Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis had a press conference at Gillette Stadium two hours before kickoff against the Philadelphia Union to give an update on his father-in-law’s condition.
John Odom, Reis’s father-in-law, was injured in the Boston Marathon bombing last Monday. Reis’s wife, Nicole, was running the marathon for the New England Patriots’ charitable foundation.
On Saturday, Reis spoke more in-depth about the immediate moment the bombings happened.
“The seven of us got to the finish line, probably about 10 minutes before the first blast happened,” Reis said. “About two minutes before the blast happened, I decided to move with my son…we moved toward the finish line.
“I dropped my son off to my brother-in-law, and told him I was going to go back and get his dad. I didn’t know at the time that [my father-in-law] was injured.”
After going back to help, Reis said he saw his mother-in-law crouched over Odom. Odom “…was moaning that his leg hurt and that he was in a lot of pain.”
Reis’s first reaction was to wrap his belt around Odom’s leg to act as a tourniquet. He also took of his jacket to apply pressure to the wound. According to Reis, the time between the bomb going off and Odom getting an ambulance was roughly 20 minutes.
“We were really fortunate,” Reis said. “He’s gone through eight or nine surgeries now. He has been taken off critical [condition] and has been moved down to serious condition. He doesn’t have a breathing tube in. He’s starting to talk and starting to communicate.”
Reis’s family has received support from the community, but says his teammates’ kind thoughts have been second-to-none.
“This is my second family here,” Reis said. “The guys in the locker room have been supportive like no other.
“It really makes you feel good inside, and it helps a lot. Soccer is my next love, and I love being here. It has been tough, but I think getting back to soccer has helped in getting back to somewhat of a normal routine.”
Reis and his family haven’t thought much about the two men who put the bombs down near Marathon Sports at the finish line.
“It hasn’t really been much on our family’s mind as to why they did it – any reason is not a good enough reason,” he said.
“To see what these people tried to do and how crudely they did it, what they tried to take from us…I guess they didn’t realize what that would do to our city and how it created such a love and support around the people that is has affected.
“Instead of creating hysteria and despair, they created a lot of hope.”
The semifinals of the Champions League will kick off on Tuesday as Bayern Munich will play host to Barcelona. In the other bracket, which will begin play on Wednesday, Borussia Dortmund will host Real Madrid. It’s the first time since 2000 that all the semifinalists are either from Germany or Spain, highlighting the intercontinental rivalry that has developed between both countries.
As a soccer nation, Spain has been top dog since 2007, winning the 2010 World Cup and the last two European Championships. Meanwhile, Germany hasn’t won an international event since winning the 1996 European Championship, though they have been top finishers more often than Spain. They’ve earned semifinal results in the last three World Cups and the last two European Championships, while the Spanish have more dated semifinal appearances, runners-up at the 1984 European Championship, and fourth at the 1950 World Cup.
Though players from all over the world represent Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Borussia Dortmund, the result of the Champions League Final holds serious bragging rights for Germany and Spain.
Both sets of fans have already clashed in support of their national teams, with Spain knocking out Germany at the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 World Cup. Starting Tuesday, Germans and Spaniards will clash over the strength of their respective soccer leagues.
While few dispute that both the German Bundesliga and Spain’s La Liga are two of the best soccer leagues in the world, there is much debate over which one is closer to the top. The Bundesliga employs the German strategy: a brick wall defense and a relentless attack. La Liga: fluid passing and creative offensive movement. The Bundesliga is more of a dogfight, with a slew of teams in the middle of the league table fighting for top spots while La Liga is more predictable as it is dominated by teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid who are perennially at the top of the table.
Ideally, the Champions League Final, which takes place on May 25 at Wembley Stadium in London, would be between Bayern Munich and Barcelona, the current league leaders in the Bundesliga and La Liga. Both teams are so good that they each send a large percentage of their rosters’ domestic players to play for the national team. So in many ways, a match between Bayern Munich and Barcelona could look a lot like a match between Germany and Spain, with just a few additions or subtractions.
