By Kevin Koczwara
Goals from Shalrie Joseph and Kheli Dube helped the New England Revolution defeat the Houston Dynamo in Houston last weekend, 2-1, snapping a six month winless streak on the road for the Revolution. Despite the Revolution’s mathematical elimination from the playoffs and a short bench (the team traveled with 15 players, with 3 field players on the bench), the team put together a complete performance in Houston and looked more like a playoff bound team than a team with no hopes for a trophy.
“I think tonight we put on a real good professional show,” said Revolution Manager Steve Nicol after the win in Houston. “I didn’t think we gave too much away. We scored two good goals away from home, and overall it was a good performance.”
Nicol’s squad will try to build on the win in Houston tonight when the Revs take the Kansas City Wizards in New England’s final home game of the season.
The Wizards harbor an outside hope of making the playoffs. They are six points behind the Colorado Rapids with two games to play. Kansas City has to be happy its playing New England this weekend because the team has traditionally fared well against the Revolution.
The Wizards defeated the Revolution handily, 4-1, on August 21 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City. At the time, the Revolution was trying to revive its playoff hopes and Kansas City cordially made the chances of the Revs slipping into the playoffs close to impossible after the drumming.
“Defensively, we were solid the past couple of games and tonight we came in here and had a stinker,” said Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph after the 4-1 defeat on Aug. 21. “We just didn’t perform well. We were awful and that’s the bottom line about it.”
The Revs will have to play a solid game at home defensively if they hope to improve their woeful record against the Wizards. Kansas City is 20-11-8 against the Revolution all time, and hold an impressive 10-5-5 record at Foxborough.
New England will have a short bench again this weekend with only 15 players available. Bobby Shuttleworth got his second career win in goal for the Revolution last weekend in Houston, and will finish out the season in net for the Revs because Matt Reis underwent season ending ankle surgery earlier this week.
The Revolution will be without staring midfielder Pat Phelan and central defender Cory Gibbs because of suspension. Both players picked up their fifth yellow cards of the season in the team’s win in Houston last weekend resulting in a one game suspension.
Nicol and the Revolution will be pushed in the team’s final home game of the season, but the Revs will need to get a positive result and put on a good showing in front of their home crowd to leave the fans with some hope for next season after all the struggles and time spent in the basement of the league.
Kevin Koczwara can be reached at email@example.com.