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Revolution making strides with new look

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / July 25, 2011

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The Revolution found a successful lineup combination last week. After a nine-match winless streak covering a two-month stretch, they took a 1-0 win at D.C. United Wednesday and rallied to tie the host Colorado Rapids, 2-2, on Shalrie Joseph’s 90th-minute penalty kick Saturday night.

The result against the Rapids was especially rewarding since the Revolution were playing with 10 men following the 64th-minute ejection of Chris Tierney. Caleb Folan’s penalty kick tied the score, 1-1, and Kosuke Kimura’s long-distance drive bounced over goalkeeper Matt Reis for a 2-1 Colorado lead. But the Revolution limited the Rapids’ attacking threats for most of the match.

“The reason we did is because we kept a good shape,’’ Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. “We denied everything up until 65 minutes.’’

The central defensive pairing of Darrius Barnes and A.J. Soares set the tone with effective one-on-one marking. Barnes replaced Ryan Cochrane (foot) in the middle in the opening half of the D.C. game and started in that position for the first time since last season against the Rapids.

“Up until their goal things went perfect,’’ Nicol said. “Obviously, we had a tough game Wednesday and guys were tired. But they came out and their energy was tremendous.’’

Colorado’s go-ahead score appeared to surprise Reis, who attempted to cut the angle on a charging Folan but could not reach the ball.

“At the end of the day, Reisie misjudged it,’’ Nicol said. “But playing with the ball we’re playing with, it’s not fair on the players. That ball’s a lottery. As soon as it leaves the ground it moves left and right, just keeps going. It’s hard enough to get the basics of the game right without making it doubly difficult with a ball. That goal sums it up. But before that, in the first half - it’s not a normal bounce, not a normal ball, and it’s just not fair on the players.’’

Benny Feilhaber scored in the 25th minute, his first goal since joining the Revolution in May, heading one past goalkeeper Matt Pickens. The sequence started with a Kevin Alston throw-in, flicked on by Stephen McCarthy. After Tierney was red-carded, Barnes went to left back, Franco Coria joining Soares in the middle. The Revolution rallied as Barnes went forward, heading to Kenny Mansally, who was taken down by Scott Palguta for a penalty. Joseph then converted his 11th penalty kick in 14 attempts since joining the Revolution in 2003.

“I mean, to go 2-1 down with 10 men, as well, and get the equalizer,’’ Nicol said. “I think that tells you all you need to know about the players, where their heads are at. I’m not surprised. One thing they have always had is total commitment and that’s what you saw on Saturday night. It’s no surprise to me.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at

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