Revolution

World Cup: Monday wrapup

World Cup: Monday wrapup

By Adam Vaccaro
CSNNE.com

What happened Monday: The first of the tournament's major upsets came from Japan, who recorded its first ever Cup win on foreign soil by defeating Cameroon 1-0. The Blue Samurai's finesse style clashed mightily with the physical Indomitable Lions, but they somehow managed to nullify Samuel Eto'o in the attack. Cameroon's captain failed to record a shot as his team lacked organization or any sort of urgency around him. Keisuke Honda set up ten yards off the net's left post and scored the lone goal late in the first half when he put an easy touch on Daisuke Matsui's cross, kept his composure, and finished strong to give Japan its lead. Cameroon made some late bids in the match's final ten minutes but was unable to convert. Japanese keeper Eiji Kawashima stopped the shots that the crossbar didn't, securing the win and turning Cameroon's Indomitable nickname into a misnomer, at least on this day.

Also Monday: There's no getting around the yawns and eye rubbing that come with 7:30 a.m., but those who got up to see the Netherlands take the pitch against Denmark hoped that the play of the attack-minded Dutch would wake them up, or at least supplement a couple cups of coffee. Unfortunately for the early risers, Holland's exciting brand of soccer showed itself infrequently early on. Following halftime, though, the Oranje's engine got started and the Dutch put substantially more pressure on net while dominating in the possession game. Beneficiaries of an own-goal within the half's opening minute, the Netherlands also scored on an 85th minute strike from Dirk Kuyt to earn a 2-0 victory and the current top spot in its group.

Into the 63rd minute of the afternoon match, it seemed as though another upset may be in the cards as Paraguay led Italy 1-0. The defending champs quelled these concerns when new-ish national teamer Simone Pepe's corner set up a blast from Cup winning midfielder Daniele De Rossi, thanks largely to an overambitious effort from Paraguayan keeper Justo Villar. The score would hold in rain-soaked Cape Town and send each team away with a point.

What it means: Japan's victory puts the team in great positioning going forward, but the greatest implication to come of the match is the importance now bestowed upon Saturday's tilt between Cameroon and Denmark. Look for a lot of urgency as a loss for either team will almost certainly eliminate its tournament hopes and a draw would still be far from ideal. Japan has Holland to look forward to, but unlike some upset incarnations, the Samurais actually looked very strong and deserving against Cameroon. If they could somehow hold the Dutch to a draw, Japan would stand a fantastic shot at advancing out of group play, unlikely though it may seem.

Italy isn't pleased with the draw, but Paraguay represents its toughest competition in Group F by far. In truth, both teams should beat up on New Zealand and Slovakia. For Paraguay, then, the result is phenomenal. The champs will find some solace in having scored on a corner as its offensive success in 2006 primarily came from set pieces. Still, the draw is a disappointment for Italy.

What to watch on Tuesday: All eyes will be on Group G's first two matches as Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast, and North Korea together comprise this year's Group of Death. Three of these teams should advance to the Round of 16. Two will. The result of Ivory Coast and Portugal's match, perhaps the most important opener in the tournament, will go a long way towards determining which will join likely group winner Brazil in the knockout round. Christiano Ronaldo is arguably soccer's biggest star, but he'll be looking to drop the choker label that has plagued him for much of his career and especially since his Manchester United fell in the 2009 Champion's League final. Ivory Coast is solid throughout but may compete without captain and Chelsea superstar Didier Drogba, listed as doubtful after breaking his arm in a friendly on June 4. Without Drogba, the Elephants fight an uphill battle in the tournament's most talented pool. With him, they're legitimate Cup contenders. Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson says the decision is the striker's and won't be made until just hours before the game.

Also Tuesday: Brazil's match against North Korea gives us our first opportunity to see the five-time champions in this year's finals action. Though relatively little is known about North Korea, which is participating in its first Cup since 1966, it's probably fair to assume a Brazilian victory. We do know the team to feature good speed, but we also know better than to think it quicker than star-studded Selecao. And even if Korea's quickness can match Brazil's, the Latin powerhouse's new emphasis on defense should mitigate any counterattack the mysterious team, representing a most mysterious country, can muster. Also in Brazil's advantage? Only a tournament victory will suffice, and they know it. Such urgency will prevent the team from dropping its opener.

Group F's first set of matches will conclude early in the day when New Zealand and Slovakia play at 7:30. That few Americans will be either up or able to watch probably means good things for the sport's growth in the US the match won't be pretty. This being the Kiwis first Cup since 1982 and Slovakia's first ever, these teams are pleased to have even qualified and are not in the same class as Paraguay or Italy.

Question of the Day: How drastic is Brazil's much-discussed change in style? The team is still stacked with sensational playmakers and always will be for that matter but coach Dunga has emphasized a tougher, more defensive system that may upset fans of Joga Bonito. It could, however, yield one of the country's most complete and balanced teams ever. If so, prospects for the rest of the world dim considerably.

Full schedule (all times EDT): New Zealand v Slovakia Royal Bafoekeng Stadium, Rustenburg 7:30 a.m.; Ivory Coast v Portugal Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth 10:00 a.m.; Brazil v North Korea Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg 2:30 p.m.

Quote of Note: "The press have dubbed this the 'Group of Death'. With all due respect to North Korea three teams are chasing two places. It doesn't matter if one of the trio plays the best soccer in the world, only two can go through. - Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz, on the talented Group G.

