Revs: Can't win if you don't score


Revs: Can't win if you don't score

By Danny Picard Follow @dannypicard

FOXBORO It seems like every week the New England Revolution hit the practice field for a weeks worth of training, theyre working on the same thing.

Well, thats because they are.

You dont need to be a rocket scientist to realize that the No. 1 issue haunting the Revs in recent weeks is goal scoring.

With only three goals in its last six games, New England is currently riding a six-game winless skid (two draws and four losses).

During that six-game skid, the Revolution allowed more than one goal only twice. Hence, the problem is on the offensive side of the ball, something they have been working on improving for a while now.

I think if you look at the table and you look at the goals against and the goals for, were certainly above average defensively, but were below average as far as putting the ball in the net, coach Steve Nicol said on Tuesday. So I think its pretty clear that we just have to try and get better at it, and thats the bottom line.

So how do you get better at scoring goals? It sounds like such a simple, yet impossible task to practice because goals on the practice field dont translate to goals on Saturday nights.

So until this Revolution team disproves that theory, theyll have to find another way. That way could come on Sunday in Seattle, as attacking midfielder Benny Feilhaber is expected to make his return, after missing the last four games with a sprained right ankle.

I expect him this weekend, said captain Shalrie Joseph. I was surprised he wasnt on the bench against Chicago on Saturday, but he told me he was going to be there.

This week hes been working out, just trying to get back his fitness. I expect him to be on the bench, or to be starting.

Feilhaber was upgraded to probable on the teams injury report Tuesday. Nicol said that he will be on the squad for Sundays match. He also said that he didnt yet know if Feilhaber would be starting or coming off the bench. Either way, his presence on the field could be just the thing to get the offense going.

At least, thats what they hope.

Just from a team standpoint, its important that we have him there, Joseph said. Because he allows us to keep possession. He brings a little bit more creativity in the attacking third, which we desperately need. Him being in the middle, he organizes, he keeps possession well, he spreads it wide.

He helps us do great stuff offensively, and we need him there to get a goal, a counter-attack, whatever it is. Hes going to come in, and hes going to give us that extra that we need right now.

Especially on the road.

Five of New Englands next six games are on the road. And while their success this season has been limited in all cities, its away from Gillette Stadium where the Revs struggle most.

Every game weve played, weve been competitive, Nicol said. I mean, the games we have lost, weve lost by a goal. I guess you need to ask the opposition, and how much theyre looking forward to us coming to play them. I guess thats the only way I can describe it, really, because we dont go anywhere and lie down.

We havent made a huge amount of chances on the road, but we have made some and havent taken them, which would have given us points. So its kind of a similar story. Well keep trying to create away from home.

The Revolution are 0-5-2 on the road, and are desperate for a win. The only way they can get three points is by scoring.

We just tell everybody to stay focused, Joseph said. Weve been doing good stuff the last couple of games. The ball hasnt bounced our way but weve just got to keep at it, keep working hard, and its going to break for us. Weve just got to believe that one day its going to break for us. And hopefully it will this weekend in Seattle.

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

Diego Fagundez scores twice, Revolution top 10-man NYC 2-1

Diego Fagundez scores twice, Revolution top 10-man NYC 2-1

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Diego Fagundez scored two goals in the second half and the New England Revolution beat 10-man New York City FC 2-1 on Sunday.

New England (12-15-6) set a club record with 12 wins at home. NYC (16-9-8) had several possibilities to clinch a bye in the playoffs but needed at least a draw.

Fagundez opened the scoring in the 51st minute and made it 2-0 in the second minute of stoppage time with his sixth goal of the season. Andrew Farrell set up the first goal by dribbling into the area and finding Fagundez at the top of the box. It was his first goal since June 3. Fagundez's next goal was a tap-in after his breakaway shot was knocked back to him.

Khiry Shelton scored for NYC in the third minute of extra time by getting past the defense for a long ball and heading it in.

NYC's Jack Harrison was shown a straight red card in the 26th minute for a late challenge on Teal Bunbury. It was Harrison's first red card of his professional career and he'll miss the regular-season finale against Columbus Crew SC next weekend.


United States fails to qualify for World Cup for first time since 1986


United States fails to qualify for World Cup for first time since 1986

COUVA, Trinidad — The United States has been eliminated from World Cup contention, a shocking loss at Trinidad ending the Americans’ streak of seven straight appearances at soccer’s showcase.

Twenty-eight years after a stunning victory at Trinidad put the Americans back in the World Cup after a four-decade absence, their chances for next year’s tournament in Russia ended on this island nation off the coast of Venezuela.

Trinidad and Tobago scored a pair of first-half goals, and the United States was eliminated with a 2-1 defeat Tuesday night — the first time missing the World Cup since 1986.

The U.S. entered its final qualifier with a berth uncertain for the first time since 1989. Home losses to Mexico last November and Costa Rica left the Americans little margin for error.

The 28th-ranked Americans needed merely a tie against 99th-ranked Trinidad, which lost its sixth straight qualifier last week. But the defeat — coupled with Honduras’ come-from-behind 3-2 win over Mexico and Panama’s 2-1 victory over Costa Rica on Ramon Torres’ 88th-minute goal — dropped the Americans from third place into fifth in the six-nation final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region.