TUCSON, Ariz. – The New England Revolution maintained its unbeaten preseason record with a 0-0 draw through 90 minutes on Saturday night at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, but the LA Galaxy claimed the title of Desert Diamond Cup champions by emerging victorious in a penalty shootout, 4-2.
It was the final preseason tune-up for the Revs, who finished the preseason 6-0-1 and earned wins over the Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake in the group stage of the Desert Diamond Cup. The Revolution opens the regular season next weekend against the San Jose Earthquakes.
New England’s second-half substitute Fernando Cardenas came closest to scoring in regular time, hitting the post at the end of a weaving run in the 82nd minute. The title was ultimately decided when Benny Feilhaber’s fourth-round penalty attempt was saved by Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk and Marcelo Sarvas buried his effort inside the left post.
Both Kevin Alston and A.J. Soares started for the second straight time on the Revolution’s backline, while Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph, Kelyn Rowe and Clyde Simms all returned in midfield after being rested during Wednesday night’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake.
The Galaxy was bright early and twice came close to opening the scoring inside five minutes. Michael Stephens fired just wide of the right post in the third minute, while Chad Barrett whistled a shot wide of the left post two minutes later after being sprung by Todd Dunivant’s long diagonal pass. New England responded with a narrow miss of its own just moments later as Feilhaber drilled a shot wide of the left post in the seventh minute.
Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis was put to work in the 30th minute, coming up with a huge kick save on Jack McBean after the Galaxy forward intercepted an errant pass from Feilhaber and raced in alone. Feilhaber was involved at the other end of the field four minutes later, slipping a pass across the face of goal for Blake Brettschneider, who slid in at the near post to direct a shot just wide.
Twice the Revolution forced Perk into smart saves in the early stages of the second half. Rowe cut inside to fire a left-footed shot straight at Perk in the 55th minute, while Saer Sène had his tight-angle drive pushed away two minutes later. The Revs continued to press and in the 63rd minute Joseph directed a header over the crossbar and Sène had another close-range shot denied by Perk.
Cardenas almost found a late game-winner for New England with a bit of magic in the 82nd minute, dancing through the Galaxy’s midfield and backline before poking a shot off the inside of the left post. The ball eventually bounced across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.
That effort proved to be the final quality chance of the evening and the teams went directly to penalty kicks at the end of 90 minutes. Both goalkeepers made saves in the early stages of the shootout, but Perk’s save on Feilhaber in the fourth round and Sarvas’ finish to begin the fifth ultimately proved to be the difference.
With their preseason preparations complete, the Revs will kick off their 2012 regular-season schedule next weekend when they visit the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, March 10. Kickoff from Buck Shaw Stadium is set for 10:30 p.m. ET.
2012 FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup Championship
New England Revolution vs. LA Galaxy
March 3, 2012 – Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium (Tucson, Ariz.)
LA Galaxy 0, New England Revolution 0 (LA wins on PKs, 4-2)
Penalty Kick Summary:
LA – Paolo Cardozo – GOAL
NE – Ryan Guy – SAVED
LA – Michael Stephens – SAVED
NE – Matt Reis – GOAL
LA – Hector Jimenez – GOAL
NE – Shalrie Joseph – GOAL
LA – Ken Walker – GOAL
NE – Benny Feilhaber – SAVED
LA – Marcelo Sarvas - GOAL
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney (Darrius Barnes 46), A.J. Soares (John Lozano 46), Stephen McCarthy, Kevin Alston, Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph ©, Clyde Simms (Austin da Luz 71), Kelyn Rowe (Ryan Guy 79), Blake Brettschneider (Fernando Cardenas 66), Saer Sène
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Tim Murray, Tyler Polak, Diego Fagundez, Zack Schilawski, Ryan Kinne, Michael Roach, Rick Smith, Flo Lechner, Alec Purdie
LA Galaxy: Brian Perk, Todd Dunivant (JT Murray 46), Brian Gaul, Tom Meyer, Dan Keat (Justin Davies 64), Pat Noonan (Paolo Cardozo 66), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho (Ken Walker 69), Michael Stephens, Jack McBean, Chad Barrett (Hector Jimenez 61)
Substitutes Not Used: Bill Gaudette, Rafael Garcia
NE – Shalrie Joseph (caution) 45+