Stolica makes all the difference for Revs

Stolica makes all the difference for Revs

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- Ilija Stolica signed with the New England Revolution in lateJuly, but didnt make his first start until Saturday night against the HoustonDynamo at Gillette Stadium.

And judging by the smile on coach Steve Nicols face whenStolica approached the sideline after being subbed out of Saturdays game inthe 77th minute, the Revs are more than happy to have the 31-year-old Serbianstriker on board for the stretch run.

Stolica scored the only goal in New Englands 1-0 win overHouston on Saturday, a game that looked destined for a scoreless stalematethrough the first 60 minutes.

Throughout the game, we had plenty of opportunities to dothings in the final third, but the final pass wasnt there, or somebody made abad decision, said Nicol. We had enough of the ball in the final third, we justdidnt use it well enough.

There were only four total shots on goal in the first half,with each team having two, but the scoring chances were minimal. In the secondhalf, there was only one shot on net, and that was Stolicas goal in the 62ndminute.

Revs midfielder Sainey Nyassi found Stolica wide open at thetop of the box and put a pass into the middle of the field, where Stolicakicked the pass up in the air and one-timed a low shot on its way down, whichbeat Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall to the left corner of the net.

I think for any striker its important to have a quickreaction, said Stolica after New Englands 1-0 win. You only have one moment,and if you take it, you score.

It was a tough game, added Stolica. I think it was notmaybe a nice game to watch, but we needed that one, and I think we deserved itmore than them to score that one goal. And I was also knowing it myself thatthe team who scored first would win for sure.

Stolica made his Revolution debut last Saturday against D.C.United, but he came in off the bench. Against Houston, he started at forwardwith fellow Serbian Marko Perovic.

So far, the Revs are 2-0 with Stolica in the lineup.

You can see the experience he has, you know, the way heholds people off, and just a lot of different, a lot of small stuff thatprobably goes unnoticed, said Nicol after the game. But it makes a hugedifference.

With the Revolution attempting to make a late-season playoffrun, theyll need Stolica to continue to make the same type of difference hemade on Saturday against the Dynamo.

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.