career goal in the 22nd minute, putting the Revolution up 1-0.

"It feels good, but it's bittersweet, since we kind of didn't play too great," said McCarthy after the draw.

The Revs were flat, even before McCarthy's low blast from the top of the box beat Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson after hitting him in the hands. And as Nicol pointed out several times after the game, their passing was the biggest issue on Saturday night.

"The bottom line is, we didn't pass the ball well," said Nicol. "It didn't matter who we played tonight. We didn't pass the ball well at all, all night. And when that happens, you'll really struggle. And we did.

"It certainly had nothing to do with how we prepared," added Nicol. "We had a good week . . . But yet, tonight we can't do it. So it probably is about mental stuff, which happens. But at the same time, the bottom line is, we're disappointed. We wanted three points at home, not one. But considering how things went, we did pick something up, so we should be grateful for that."

Grateful, yes. But pleased, absolutely not. And nobody in the Revolution locker room will tell you, but the fact that this draw came against a winless expansion team, is unacceptable.

The disappointment didn't stem from a draw "at home" or a "lack of three points." It came from a draw against a winless, expansion Timbers club that just so happened to be at home, resulting in only one point.

How else would you describe the team's joy after a draw in Los Angeles to open the season. Sure, getting that point on the road had something to do with their happiness. But because it was a draw against one of the league's top teams, it was a solid point.

A point against one of the league's worst teams, is anything but.

Portland forced a point out of the match by tying things up at 1-1 in the 38th minute, when Jack Jewsbury put a low shot to the far, right side of the net, from just outside the box.

Timbers midfielder Jeremy Hall picked up a loose ball at the top of the box, and tapped it over to a wide open Jewsbury, who seemingly caught Revs defenders flat-footed.

"If you go right back to the source, where the goal came from, we gave the ball away too easily," said Nicol on Portland's game-tying score. "You encourage people like Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph to get into the penalty box when he can. And when he does, when you give the ball away so cheaply, then it means people are out of position, because guys are making runs for the guy on the ball. And if he gives the ball away, then you're in trouble.

"It was a rotten goal. It wasn't like we got cut up. It was just half a leg short here, and half a leg short there. It was just a horrible goal. I can't sum it up again."

Revolution midfielder Pat Phelan said after the game that he hopes those two points lost don't come back to "bite them in the butt" come playoff time. And considering those two points lost came at the hands of a team that only played two previous MLS games together before Saturday night, that would be a devastating way to miss out on the postseason for the second straight year.

"We're just disappointed all around," said Nicol. "I mean, we did very few good things tonight. I guess, if you're not on your game and you pick up points, then you should be happy. But obviously, we want all three points. We don't want one point."

And they don't want just one point while playing the lowly Timbers.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

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.