Revs look to improve on sixth-place finish


Revs look to improve on sixth-place finish

By DannyPicard

FOXBORO Pat Phelan used it as motivation. Because, quite frankly, it couldnt be ignored.

Every day that he trained in the offseason, the Revolution midfielder thought about his teams sixth-place finish in the Eastern Conference in 2010. It was a season that ended with a disappointing 9-16-5 record, which kept the Revs out of the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

Entering last season, Phelan had figured they were in good standing, defensively. All they needed was someone to step up and give them some offense.

That offense never really showed up, at least when it mattered, and the Revolution finished with only 32 goals, which was the third-lowest total in the MLS.

But defensively, it wasnt any better. The Revs allowed 50 goals in 2010, which labeled them the worst defense in the league, something that, throughout this offseason and preseason, theyre trying to fix.

Anytime you give up the most goals in the league, you obviously have to make some changes, which we have, said Phelan after Tuesdays training session at Gillette Stadium. And I think our focus throughout preseason is going to start with defense, and end with defense. Its a collective thing. It starts from the top, all the way back. So I think everyones mentality just kind of changes a little bit.

Thinking back to last preseason, Phelan remembers the Revs mindset, and the end result was a whole lot different than he could have ever imagined.

I think we thought the opposite, said Phelan. We were wondering where the goals were going to come from, which still was a problem last year, but I thought we were always comfortable in how we were going to defend. Even throughout the year, we had some games where we got blown out, but had some other games where we felt pretty good, like things were going the right way. But its just got to be more consistent day to day.

You cant just ignore that it happened, but you cant dwell on it either, he said. So its kind of finding that fine line of taking your lessons and learning from your mistakes from last year. But thats in the past. You work to not let those things happen again, but you cant dwell on it.

Phelan recently re-signed with the team, after appearing in 60 games since being drafted by New England 10th overall in 2008.

He admits, this year is a rebuilding year. But the 26-year-old out of Wake Forest wants to be a part of the organizations bright future.

This is where I want to be, said Phelan. I think the clubs in a transition period here, from the last couple years. And I think its only going to get better. I think the coaching staff has done a good job of getting the guys in the right mentality. Kind of shaking the tree and mixing up the team and the players a little bit. So I think its going to be a rebuilding year, but I think weve got some bright days down the road.

The Revolution opened preseason training camp on Jan. 31, and will begin the 2011 regular season March.

Phelan described training camp thus far as being relaxed and acknowledged that while their main goal is to patch up their defense before the season-opener, some of the teams biggest issues still remain.

That issue would be the Revolutions maturity level, which was criticized on several occasions last year by veteran Shalrie Joseph.

With so many new, young faces on this years roster, Phelan says that right now, maturity is still an issue. But having dealt with it last year, the returning players have a better feel for how to handle it.

Theres a lot of timid guys, just because there are so many new faces, and not a lot of veterans, I think with the exception of Shalrie Joseph and Matt Reis. I think Kenny Mansally and Sainey Nyassi are the next tenured players. So there are a lot of young players. Its kind of quiet, but I think everyones kind of just finding their niche and their place.

I lot of guys have grown up from last year. And I think because we had so many young guys last year, it helps the new guys coming in this year, knowing what to expect, know their place. Everyones got a personality. Its just a matter of finding out where it fits, and bringing it out.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on

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.