Ralston’s back in new role
FOXBOROUGH — Steve Ralston, now a member of the Houston Dynamo coaching staff, made his return to Gillette Stadium last night for the first time since leaving the Revolution last month. Ralston holds MLS and US professional soccer records for appearances (411 games) and is second on the Revolution in games played (225 in playoff and regular-season competition) and goals (44).
“It’s disappointing, we needed some points,’’ Ralston said after the Revolution defeated the Dynamo, 1-0. “You always want to play, always feel like you can play. I’m fresh out of it, but I’m beyond that now, I know my role. After the game I went over and talked to some of the guys but their approach was to win, so was ours. If I was doing a different job, maybe. I have a lot of friends in there and I miss them.’’
In his only match with the Revolution this season, Ralston broke his elbow shortly after entering an exhibition against Cruzeiro June 13. Ralston planned to return for the rest of the season, but received an offer from Houston coach Dominic Kinnear, a former teammate and close friend.
Ralston said he appreciated the Revolution’s pregame ceremony to honor him.
“But I wish there was a different time to do it, both teams had to be standing around for 10 minutes,’’ Ralston said. “It was a nice gesture.’’
Said Chris Tierney, who grew up a Revolution fan and joined the team in 2008: “I used to come to games at the old Foxboro [Stadium] and Rallie was one of the stars of the team. I’ve been watching him growing up and I’ve learned a lot from him and I think it’s only right he’s stepped into a coaching role because he’s got a lot he can pass on to younger players. I think, in the end, his reputation was pretty accurate. He’s just a good, down-to-earth, humble guy — he really is. He has unbelievable talent but you’d never know it talking to him. He’s always looking to improve and pass his experience on. He’s been great for me and the guys at this club and I have a lot to thank him for.’’
Revolution coach Steve Nicol on Stolica, who scored in the 62d minute of his first MLS start: “Yeah, it was a good goal. He took it really well. You can see the experience he has, the way he holds people off. A lot of small stuff probably goes unnoticed but makes a huge difference.’’
“It will be nice to get Kevin back, to be honest,’’ Nicol said. “That back line we’ve had — there’s some real steel there. So, it will be nice to get him back and keep it that way. I think the fact that we haven’t let in goals just builds everybody’s confidence up. It kind of relaxes you so you can just go and play. Because if you’re losing goals it affects everybody, not just the defense. So, the fact we’ve been pretty strong defensively spreads throughout the rest of the team.’’