SuperLiga SuperRevs!! Revs Advance On PK’s, Stay Perfect In SuperLiga
The New England Revolution advanced to the SuperLiga finals for the second time in three years as they defeated Mexican side Puebla FC 5-3 on penalty kicks.
Kenny Mansally scored the only goal for the Revs in regulation and drove home the winning tally on the Revs fifth and final penalty after Puebla’s Edgar Lugo’s shot was saved by New England keeper Matt Reis, who was easily man of the match.
The two sides ended dead locked at 1 – 1 after 90 minutes of what can only be called sloppy football in which both sides missed multiple chances and struggled to take hold of the game.
Despite playing their second game in 5 days, with a third game against rival DC United this Saturday, Steve Nicol played most of his regulars, sticking with his core group of Shalrie Joseph, Matt Reis, and Marko Perovic, as well as Barnes, Alston, Osei, Niouky, and Nyassi. Seth Sinovic started in place of Cory Gibbs, and Khano Smith took the left midfield position over Chris Tierney. Kenny Mansally partnered with Perovic up top, leaving rookie Zack Schilawski on the bench.
Puebla easily dominated the opening minutes, pressuring the Revolution in the their attacking end of the field. In the first 6 minutes Puebla had a number of chances from set pieces that failed to connect. Puebla’s Gabriel Pereyra, arguably their best player, sent in three dangerous crosses into the box that repeatedly tested the Revs, who had not been scored upon in the SuperLiga group stages.
However, Pereyra’s corner in the 6th minute gave the Revolution some concerns, as it was well met by Puebla Defender Joaquin Velasquez, who rose above the revolution to head the ball towards frame, but just missed over the crossbar.
The Revs seemed to strengthen their resolve and began to get more into the game. In the 13th minute, Marko Perovic, who has enjoyed a recent spell of good form during the last 5 matches, had an opportunity to score in his third consecutive superliga match and fifth consecutive game for the Revs in all competions with a free kick awarded in the 13 minutes, well within striking distance. The ball curled toward the near post, but Puebla goalkeeper Hernandez was well positioned to make the save.
Hernandez also arguably made a key stop as he came out to the top of his area to challenge Kenny Mansally. Hernandez seemingly made contact with Mansally, who lost control of the ball when he fell to the ground, but no penalty was given, despite the fact that the Mexican keeper was the last man between Mansally and the goal.
Steve Nicol was forced to make an early substitution and bring in Zack Schilawski when Marko Perovic went down in a collision in the 33rd minute. Perovic’s presence in the middle of the pitch was missed as Puebla began to reassert themselves in the last part of the second half, but the Revs defense was up to the task and managed to get out of the half without conceding a goal.
Second half substitutions were made on both sides of the field, with the Revs’ Cory Gibbs coming on for Sinovic, and Puebla using three of their four substitutions, taking off Acosta, Garcia and Sanchez in favor of Roberto Juarez, Orlando Rincon, and Edgar Lugo.
While Puebla may have had the edge in the first half, the second half was for the most part dominated by the Revs. Matt Reis continued his excellent run of form making save after save while the Revs got more into the attack. Schilawski had the best first chance in the half for the Revs with the keeper beaten, but his strike was cleared off the line by a Puebla defender.
It was the smart play of Kevin Alston who set up the first goal of the match, finding Shalrie Joseph in stride. Shalrie then played a perfect through pass to Kenny Mansally, who beat the defense and struck the ball well past the arms of the diving keeper into the back of the net.
However, Puebla would immediately strike back with a goal of their own, but not without controversy. As the ball was played in to Puebla’s star player Pereyra, it appeared to hit his hand as he turned on Revs defender Darrius Barnes. No call was given and Pereyra struck the ball inside the near post, just beating Matt Reis, ending the Revolution’s SuperLiga shutout streak.
The Revolution had the better of the chances in the remainder of the match, again with Mansally, with the keeper beaten, somehow missing the open net. Minutes later Sainey Nyassi found Schilawski in front of the net with a perfect cross that he headed just wide of the post. The last chance for the Revolution came in the 89th minute with a well stuck ball from Mansally, but Hernandez saved the ball off the near post for a corner kick, and the game went on to penalties.
From the penalty spot the Revolution took care of business, with Matt Reis making the key save (as well as converting a penalty) and Kenny Mansally striking home the clincher.
Unfortunately, Referee Roberto Moreno of Panama became the center of attention as the match went on. A number of challenges and hand balls were miscalled or not called, and two yellow cards were awarded to revolution players for dissent.
Having the best record in the competion, the Revs will host the SuperLiga 2010 final against either the the Houston Dynamo and Monarcas Morelia (semifinal winner TBD Thursday, August 5) at the end of the month (date also TBD).
NE – Kenny Mansally (Shalrie Joseph) 56
PUE – Andres Olivera (Gabriel Pereyra) 58
NE – Shalrie Joseph (Goal)
PUE – Andres Olivera (Goal)
NE – Matt Reis (Goal)
PUE – Roberto Juarez (Goal)
NE – Chris Tierney (Goal)
PUE – Felip Ayala (Goal)
NE – Pat Phelan (Goal)
PUE – Edgar Lugo (Save)
NE – Kenny Mansally (Goal)
Revolution win on penalty kicks, 5-3
New England Revolution: Reis, Sinovic (Gibbs 46), Barnes, Osei, Alston (Phelan 64), Smith (Tierney 69), Joseph, Niouky, Nyassi, Perovic (Schilawski 33), Mansally
Substitutes Not Used: Shuttleworth, Murray, Linck
STATS: Shots: 11; Shots on Goal: 5; Saves: 4; Corner Kicks: 8; Offside: 2; Fouls Committed: 14
Puebla: Hernandez , Velasquez, Ortiz, Acosta (Juarez 46), Garcia (Rincon 46), Olivera , Ayala, Gonzalez (Zarete 58), Gonzalez, Pereya, Sanchez (Lugo 46)
Substitutes Not Used: Rulfo, Rivera, Garmendia
STATS: Shots: 15; Shots on Goal: 5; Saves: 3; Corner Kicks: 7; Offside: 4; Fouls Committed: 15
NE – Sainey Nyassi (caution) 25
PUE – Roberto Juarez (caution) 61
NE – Cory Gibbs (caution) 72
NE – Kenny Mansally (caution) 87
Referee: Roberto Moreno
Referee’s Assistants: Daniel Williamson, Jamie smith
Fourth Official: Niko Bratsis
Weather: Cloudy and 88 degrees