CARSON, Calif. – The New England Revolution opened its 2011 season with a 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy amidst torrential downpours and swirling winds on Sunday night at The Home Depot Center.
Shalrie Joseph gave the Revs (0-0-1, 1 pt.) the lead in just the third minute, while Juninho hit back for the Galaxy (1-0-1, 4 pts.) six minutes before the halftime break. Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis battled the harsh weather conditions to make six saves and help the Revs claim their first point on the West Coast since 2009.
Joseph’s early goal – which was the second-fastest to open a season in club history – was the Revolution’s only shot on target, although the Revs’ captain did hit the post midway through the second half.
Without the services of injured trio Kevin Alston (L hamstring strain), Ousmane Dabo (R quad strain) and Didier Domi (R knee swelling), head coach Steve Nicol was forced to shuffle his lineup in an attempt to plug the gaps. Darrius Barnes filled in for Alston at right back, Zak Boggs and Marko Perovic occupied the wings, and Joseph led a three-man central midfield between Stephen McCarthy and Pat Phelan.
The Revs got their 2011 campaign off to the perfect start with a goal in just the third minute, as Joseph powered a close-range header past the feet of Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders. A workmanlike effort from Zack Schilawski earned the Revolution a corner kick, which Perovic drove to the near post. The initial service was cleared directly back to Perovic, who used his second effort to find Joseph at the back post for a precise finish.
David Beckham almost engineered a quick reply for the Galaxy, but his 12th-minute free kick was expertly tipped over the bar by Reis. Landon Donovan forced Reis into another fine save with a powerful header just two minutes later, while Juninho then saw a goal wiped off the board for an apparent foul in the 16th minute.
The Galaxy continued to pressure throughout the first half and the hosts were finally rewarded for their efforts with the equalizing goal in the 39th minute. Revolution rookie center back A.J. Soares’ clearance out of the back went only as far as Juninho, who intercepted the ball before unleashing a 30-yard knuckling rocket which fooled Reis and sailed just under the crossbar.
New England was sharper after the halftime break and enjoyed frequent spells of possession, but it was the Galaxy which almost took the lead in the 55th minute. Beckham cleverly pulled a free kick back to the top of the box for Mike Magee, whose first-time effort curled just past the upper right corner.
Ten minutes later it was the Revolution’s turn to threaten. Schilawski’s initial shot was blocked but the ball squirted through to an unmarked Joseph, who beat Saunders with a low shot but saw his effort kick off the right post.
Play deteriorated in the closing stages as patches of standing water made passing almost impossible. The Galaxy managed to create one final scoring chance in stoppage time, but second-half substitute Juan Pablo Angel’s goal was disallowed after he was adjudged to have been offside.
The Revs will host D.C. United in their 2011 home opener next weekend at Gillette Stadium. The match is scheduled for Saturday, March 26, with kickoff set for 4:30 p.m.
New England Revolution at LA Galaxy
March 20, 2011 – The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.)
NE – Shalrie Joseph (Marko Perovic) 3
LA – Juninho (unassisted) 39
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, Franco Coria, Darrius Barnes, Zak Boggs, Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph ©, Stephen McCarthy, Marko Perovic (Kenny Mansally 22), Zack Schilawski (Sainey Nyassi 74)
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Ilija Stolica, Kheli Dube, Seth Sinovic, Ryan Cochrane
STATS: Shots: 7; Shots on Goal: 1; Saves: 6; Corner Kicks: 6; Offside: 2; Fouls Committed: 14
LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders, Todd Dunivant, Leonardo, A.J. DeLaGarza, Sean Franklin, Landon Donovan ©, Juninho, Chris Birchall, David Beckham, Mike Magee (Paolo Cardozo 63), Chad Barrett (Juan Pablo Angel 63)
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Perk, Frankie Hejduk, Bryan Jordan, Michael Stephens, Jovan Kirovski
STATS: Shots: 13; Shots on Goal: 7; Saves: 0; Corner Kicks: 6; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 6
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Assistant Referees: Bill Dittmar, Brian Poeschel
Fourth Official: Ramon Hernandez
Weather: Rain, 57 degrees
- Tonight’s game was the 16th season opener for the Revolution … the Revolution now has an all-time record of 180-198-82 all-time in MLS regular-season action.
- By opening the season at LA, the Revs have now played their first game of a new season on the West Coast six of the last eight seasons and in California for the third-straight year … this is the second year in a row that New England opened the campaign at The Home Depot Center against the Galaxy, while the team played San Jose in the 2009 season opener.
- Following tonight’s result, the Revs are now 4-8-4 all-time in season openers, including a 3-8-4 mark on the road.
- Head coach Steve Nicol is now 3-3-3 with the Revs in season openers.
- With the draw, the Revs moved to 13-15-6 all-time against the Galaxy, and earned their first draw against LA since Aug. 20, 2008 (2-2 at Gillette Stadium).
- Tonight’s line-up featured just three Revs players that started the 2010 season opener against the Galaxy: Pat Phelan (central midfield both years), Zack Schilawski (forward both years) and Chris Tierney (left back in 2011, left midfield in 2010)
- The sidelines featured two of the league’s 100-career-win coaches in LA manager Bruce Arena (109) and Revs boss Steve Nicol (107) … the duo ranks third and fourth, respectively, in the MLS career coaching records.
- The Revs’ starting lineup saw two rookies in the starting lineup – A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy – marking the third-straight season in which the Revs ran out at least two rookies in the season’s opening match … in 2010, Zack Schilawski and Seth Sinovic started, while in 2009 Kevin Alston and Darrius Barnes were both among the starting 11.
- The result tonight in Carson snapped the Revs’ six-game losing streak in the Pacific and Mountain time zones, dating back to the start of the 2010 season … last season, the Revs went 0-6-0 in their away matches against Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders FC.