Alignment is falling into place
FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution’s scoring output has not changed drastically since the team changed to a two-striker attack. But the 4-4-2 alignment is contributing to a more effective offensive dynamic.
“It actually started against the Red Bulls, when I ‘scored’ the goal,’’ Revolution forward Rajko Lekic said after a 1-1 tie with Chicago last night. “And we came home and I had two or three chances [in a 0-0 tie with Toronto FC], so it’s getting better.’’
Lekic had a late goal disallowed for offsides against the Red Bulls (2-1 loss) but last night scored for the second time this season. Asked about the advantages of the two-forward setup, Lekic said: “In Denmark I played alone for one or two years and I scored a lot of goals, so I don’t know. Maybe here it’s better for the team with two in the front and we showed that in the last two games, but it’s up to the coach.’’
Said Revolution coach Steve Nicol: “Since coming here it’s been hard for [Lekic] playing up front on his own to begin with. That’s never easy for anybody. The finish [last night], on the one hand looks simple, but if you panic it becomes a lot harder. But he kept his cool and just stroked it away and just finished.’’
Next on the agenda The Revolution’s next three games are at Seattle (next Sunday), Real Salt Lake (July 4), and an exhibition against Manchester United (July 13).
“We’re creating chances and at some point we’ll get what we deserve,’’ Revolution midfielder Pat Phelan said. “We need to stick together and all be on the same page. [Seattle] is a tough place to play but if we’re cohesive and on the same page it makes it a lot easier. Over the last couple games we realize we can pass the ball and create some stuff and put the other team under pressure. So, I think if we do that at the beginning of the game we’ll be OK.’’
Mansally misfires Kenny Mansally misfired on two excellent chances, the first a header off a Sainey Nyassi cross in the first half.
“I told him he doesn’t have to flick it, just head it down,’’ Nyassi said. “He’ll work on his finishing.’’
Then, Mansally shot high off a Shalrie Joseph free kick in the 66th minute.
“I saw that coming,’’ Mansally said. “Shalrie looked up and I got it and my first touch was far away on my right side, but I think I’m unlucky.’’
Gibbs fits in Chicago Cory Gibbs had hoped to return to the Revolution this year, but he departed after one season, having failed to renegotiate a contract. The defender ended up with the Chicago Fire in the MLS re-entry draft.
“That was not a question of not wanting Cory back, it was more of a salary cap decision,’’ said Revolution vice president of player personnel Michael Burns.
The Revolution attempted to re-sign Gibbs at a lower salary, which allowed him to be placed in a selection process as a free agent, according to a league source. The Fire selected Gibbs in the second round.
“Team-wise, everything was fine,’’ Gibbs said. “Coaching staff, Stevie [Nicol] and the rest of the staff, top class, I give Stevie all respect.
“I just think it was everything with the front office, that’s what it boiled down to. Contractually, things didn’t pan out the way they wanted it to. At the end of the day, they wanted to make it work but it was too late.
Feilhaber still out Benny Feilhaber (ankle) was slated to make his first appearance since being injured May 29, but the Revolution medical staff recommended he wait until the Revolution visit Seattle next Sunday . . . Before last night, the Revolution had played 415 consecutive home minutes without a goal in the run of play since Lekic headed in a Zak Boggs cross in a 3-2 win over Kansas City April 23 . . . Matt Reis made his 201st appearance for the Revolution last night, tied with Steve Ralston on the all-time team list. Jeff Causey (64) is second among Revolution goalkeepers in games played.
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.