By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; You could categorize the New England Revolutions 4-1 friendly loss toManchester United Wednesday night as two different matches.
On one hand, they allowed four goalsin the second half, and let their usual mental mistakes get in the way.
On theother hand, though, the Revs usual starting 11 held one of the worlds best club teamsto zero goals.
So the Revolution can take something from bothhalves, both positive and negative, heading into Sundays league match with thePhiladelphia Union, which New England coach Steve Nicol described as huge.
I think what we can take from this is that we moved theball well, we created some chances here, and most importantly, we had the confidenceagainst a team of that caliber, said Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph.Defensively, we were solid in the first half with our starting 11, but itsthe same old story with us. Just mental mistakes. And you cant do that with ateam like that. Theyll punish you, and tonight they did that.
We dont stay concentrated, to be honest about it. We dontstay concentrated for 90 minutes, and when you do that, you make mistakes, yougive up goals, you give up balls . . . You cant do that against a team likeManchester United."
Jospeh was on the field for all 90 minutes on Wednesdaynight, unlike nine other Revolution starters, who were substituted out of thegame either during or after halftime. Joseph played the entire game because heis suspended for Sundays match with yellow card accumulation.
Its a big loss for the Revs, who are looking to snap aneight-game league winless skid. Nicol said after the loss that if Joseph wasntsuspended, he would have been substituted out, just like the others.
We knew it would cause us some problems, said Nicol on thehalftime substitutions. But we had to do it, to look after ourselves onSunday.
And the substitutions did cause New England some problems,because Manchester United took over for a 30-minute span in the second half,scoring four goals and giving the fans at Gillette Stadium something excitingto watch.
But it would be easy to look at those four second-half goalsas a negative. At first glance, it looks like the same old Revs. But takeinto consideration that New England had mostly backups playing in the secondhalf including goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and youll see that Wednesdaynight should be more encouraging than anything else, given the scoreless firsthalf.
Were happy with the way things went in the first half,said Nicol. I thought we were pretty solid, defended well . . . Were playingagainst players who, at the end of the day, are smarter between the ears thanyour average player. I thought we did that well.
Youre playing against one of the best teams in the world,so its just good to be out there, challenging yourself against that kind ofcompetition, Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber said. It was really fun. Ithought we did really well in the first half. I didnt think they dominated thegame in the first half. I thought we had our chances, we had some possession.
Overall, it was good, and then obviously they turned it upa notch in the second half. To be honest, I think the first three goals, wecould have done better at. The fourth goal, they played tic-tac-toe on us inthe box. That was a great goal.
If we play the way we played in the first half againstManchester United, for 90 minutes against Philadelphia, Im sure we can getsomething, Feilhaber said.
The Revolution need to put Wednesday night into perspective,and forget about those goals. Because on this night, in the 45 minutes that NewEnglands starters saw against one of the best teams in the world, theRevolution looked like they belonged.
And moving forward, that has to count for something.
Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.