So for those who are looking to stack German soccer against Spanish soccer at a high-stake setting, that match-up would be ideal.
Nevertheless, Bayern Munich and Barcelona will have to take each other out for a spot in the final. So that scenario is nonexistent. Still, a final featuring either Borussia Dortmund or Real Madrid would certainly not be disappointing, even though both teams are currently ranked second in their respective leagues’ standings.
All four teams thoroughly deserve to be in the semifinals. Each team finished first in its group. They've also ran through hoops in the knockout round.
Bayern Munich defeated Juventus by a 4-0 score in the round of eight, picking up an elusive win in Torino. Their German rivals Borussia Dortmund edged dangerous Shaktar Donetsk in the round of 16 and then Malaga in the round of eight.
Real Madrid downed Manchester United, last year’s runners-up, in the round of sixteen and then took down Galatasaray. And Barcelona fought off a 2-0 deficit against Milan in the round of 16 to win, 4-2, and move into the round of eight, where they appeared to have met their match against Paris Saint-Germain, but won in a penalty shootout.
So in truth, Germany and Spain are already bragging. The success of each semifinalist is proof that they are the two best soccer nations in Europe, if not the world. The only thing left to do is find a Champion.
The Revolution have some serious soul-searching to do. On Saturday evening, they extended their winless streak to five games, falling to the New York Red Bulls 4-1 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.
No one – especially the Revolution (1-3-2, 5 points) – expected the game to be easy. The Red Bulls (3-4-2, 11 points) are always a difficult challenge away from home, particularly in the attacking third through Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill. But on top of that, the Revolution are dealing with the temporary loss of their teammate Kevin Alston, who is taking a leave of absence to treat leukemia, plus the psychological and emotional remnants of the Boston Marathon attacks.
"It meant a lot," said defender Chris Tierney, whose girlfriend was injured as a result of the bombings. "It’s been such a tough week for us. Obviously, the result didn’t go the way we wanted it to but it was a good distraction for us."
The defense, which entered the game with the league's best record, crumbled early, allowing goals from Dax McCarty and Fabian Espindola in just the first eight minutes. The defense would have to further adapt in the 18th minute when Stephen McCarthy entered the game for AJ Soares, who hurt his right hamstring while stealing the ball from Cahill.
Henry and Cahill both seemed to take their foot off the gas after Espindola scored the second goal, allowing the Revolution to take over on attack and take pressure off their defense. In flashes, the Revolution attack showed promise.
But for the most part, the Red Bulls seemed content with letting the Revolution keep the ball, as their passing sequences mostly led to nothing. It became very obvious that the Revolution players were expending a lot of energy in maintaining possession while the Red Bulls sat back, caught their breath, and absorbed the pressure.
Late in the game, the Red Bulls decided to break free as Henry and Jonny Steele scored in the 82nd and 89th minutes, respectively. Both goals were off of a counter-attack and were caused by a failed Revolution attack followed by the Red Bulls stampeding downfield in great haste, cutting past a stretched and tired backline, and pummeling the ball into the back of the net.
Shuttleworth, who started instead of Matt Reis (in Boston with his father-in-law, who was hospitalized as a result of the Marathon attacks), was not to blame for the goals. He did his part by making three saves, but was hung out to dry by his defense.
In turn, both he and the defense didn't have the support of the offense, as has been the case all season.
The Revolution's goal, sandwiched in between McCarty and Espindola strikes in the opening eight minutes, wasn't even scored by a New England player. Brandon Barklage deflected a Chris Tierney free kick into the back of the net for an own goal, snapping a 394-minute scoreless streak.
While Tierney's cross caused the goal to occur, a Revolution player has not scored in 478 minutes, the longest scoreless streak in team history.
"It was a wild start," added Tierney. "Not what we had planned on. We knew they were going to come out strong as they usually do at home. Unfortunately, they caught us with that early goal and that really hurt us. We did well to get back to 1-1 and had some chances at 2-1 but it just didn’t go our way."
"Unfortunately, the first couple minutes were when this game was decided," coach Jay Heaps told The Globe. "Our focus was not good. We made a game of it, but it still wasn’t there."