New England Revolution release 2018 schedule

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New England Revolution release 2018 schedule

The New England Revolution's 2018 schedule was released today, and the Revs will open the season on the road in Chester, Pa. against the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium on March 3.

The club will play its home opener one week later, hosting the Colorado Rapids at Gillette Stadium on March 10. Kickoff for the home opener is currently slated for 1:30p.

New England will play a total of 22 games against Eastern Conference opposition this season. The Revs are set to play each of the 10 fellow Eastern Conference teams at least twice, and will play the Montreal Impact and Philadelphia Union a total of three times each. The Revs will face each of the 12 clubs in the Western Conference one time each, including a road contest with expansion side LAFC for the first meeting in the clubs' history on Sat., Sept. 15.

NBC Sports Boston will once again serve as the Revolution’s local broadcast partner and will carry up to 32 regular-season games. The 2018 season marks the ninth consecutive campaign that NBCSB will be the television home of the club and the fifth straight year that Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner will team up to call the action from the booth. Naoko Funayama also returns for her second season as sideline reporter.

New England Revolution 2018 MLS Regular Season Schedule (all times Eastern)

Date

Opponent

Venue

Time

Broadcast*

Sat., March 3

at Philadelphia Union

Talen Energy Stadium

TBD

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., March 10

Colorado Rapids

Gillette Stadium

1:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., March 24

New York City FC

Gillette Stadium

1:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., March 31

at Houston Dynamo

BBVA Compass Stadium

8:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Friday, April 6

Montreal Impact

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., April 14

FC Dallas

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., April 21

at Columbus Crew SC

MAPFRE Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., April 28

Sporting Kansas City

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., May 5

at Montreal Impact

Stade Saputo

1p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., May 12

Toronto FC

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., May 19

Columbus Crew SC

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., May 26

at Vancouver Whitecaps FC

BC Place

5:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Wed., May 30

Atlanta United FC

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., June 2

New York Red Bulls

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., June 9

at Chicago Fire

Toyota Park

8:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Wed., June 13

at San Jose Earthquakes

Avaya Stadium

10:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., June 30

D.C. United

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., July 7

Seattle Sounders FC

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., July 14

LA Galaxy

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Wed., July 18

at Minnesota United FC

TCF Bank Stadium

8p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., July 21

at New York Red Bulls

Red Bull Arena

7:00 p.m. ET

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., August 4

at Orlando City SC

Orlando City Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., August 11

Philadelphia Union

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sun., August 19

at D.C. United

Audi Field

6p

FS1

Sat., August 25

at Philadelphia Union

Talen Energy Stadium

TBD

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., Sept. 1

Portland Timbers

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Wed., Sept. 5

at New York City FC

Yankee Stadium

7:00 p.m. ET

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., Sept. 15

at LAFC

Banc of California Stadium

10:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., Sept. 22

Chicago Fire

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., Sept. 29

at Toronto FC

BMO Field

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sat., Oct. 6

at Atlanta United FC

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

3:30p

Univision

Sat., Oct. 13

Orlando City SC

Gillette Stadium

7:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Thursday, Oct. 18

at Real Salt Lake

Rio Tinto Stadium

9:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Sun., Oct. 28

Montreal Impact

Gillette Stadium

4:30p

NBC Sports Boston

Revolution introduce Brad Friedel as coach

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Revolution introduce Brad Friedel as coach

New Revolution coach Brad Friedel was introduced to the media at Gillette Stadium on Monday and promised his "obsession with winning" will filter down to the rest of the organization.

“We have a lot of work ahead but we do have a lot of good players here, a lot of good pieces to this club,” Friedel said.  “One thing we can guarantee you — because you never want to guarantee too much in sport — is that you will get 100 percent commitment from myself and staff, as well as the players.

“And we’re going to be, hopefully, get to the obsession that I have with winning. And we’ll work our best to try and get those wins on the board that we can.”

Since retiring as a player, Friedel, a former UMNT goalkeeper who spent most of his career in Europe and the Premier League, has coached the US U-19 team and worked as a soccer analyst for FOX Sports. He's the eighth coach in the MLS franchise's 22-year history. He replaces Jay Heaps, the Revs' second-longest serving coach who led New England to playoff appearances from 2013-15, including an MLS Cup Final appearance in 2014. 

Friedel said it won't be difficult to adjust to coaching in the MLS after a long career in Europe. 

“That won't be hard to adjust to at all," Freidel said. "Not every team over in Europe or England, for that matter, has these enormous budgets. Working at clubs like Blackburn as a player, but then at Tottenham, I know it's a big club, but they work under a strict budget at Tottenham. You learn to work under whatever restrictions or not there may or may not be... 

"Whatever budget is given to us, we will work with. I think what's really important is the mentality of the players. Fans and players are usually the two most important things at every single club. Us as a staff, we're employed to try to make those players better. So, whatever players are in front of us, that's going to be our focus – on getting a team environment, a winning environment, and an environment where every player wants to work hard. It doesn't really matter where your budgets are.”

Friedel said he likes the potential on the Revs roster. 

"I think there's a lot of potential within the group. We're not going to go into details at the first press conference obviously with the squad itself. We have a lot of meetings ahead with that, but there's a lot of potential in the group... 

"This is not a team that is in disarray, that's for sure. I think there needs to be little tweaks to it, and then my staff and I need to go in and try to mold the team and get the confidence back. I think if you see – you can look at stats, stats don't lie – over 60 goals conceded is too much and that's something we'll need to address. But, we know what we need to address and we'll work hard to address those issues."