July 14, 2011
By Adam Burrows, NewEnglandSoccerNews.com Correspondent
LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
Revs try to take something positive from loss
After suffering through a miserable first half of the 2011 MLS campaign, the New England Revolution are looking for any spark to ignite a second half blaze.
|Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph and coach Steve Nicol both saw bright spots in the team’s performance against Manchester United on Wednesday night.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Winless for two months, last in the league in scoring, and buried in the cellar of the Eastern Conference, the Revs on Wednesday hosted Manchester United in an exhibition match that marked the start of a five-stop US preseason tour for the defending English Premier League champions.
While Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad was looking for game fitness and a little R&R, the Revolution was looking to regain their edge.
A flurry of artful second half goals produced a 4-1 Manchester United victory and satisfied the crowd of 51,523 at Gillette Stadium, but a scoreless first half gave encouragement to the Revolution and head coach Steve Nicol.
“We were happy with how things went first half. I thought we were pretty solid, defended well. Obviously we’re fitter and sharper than them. So it was important that we kept things tight and we did.
“Obviously for the fans it was good to see some goals. And obviously a good night for everybody I’m sure. I’m sure Alex is happy with what he saw. It’s a training session basically for them. He’ll be pleased I’m sure.
“We had a couple of occasions where we kept it pretty well. We had a couple of chances. Shalrie was unlucky with a header. They had a chance with Rooney, great save by Matt (Reis). As far as I can remember we restricted them to that great chance. Other than that I thought we defended well.
“You know we’re playing against players who are at the end of the day smarter between the ears than your average player and I thought we dealt with that well.”
Revolution midfielder and United States international Benny Feilhaber, no stranger to top-flight European competition, also was ready to accentuate the positive as the Revolution approach a return to MLS action against Philadelphia on Sunday.
“It was really fun. I thought we did really well the first half. I didn’t think they dominated the game in the first half. I thought we had our chances. Lots of possession. Overall it was good.
“It’s always good to get anything positive against these guys. And forty-five minutes is a solid amount of time. But you know at the end of the day you gotta get ninety minutes, and regardless if you’re playing Man U or you’re playing Philadelphia, whoever you’re playing, you’re going to have to get ninety minutes to get a result. If we play the way we played for the first half for ninety minutes against Philadelphia, I’m sure we can get something.”
Captain Shalrie Joseph, suspended for Sunday’s game because of accumulated yellow cards, was the only member of the Revolution to play the entire ninety minutes. Like Nicol and Feilhaber, Joseph was encouraged by the first forty-five.
“We can take a lot of positive from what we did with the ball in terms of how we moved it, how we created chances, kept possession in their defensive third. That’s something we’ve been struggling to do, move the ball and get runners off the ball, and tonight we did that, we created a couple of chances.
“And defensively we gave up a couple of chances here and there, that’s what you’re going to do against a better team, but we kept that zero-zero score line and going into the half we felt great.”
Revolution fans hope that feel-good moment will carry over into Sunday’s important Eastern conference match-up and through the remainder of the season.