The first couple of minutes did not necessarily decide the game, as Heaps said. The Revolution finished with seven shots, four of which were on target. But given the amount of possession they had and the amount of energy they used trying to create chances, they had almost nothing to show for their efforts.
When it came time to shoot, the Revolution often hesitated. When the situation required maintaining possession, a pass was made to a player with little space. And when a play required patience, the Revolution rushed. Making quicker, more decisive plays could have led the game to finish 2-2 instead of 4-1. The Revolution had 82 minutes to turn the tables but didn't do it.
In a great spirit of compassion and sportsmanship, Red Bulls and the four bus loads of Revolution supporters entered Red Bull Arena to the song "Dirty Water" by The Standells. Players on both teams wore black arm bands that read "Boston" as a sign of support. The Revolution fell short, but they have no choice but to go back to the drawing board in hopes of getting those goals and those wins for the city and region they represent.
"We fought and we clawed back, but we could never get there,” Heaps finished. “Obviously, this has been a tough week for all of us. Six or seven of us were within a half-mile of the [marathon] tragedy.
“But this team is like Boston. We’re a tough team and Boston’s a tough city. We’ll be back and Boston will be back.”
The Red Bulls will be very happy with their victory, seeing as it propels them up the Eastern Conference standings where they rightly belong. For the Revolution, it's more struggles. They showed some of their best passing and possession of the season at times, but were chaotically unorganized in defense. You just can't blame Bobby Shuttleworth for all four of those goals. And yes, there may be a "1" next to "Revolution" on the scoreboard, but that was an own goal. So make no mistake, this team's scoring woes are not over. A Revolution player has not scored since they last won on March 9, a streak that is now 478 minutes long. Saer Sene, Jerry Bengston, Diego Fagundez have to do whatever it takes to shoot when it is most advantageous. And Jay Heaps needs to decide who his midfield core is.
Final: Red Bulls 4, Revolution 1
88th minute- Goodnight, Revolution. Red Bulls make it 4-1 as Jonny Steele scores.
82nd minute- Probably game over right there. Thierry Henry runs onto Jonny Steele pass and slots ball into the back of the net.
80th minute- Jamison Olave comes on. Could be trouble for the Revolution. He is a brick wall, even if he is carrying a slight injury.
78th minute- Revolution finding their auxiliaries as they continue to push and maintain possession. Not much left in it. Is there a goal?
70th minute- Is there an equalizer in New York for the Revolution? Can the write the boat? Time ticking away...
64th minute- Revolution very fortunate as Bobby Shuttleworth takes down Henry in penalty area following an errant back pass by Chris Tierney.
62nd minute- Chris Tierney plays in a corner kick and Jose Goncalves slides onto it. The shot is tipped away by Robles.
58th minute- The Revolution are hanging in there but are really struggling to create opportunities.
53rd minute- Kalifa Cisse on thin ice right now after he commits a foul and gets another talking to from the referee. Both teams with very positive spells of passing to start the second half.
45th minute- The Revolution escape the first half down by just one goal. They showed some of their best stuff in parts of the half, though in truth the Red Bulls reclaimed the momentum in the last ten minutes.
37th minute- Tim Cahill heads Henry freekick off the crossbar.
31st minute- Jerry Bengston rounds the keeper but loses his angle, sending his shot over the crossbar.
27th minute- It's been all Revolution since they surrendered the lead the second time. Tierney pops in a cross for Fagundez, who volleys it over the crossbar.
20th minute- The Revolution may have allowed two goals, but they look like they've calmed the game down and are doing well to create opportunities and keep the ball.
18th minute- Stephen McCarthy will replace Soares. It's his first appearance of 2013. Will be interesting to see how he gels with the rest of the defense.
13th minute- Soares goes down in his own penalty area and appears to be clutching hims hamstring. Doesn't look like he'll be able to continue.
8th minute- Wow. A shootout going on in New York. Holy smokes. Fabian Espindola cuts past Tierney and fires a low, hard shot into the back of the net past Shuttleworth. Let's see how the Revs respond to that.
