CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Sainey Nyassi opened the scoring in the 38th minute and fellow Gambian Kenny Mansally converted a penalty kick in the 89th minute to lift the New England Revolution to a 2-1 win over FC Tucson (Premier Development League) in the 2012 preseason opener on Saturday night.
Milos Dragic scored the lone goal for FC Tucson in the 101st minute of the extended match, which featured two 35-minute periods followed by an additional 45-minute period in the early evening hours at Grande Sports World.
FIRST PERIOD (35 Minutes)
Colombian signing John Lozano earned the start alongside A.J. Soares in central defense, while the midfield featured third overall pick Kelyn Rowe (left) and Jeremiah White (right) on the wings. Nyassi partnered Supplemental Draft selection Michael Roach up top.
Lozano almost got on the scoresheet in the seventh minute when Benny Feilhaber’s service from the right side bounced through the box, but his close-range effort struck the crossbar. The Revs were on top for much of the opening 35 minutes but failed to capitalize on their dominance in possession as Lozano’s effort proved to be the best chance of the period for either side.
Revolution Lineup (4-4-2): Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, John Lozano, Kevin Alston, Kelyn Rowe, Shalrie Joseph ©, Benny Feilhaber, Jeremiah White, Sainey Nyassi, Michael Roach
SECOND PERIOD (35 Minutes)
Head coach Jay Heaps made three changes to start the second period, bringing on Junior N’Tame in central defense and Fernando Cardenas and Rick Smith at forward, shifting Nyassi back to the right wing.
Nyassi made the most of the switch, scoring just three minutes after the restart. The impressive Rowe was the provider, sending an in-swinging cross into the box from the left wing which Nyassi buried with a well-placed header just inside the right post.
Smith almost doubled the Revolution’s advantage in the 40th minute when another dangerous cross from Rowe found him open inside the box, but the Jamaican’s powerful header flew inches wide of the upper corner. Rowe’s service from a corner kick found Smith again in the 59th minute, but his downward header at the back post was cleared off the line.
Revolution Lineup (4-4-2): Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, Junior N’Tame, Kevin Alston, Kelyn Rowe, Shalrie Joseph ©, Benny Feilhaber, Sainey Nyassi, Fernando Cardenas, Rick Smith
THIRD PERIOD (45 Minutes)
Wholesale changes saw the Revs insert a brand new lineup for the final 45-minute period, including second-year midfielder Stephen McCarthy featuring in central defense.
Another second-year midfielder, Ryan Kinne, helped create the Revolution’s second goal when he was upended in the box to set up a penalty kick in the 89th minute. Mansally stepped up to the spot and coolly dispatched his effort, sending his shot into the left side of the net as the goalkeeper dove the opposite direction.
FC Tucson pulled a goal back in the 101st minute when Milos Dragic made the most of a turnover and finished low inside the right post, but it proved to be mere consolation as the Revs held on for the 2-1 victory.
Revolution Lineup (4-4-2): Bobby Shuttleworth, Tyler Polak, Stephen McCarthy, Darrius Barnes ©, Zak Boggs (Kevin Garcia 93), Alec Purdie (David Foley 93), Diego Fagundez, Clyde Simms, Ryan Kinne, Kenny Mansally, Zack Schilawski
NE – Sainey Nyassi (Kelyn Rowe) 38
NE – Kenny Mansally (penalty kick) 89
FCT – Milos Dragic (unassisted) 101
NE – Jeremiah White (caution) 20