CARSON, Calif. – An early lapse on a defensive set piece cost the New England Revolution dearly on Saturday night at The Home Depot Center, as Edson Buddle’s header from Landon Donovan’s sixth-minute free kick stood up as the only goal in the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory.
The match was the season opener for both the Revs (0-1-0, 0 pts.) and Galaxy (1-0-0, 3 pts.), who were the last two teams to kick off the 2010 season after a full slate of games on Saturday evening.
The Revs were left shorthanded by injuries and as a result were only able to dress 17 players for Saturday night’s match. Most notable among the missing for New England was 2009 MVP finalist Shalrie Joseph, who remained in Foxborough while nursing a right hip flexor strain. The Revolution noticeably missed its leading scorer from last season, as the club struggled to generate much on the offensive end.
The Galaxy wasted no time scoring its first goal of the 2010 season, as Buddle gave the hosts the lead in just the sixth minute with the decisive pass coming from a set piece. Last year’s league MVP, Donovan, delivered his in-swinging service from the left wing and Buddle eluded his man at the six-yard box to power home a header into the upper corner.
New England settled down defensively following the early goal and rode out the rest of the first half only conceding a few half chances. The Revs struggled to generate any kind of thrust in the offensive third of the field, however, registering just one shot in the opening 45 minutes.
Rookie forward Zack Schilawski – making his first MLS start after being drafted ninth overall in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft – provided a spark for the Revs early in the second half, driving past his man on the endline in the 50th minute. He cleverly pulled his cross back toward the penalty spot, but the pass was cut out by the Galaxy defense and cleared to safety.
Schilawski continued to be the most dangerous player in a blue jersey, and he set up strike partner Kheli Dube for a glorious chance to level the score in the 54th minute. Dube was a bit hurried on the shot from six yards out, and he skied his effort over the bar as he fell under pressure.
New England continued to knock on the door and Dube followed up his earlier chance with another opportunity in the 58th minute, but his volley inside the box drifted wide of the left post.
Despite the Revolution’s pressure, it was the Galaxy which almost doubled its lead in the 79th minute, but Buddle’s low shot from 25 yards out was pushed around the post by Revs goalkeeper Preston Burpo, who dove full-stretch to his left.
Burpo came up big again in the 82nd minute, denying Omar Gonazelez’s close-range header.
Los Angeles continued to counter as the Revolution pushed for an equalizer, and should’ve put the game out of reach in the 87th minute when Donovan and Buddle had a two-on-none streaking into the box. Donovan’s pass eluded Buddle, however, and the Revs were able to recover.
It ultimately didn’t matter in the end, as the Revs couldn’t break down the Galaxy backline.
The Revs will return to action on Saturday, April 3, when they visit bitter rival D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the match will be broadcast live in high definition on Comcast SportsNet New England, while radio listeners can catch the action on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
New England Revolution (0-1-0) at LA Galaxy (1-0-0)
March 27, 2010 – The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.)
LA – Edson Buddle (Landon Donovan) 6’
New England Revolution (0-1-0): Preston Burpo (GK), Seth Sinovic, Emmanuel Osei, Cory Gibbs ©, Kevin Alston (Khano Smith 90’), Chris Tierney, Pat Phelan, Joseph Niouky, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 58’), Kheli Dube (Kenny Mansally 76’), Zack Schilawski
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Michael Videira, Darrius Barnes
Shots: 5; Shots on Goal: 1; Saves: 2; Corner Kicks: 2; Offside: 4; Fouls Committed: 15
LA Galaxy (1-0-0): Donovan Ricketts, Todd Dunivant, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Lewis (Alex Cazumba 26’), Juninho (Michael Stephens 80’), Dema Kovalenko, Mike Magee (Chris Birchall 67’), Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan ©
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Saunders (GK), Chris Klein, Tristan Bowen, A.J. DeLaGarza
Shots: 14; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 1; Corner Kicks: 5; Offside: 2; Fouls Committed: 10
NE – Kevin Alston (caution) 17’
NE – Joseph Niouky (caution) 41’
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee’s Assistants: Chris Strickland, Jason Cullum
Fourth Official: Ricardo Salazar
Weather: Clear and 72 degrees
- Tonight’s match was the 32nd meeting all-time between the two clubs
- With the loss, the Revolution fell to 12-15-5 all time against LA, and 4-10-3 on the road
- With the loss, the Revolution dropped its first season opener since 2007, a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire
- The Revolution were missing several key players because of injury … Matt Reis (L shoulder/L knee surgery), Taylor Twellman (concussion), Shalrie Joseph (R hip flexor strain), Edgaras Jankauskas (R calf strain), Nico Colaluca (L knee sprain/L ankle sprain) and Mauricio Castro (R ankle pain) all did not travel with the team to LA
- Khano Smith, who signed with the Revolution on Friday, March 26, was available and among the 17 players who dressed for New England
- Five of the team’s 11 starters made their first-ever Revolution appearances tonight: Preston Burpo, Cory Gibbs, Seth Sinovic, Joseph Niouky and Zack Schilawski
- This is the second year in a row the Revolution have started two rookies – Seth Sinovic and Zack Schilawski - in the season-opening match …in 2009, the Revs started Kevin Alston and Darrius Barnes in the back.
- Tonight’s match marks the first time in his career that Darrius Barnes did not start a Revolution match for which he was available … he came into the match carrying a R hip flexor strain, but only had two full days of training in the past three weeks
- Cory Gibbs served as team captain on Saturday night
- Saturday marked the first season opener in which the Revolution surrendered a goal since 2007, when the Chicago Fire defeated the Revs, 1-0
- All Revolution rookies made their professional debut Saturday night … Seth Sinovic and Zack Schilawski started while Zak Boggs subbed in during the 58th minute
- Kevin Alston left in the 90th minute with cramps in his leg … he was replaced by Khano Smith at left midfield and Chris Tierney moved to right back
- Joseph Niouky saw his first MLS action Saturday, picking up five of the 15 fouls doled out by the referees
- Saturday’s season opener marked the Revs jump to the FM dial, the club’s first broadcast on 98.5 The Sports Hub