6th minute- Brandon Barklage deflects Chris Tierney freekick off the turf and into the back of the net for an own goal. It's just the second goal the Revolution have scored this season, snapping a 394-minute scoreless streak.
4th minute- Dax McCarty score off a half-volley from just outside the penalty area. Just the third goal they've given up this season. Not at all the start they wanted.
Keys to the Game:
New England: the Revolution have only scored once this season and need to create more chances to put the ball in the back of the net. They need to control the midfield and possession...New York: Create chances and take control of possession early. Avoid defensive errors despite loss of Jamison Olave (injury).
New England- GK:. Bobby Shuttleworth, D: Chris Tierney, AJ Soares, Jose Goncalves, Andrew Farrell, M- Lee Nguyen, Kalifa Cisse, Andy Dorman, Diego Fagundez, Juan Toja, F:- Jerry Bengston
New York: GK- Luis Robles, D: Heath Pearce, Roy Miller, Markus Holgersson, Brandon Barklage, M: Dax McCarty, Jonny Steele, Eric Alexander, Tim Cahill, F: Thierry Henry, Fabian Espindola
New England Revolution (1-2-2, 5 points, 7th in Eastern Conference) at New York Red Bulls (2-4-2, 8 points, 5th in Eastern Conference)...Kick-off at 7 PM from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.
On Tuesday, the Kraft family announced on behalf of the Revolution and the Patriots that it would match up to $100,000 in donations to support the recovery of the victims of Monday's Boston Marathon bombing.
“We are grieving for the victims of this senseless act,” said Robert Kraft, owner of both the Patriots and Revolution, in a statement. “It is not lost on us that this tragedy occurred on Patriots Day, at an event where our own staff and their families were participating, and where thousands of runners were raising money for charities with which we are associated either through our Foundation, our alumni or our friends."
Thirty-four members of the Patriots Charitable Foundation team participated in the marathon. The father of Nicole Reis, wife of Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis, was injured in the bombings. Reis's father-in-law remains in the hospital in critical condition.
"It was mayhem," said Revolution defender Chris Tierney, who was present for the attacks. "There were a bunch of us in the area enjoying the day. Some of us on the team actually ran into each other randomly on the streets. It was a tough day all around."
Tierney's girlfriend was also hospitalized as a result of the attacks. The Globe reported Wednesday that she is in stable condition.
The Revolution and the Patriots Charitable Foundations will collect donations online. Anyone who wants to make a donation can do so at revolutionsoccer.net/donate (in the field "Boston Marathon"). The Kraft family will match the first $100,000 donated.
"Our focus is on helping those in need and beginning the healing process," Kraft's statement concluded. "We hope by matching donations we will encourage more people to give.”
If only their offense would show up the way their defense has, the Revolution would have quite a 1-2 punch. But alas, that's not the case. On Saturday, the Revolution's wonderful defensive form and dreadful offensive form continued, this time in a 0-0 draw against the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field.
Defensively, the result is a positive one for New England (1-2-2, 5 points), which remains the league's best defensive team with four shutouts. But when it comes to scoring goals, the Revolution midfield isn't doing its part.
The Revolution spent most of the first half under heavy pressure from winless Seattle. When the defense won the ball back, the midfield would cough up possession almost immediately. Jerry Bengtson, playing as the lone forward in a 4-5-1 formation, rarely had the ball at his feet. By the end of the first half, the Revolution produced just one shot compared with eight by Seattle.
"We have to be better with the ball," said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. "A lot of our giveaways were unforced errors so it has to be better in that regard."
"Our first half wasn't very good. We weren't good enough with the ball. Second half was a little bit better. As the game went on we got more chances that were dangerous. We have to get those earlier in the match."
Any team that wants to score goals needs to possess the ball well and have myriad offensive tactics. That has been missing for the Revolution, who haven't scored or won since the season opener March 9. Their scoreless streak is at 388 minutes.
