FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Forward Kenny Mansally and goalkeeper Matt Reis combined to provide the necessary heroics on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium, as the New England Revolution advanced to the SuperLiga 2010 final with a 5-3 win in penalty kicks over Mexican Primera División club Puebla F.C. after the teams finished regulation level at 1-1. Mansally scored the Revolution’s only goal in normal time, giving the home side a short-lived lead in the 56th minute only for Andres Olivera to even the score two minutes later, then stepped up to convert the penalty kick which sent the Revs to the SuperLiga 2010 title match after Reis stopped Puebla forward Edgar Lugo’s spot kick.
This is the Revolution’s second trip to the SuperLiga final in the last three years. The club became the first – and to this point, only – Major League Soccer team to win the tournament in 2008, while the Revs were eliminated by the Chicago Fire in the semifinal round in 2009.
The Revs will now host the winner of Thursday’s semifinal between the Houston Dynamo and Monarcas Morelia in the SuperLiga 2010 final later this month. The date of the match won’t be determined until that semifinal is completed, but it will take place on either Aug. 23, 24 or 25.
There were four changes to the Revolution lineup which played to a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union last weekend. Head coach Steve Nicol handed starts to Seth Sinovic, Joseph Niouky, Khano Smith and Mansally, while Cory Gibbs, Pat Phelan,Chris Tierney and Zack Schilawski all began the game on the bench. Also on the bench for the first time was recently-signed Brazilian midfielder Roberto Linck, who received his International Transfer Certificate and was officially added to the Revs roster earlier in the week.
Puebla enjoyed the bulk of the possession in the opening stages and created a series of half chances early, highlighted by Joaquin Velasquez’s sixth-minute header which he guided over the crossbar from eight yards out.
After an unsettled opening, the Revs worked themselves into the game through the middle portion of the first half but still struggled to generate any real attacking threats save for Marko Perovic’s 13th-minute free kick. There was a bit of controversy in the 25th minute, however, when Mansally appeared to be taken down just outside the box by Puebla goalkeeper Edgar Hernandez, but the referee waved away the Revolution’s protests as a goal kick was awarded to the visitors.
With the play turning more physical as the half wore on, scoring chances continued to elude both sides for the most part. Puebla twice threatened in the 38th minute, first when Revs central defender Emmanuel Osei made an important block on Olivera after a scramble in the box, and then moments later when Juan Garcia’s angled shot flew past the far post.
While scoring chances were limited in the opening 45 minutes, that most certainly wasn’t the case after the halftime whistle. Both teams could’ve scored within 10 minutes of the restart, but Lugo’s blistering volley was saved by Reis in the 53rd minute and first-half substitute Schilawski had his effort cleared off the line at the other end one minute later.
It didn’t take long for either side to make the breakthrough, however, as the score went from 0-0 to 1-1 in a matter of minutes. Mansally gave the Revs a 56th-minute lead with a fantastic curling effort from 18 yards out after a clever setup from Shalrie Joseph, but Olivera leveled the score just two minutes later by beating Reis to the near post with a low drive from the left side of the box.
The Revs had two golden chances to restore their lead shortly thereafter, but Mansally pushed a left-footed effort just wide of the left post in the 60th minute, while Schilawski missed at the same post with a glancing header in the 65th minute.
Puebla had a few decent chances to steal a winner, but the best opportunity fell to the Revs in the 89th minute. Mansally did well to turn and fire a volley in the left side of the box, but his stinging drive was pushed away by Hernandez to assure the semifinal would be decided via penalty shootout.
The first seven shooters in penalty kicks converted their attempts, giving the Revs a 4-3 lead. Reis then handed the Revolution an advantage when he palmed away Lugo’s attempt to slot the ball down the middle, and Mansally stepped up to blast his effort into the roof of the net and send the Revs to the final.
Before taking their shot at the SuperLiga title, the Revs will return to league action on Saturday, Aug. 7, when they’ll host Eastern Conference rival D.C. United at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
SuperLiga 2010 Semifinal
New England Revolution vs. Puebla F.C.
August 4, 2010 – Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
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 wins penalty kicks, 5-3
New England Revolution: Matt Reis (GK), Seth Sinovic (Cory Gibbs 46), Darrius Barnes, Emmanuel Osei, Kevin Alston (Pat Phelan 64), Khano Smith (Chris Tierney 69), Shalrie Joseph ©, Joseph Niouky, Sainey Nyassi, Marko Perovi? (Zack Schilawski 33), Kenny Mansally
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Tim Murray, Roberto Linck
STATS: Shots: 11; Shots on Goal: 5; Saves: 4; Corner Kicks: 8; Offside: 2; Fouls Committed: 14
Puebla: Edgar Hernandez (GK), Oscar Velasquez ©, Alvaro Ortiz, Alejandro Acosta (Roberto Juarez 46), Juan Garcia (Orlando Rincon 46), Andres Olivera , Felipe Ayala, Felix Gonzalez (Jorge Zarete 58), Jose Gonzalez, Gabriel Pereya, Isidro Sanchez (Edgar Lugo 46)
Substitutes Not Used: Juan Garcia Rulfo, Carlos Rivera, Jose 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
- The Revolution draw moves the club’s all-time SuperLiga record to 9-1-4 and 3-0-1 in this year’s tournament ... New England awaits the Houston/Morelia winner Thursday night to see who it will host in the tournament final later this month.
- New England has now advanced to the SuperLiga finals for the second time in the four-year history of the tournament … the Revolution will try to become the first two-time winner of SuperLiga when the final is played at Gillette Stadium later this month.
- The Revolution attempted its first penalty kicks of the 2010 season and converted all five attempts … Matt Reis converted the second attempt for New England and made a save on Puebla’s fourth attempt to help the Revs to the shootout win.
- With the tie, the Revs remain undefeated against Mexican teams in SuperLiga play, moving their record to 7-0-1 against clubs from Mexico and 11-2-2 overall since New England first played a Mexican club in 2000.
- The Revolution is now riding a six-game unbeaten streak in all competitions … the club’s last loss came in Real Salt Lake on July 2 … the six consecutive matches without a loss is the club’s longest run since a seven-game unbeaten streak that ran from May – June in 2008.
- Marko Perovic left the game in the 33rd minute with a left calf strain a … he was replaced by Zack Schilawski.
- Because Marko Perovic left the match with an injury, Wednesday night’s match with Puebla was the first game in over a month that Perovi? did not register a point … before the match, he had gone five straight games with at least a point (four goals, assist) – all Revolution wins.
- Kevin Alston left the game in the 64th-minute with a mild left hamstring strain … he was replaced by Pat Phelan.
- New England and Puebla met for the first time ever on Wednesday night … 2010 is Puebla’s first ever appearance in the four-year history of SuperLiga, the Revolution’s third appearance.
- Cory Gibbs replaced Seth Sinovic at left back to begin the second half … it was the second consecutive game Gibbs has appeared at left back in consecutive matches now after playing center back for the entire season.
- Kenny Mansally’s 55th-minute goal was his third in SuperLiga competition … Mansally’s third SuperLiga goal ties him for third all time in tournament play.
- The Revolution conceded its first goal in SuperLiga 2010 play … the club had gone 355 minutes in tournament play dating back to last year without allowing a goal.
- The Revs were involved in their first penalty shootout since the 2008 SuperLiga Final, when the Revs defeated Houston, 6-5 on penalty kicks.
- New Revolution acquisition Roberto Linck was available, but did not make an appearance in the match.