The midfield improved in the second half, particularly when Andy Dorman came on for Kalifa Cisse in the 64th minute. Dorman sped up the midfield's pace and made simple, accurate passes that led to a few chances at the end of the game. Nevertheless, Dorman can't do it alone. Even with him on the field, the Revolution finished the match with 31.9 percent of the possession.
Such a low possession percentage is unacceptable for a team trying to end a goal drought. The midfield needs to generate chances for the scorers to feed off of. That piece has been missing through the first two months of the season.
Had it not been for the defense on Saturday, as has been the case for most of the season, the result could have been catastrophic. Bobby Shuttleworth started in place of Matt Reis (knee) and made four saves. AJ Soares and Jose Goncalves combined well in central defense, finding themselves in the right place at the right time to head, slide, and tackle away most of what the Sounders came up with. Chris Tierney filled in admirably for Kevin Alston, helping continue the Revolution's solid defensive form.
"I've been training with these guys every day and I've played a lot of left back over the years," explained Tierney. "It's an easy transition for me. I'm just happy we kept another clean sheet. These guys have been rock solid defensively. [Shuttleworth] came up with some big saves when we really needed him"
"Defensively, we've got to be proud of the effort all the way through the team. Hopefully we'll get things clicking a little more offensively and we'll score some goals."
The Revolution need stronger midfield performances that create more chances. That's how they will score more goals. Bengtson has been in terrific scoring form with the Honduran national team in World Cup qualification, but has been limited to just one league goal this year because of a lack of service and activity by the midfield in the final third.
More scoring help could be arriving very soon through Saer Sene, who made his 2013 debut against Seattle after tearing his ACL last season. Sene, who led team scoring in 2012 with 11 goals, played 16 minutes on Saturday. His match fitness is expected to progress and he may see more time against New York next Saturday.
"He's not one hundred percent yet, but you can see some of the things he can do," added Heaps. "He kept the ball for us, made some good runs. His body looks good, but he's got to get his fitness up."
"It's a very special feeling to get back on the field," said Sene. "I feel very good. After the game I wanted to play more. I think this is a good step forward. The more you play, the more your fitness gets better."
With both the Revolution and Seattle Sounders in last place in their respective conferences, Saturday’s clash between the two at CenturyLink Field in Seattle could be decided by which team wants to end its winless woes the most.
Fresh off a 1-1 result at Santos Laguna that eliminated them from the CONCACAF Champions League, the Sounders have won just once in their last eight games and are on a five-game winless streak. But for the most part, the Sounders have trudged through their winless streak in style. That doesn't mean that they've turned mediocre soccer into an art form to earn sub-par results.
It means that the Sounders are playing well enough that, with just a little bit of fine tuning, they could be one of the league's best teams in a matter of weeks. A win against the Revolution could be the stepping stone Seattle needs to make its turnaround.
But the Revolution have been stepped on enough through their first four games of the year. They are currently in the midst of a 298-minute scoreless streak and haven't won since March 9. They are also dealing with the loss of Kevin Alston, who is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team to treat a form of leukemia.
“It's tough, obviously,” said Revolution defender Chris Tierney, who may slot in for Alston at left back. “Everyone knows about the situation with Kevin. It's something we've sort of handled as a team and as a family. We obviously spoke with Kevin and all of our support is with him. We're thinking about him all week through training and as we play this weekend, but it's a job and we have to get on with it. We have to use it as motivation to work hard in his absence.”
If missing their friend and defensive leader isn’t motivation enough, coach Jay Heaps is assured that the hunger to win is.
“I don’t know many games we go into where we don’t feel all that desperate,” he said. “We just don’t have the luxury right now as a group. Every game, we need to get a result. It’s vital for both teams.”
Winning is never easy against Seattle – especially when the game is in Seattle. What is more, the Sounders aren’t playing like a team in last place in the Western Conference. The closeness of their league games, plus the fact that they earned a tie in Mexico on Tuesday – never an easy feat for an MLS team – is proof that the Sounders are capable of picking themselves up.
But the Sounders are perhaps under more pressure, as this is their worst start to a season in franchise history. The best thing the Revolution can do is to pile on more pressure – on the field during the game – through controlling the midfield, and resolute defense.
“They’ll have pressure on them to win at home," finished Tierney. "We’ll try to use that pressure against them and try to nip something.”
New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston has been diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia and will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team, the club announced on Monday morning.
CML is a rare, but treatable, form of leukemia that does not require hospitalization. Alston is expected to return to the Revolution at some point in the future.
"The Revolution fully supports Kevin as he begins treatment," Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said. "Right now, the most important thing for Kevin, and his family, is to concentrate on returning to full health. Kevin's had a tremendous attitude since the diagnosis and his positivity is an inspiration for all of us.”
Alston has started the first four games of the 2013 season at left back. Originally picked up as a right back by the Revolution as the 10th overall selection in the 2009 Draft, the speedy defender was switched to the left side last year. The Revolution have depth at left back through Chris Tierney and Tyler Polak.
If anyone wants to reach out to Alston, they can do so by sending him get-well messages and thoughts to the email GetWellKevinAlston@gmail.com or tag tweets with #GetWellKA.
Last Friday, on the 100th anniversary of US Soccer's founding, the US women's national team played the second-ranked Germans to a 3-3 tie in Offenbach, Germany. Though the US wasn't victorious, the fact that the American women not only played the day of the centennial but also entered the game as the world's top-ranked team was a reminder of just how far women's soccer -- and women's athletics in general -- have come.
One hundred years ago, the events of last Friday would have been a dream for women, who still couldn't vote and rarely attended college. When the US Soccer Federation was formed in 1913, soccer was very much thought of as a man's game. There were organized female tournaments at the club level in England as early as 1918, though the first official Women's World Cup wasn't until 1991. On top of that, the US Soccer Federation didn't put a women's team on the field until 1985.
The women's game started earlier internationally. In 1969, an unofficial European tournament similar to today's European Championship was launched and featured France, England, Denmark, and host Italy. The tournament was played again in Italy in 1979 and was expanded to seven other European nations. The tournament was officially adopted by UEFA (Europe's administrative soccer body) in 1982 and still exists today as the Women's Euro.
Europe has always been a few steps ahead of America in regards to soccer, although US women have dominated the sport from the start.
The US women's national team has never been ranked lower than second place by FIFA, the governing body of world soccer. It has finished in the top three at every World Cup, winning twice. It has also won four of the five Olympic Games that have included soccer, finishing second at Sydney 2000. The US has a 404-58-57 all-time record, giving it a 76.0 winning percentage.
The US men's team has been at it since 1913 but hasn't come close to the level of the women's team in international play. But perhaps by the time a women's team was first fielded in 1985, things had been in place to ensure that the US women would be successful.
The passage of Title IX in 1972 was instrumental. Universities around the country built women's soccer programs, which turned into the breeding grounds for future national team players and coaches.Today, college teams like North Carolina, Stanford, UCLA, Florida, and others continue to supply players to the national team.
In 1986, orth Carolina coach Anson Dorrance became the second coach of the US team. He not only accumulated a 66-22-5 record, but also discovered or developed key American players like Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Kristine Lilly, Julie Foudy, and Joy Fawcett.
That generation of players won the World Cup in 1991 and are still called pioneers of women's athletics. But today's generation of players has gone from pioneering to building. The most recent undertaking is the creation of a stable, professional soccer league.
Unfortunately, that's the one area in which American women's soccer has continued to struggle. Since 2003, two professional leagues have failed due to financial constraints and low attendance. Nevertheless, this new generation of players have pressed on and have, for the third time, helped resurrect a professional women's soccer league.
The new National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) will kick off this weekend and is expected to be much more financially durable than the previous leagues. The league is important for three reasons. One, it allows women to train domestically at a high level and is direct competition for European women's leagues. Two, it gives the US national team an arena to find and evaluate players after they succeed in college. And three, it gives young girls who dream of playing soccer a steppingstone.
Most female players have been worried at one time or another that they would be unable to play soccer professionally. But in creating and maintaining the NWSL, today's players are not only building a league for themselves, but also creating an avenue for US Soccer to find the next world champion players.
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