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MLS Weekend Preview: Friedel’s Revs get NYCFC test

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It’s an international break, and Major League Soccer is only sorta observing it.

More than half of the league’s clubs will participate on Saturday match days, with several shorthanded by national team duty.

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Columbus won’t have Zack Steffen and Wil Trapp for a visit from DC United — who is missing Zoltan Steiber, Bruno Miranda, and Oniel Fisher — while the Red Bulls will be without Tyler Adams, Kemar Lawrence, and Michael Murillo for Minnesota United’s visit.

NYCFC won’t have Alexander Ring, Ronald Matarrita, and Rodney Wallace, Portland’s without David Guzman and Andy Polo, and Sporting KC loses Daniel Salloi.

The Whitecaps won’t have center back Kendall Waston, while opponents LA Galaxt are without Ola Kamara.

New England Revolution vs. New York City FC — 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday

Brad Friedel‘s New England revolution, purposely lower case, is making believers out of its players. It would take a giant step if it could slow the NYCFC juggernaut. The visitors have allowed just one goal in their 3-0 start.

As for the hosts, Friedel has made his mark in a way that mostly makes you wonder what in the world Jay Heaps was doing:.

(Bunbury) pointed to a fine system in the locker room, increased accountability, how Friedel posts the starting XI on game day, and occasional two-a-day training sessions, which never occurred in the forward’s four years under Heaps.

“I think it unifies the team,” Bunbury said. “The broad sense of professionalism, it’s about having respect for each other and making sure you are held accountable in every part of this club.”

Never occurred under Heaps? Woof.

FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers — 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday

FCD had an uninspiring ending to their CONCACAF Champions League dreams, but that’s little compared to the Timbers’ 0-2 start under Gio Savarese. A trip down South isn’t a surefire way to right the ship.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. LA Galaxy — 10 p.m. ET Saturday

A long trip up North is only made worse by a laundry list of injuries for Sigi Schmid’s Galaxy. We’re only listing it amongst our Top Three because an LA win would be wildly impressive given the ‘Caps strong start.

Elsewhere

Columbus Crew vs. DC United — 6 p.m. ET Saturday
New York Red Bulls vs. Minnesota United — 7 p.m. ET Saturday
Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting KC — 9 p.m. ET Saturday

MLS Snapshot: Nemeth ruins his return to SKC; NE thrashed again

Photo credit: Sporting Kansas City / @SportingKC
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The game in 100 words (or less): Unlike that of Kekuta Manneh, Krisztian Nemeth’s return to his former home was far from ceremonious, as the New England Revolution attacker (and former Sporting Kansas City man) was sent off after just 11 minutes, with his new outfit 1-0 ahead on a goal scored by Teal Bunbury, another former Sporting KC striker. The Hungarian’s early dismissal paved the way for a ferocious comeback which puts Sporting within a point of the Western Conference’s top spot, and generates a bit of momentum ahead of Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup final agains the New York Red Bulls, right back here at Children’s Mercy Park. Gerso Fernandes pulled SKC level in the 16th minute, just five minutes after Nemeth saw red, and the Bissau-Guinean set up Diego Rubio for what turned out to be the game-winning goal just before halftime. The Chilean striker, and Dom Dwyer’s replacement following his trade in July, grabbed a second goal 12 minutes into the second half, as Peter Vermes’ side pick just its fifth win in 14 games, though it should be noted they’ve lost just twice during that period.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview — TFC’s Shield chase continues in LA ]

Three Four moments that mattered

4′ — Bunbury’s shot gets deflected, loops over Melia — It was Score Against Your Old Club Night in MLS.

11′ — Nemeth sees red for an elbow — It was the laziest attempt to garner an “I really just don’t want to be here” red card you’ll see for quite some time.

16′ — Fernandes equalizes at the near post — If New England could have held on until halftime before giving up the equalizer, they might have had a shot at getting something out of this game.

45′ — Rubio slides in at the back post for 2-1 — Graham Zusi, who’s #actually a fine right back in the right system, carries the ball roughly 50 yards here, before sliding it wide to Fernandes, who plays it across goal for Rubio to poke it home.

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Man of the match: Gerso Fernandes

Goalscorers: Bunbury (4′), Fernandes (16′), Rubio (45′, 57′)

MLS Snapshot: New England 2-3 New York Red Bulls (video)

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less)Jay Heaps and the New England Revolution threw away two wonderful plays from Diego Fagundez, and perhaps their playoffs hopes in the process. New England is now eight points back of the sixth spot in the East, while New York stays within shouting distance of the Top Six. Coach Jesse Marsch is now the winningest coach in RBNY history, while Heaps days of adding to his total as Revs boss may be dwindling down to zero.

(Some of) The goals

21′ — Pretty build-up, gutsy finish — The first example of Fagundez’s fantastic playmaking was met by Teal Bunbury’s fearless finish. It’s a shame few fans will be thinking about it following the match.

23′ — BWP’s vicious equalizer — Sometime it’s more power than placement.

26′ — Fagundez wins the ball back, finds Nguyen — Look at this mazey dribble from the 22-year-old Uruguayan.

90′ — Veron gets on the board — Not a banner moment for keeper positioning, but the Argentine from San Lorenzo has his first of the season to just drive a sledgehammer into New England’s collective gut.

Man of the Match: Fagundez.

NE Revs top Chicago Fire, book place in 2016 US Open Cup final

AP Photo/Steven Senne
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The New England Revolution became the first side to book their place in the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final, by beating the Chicago Fire, 3-1 at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday.

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Kei Kamara, whom the Revolution acquired not long before they began this year’s Open Cup campaign, Je-Vaughn Watson and Teal Bunbury scored the goals to put Jay Heaps’ side into next month’s final for the first time since 2007, in which they’ll face either FC Dallas or the LA Galaxy (second semifinal to be played Wednesday night).

The Revs struck first, from the penalty spot, after Rodrigo Ramos tripped Kelyn Rowe on the corner of the penalty area in the 15th minute. Kamara converted the ensuing spot-kick for a 1-0 lead.

Chicago pulled level on a busted play along the Revs’ backline in the 40th minute. Michael de Leeuw poked the ball past a pair of defenders for David Accam, who was suddenly in all kinds of space near the penalty spot. The Ghanaian, one of Chicago’s few true bright spots this season, cut inside and slotted the ball past Brad Knighton to make it 1-1.

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That scoreline lasted less than 90 seconds, though, as Watson headed home a bouncing ball in the face of goal. Chris Tierney whipped in the initial free kick, and Kamara headed the ball goal-bound only to see it denied three yards off the line. Matt Lamspon went to ground on Kamara’s header, leaving a simple finish for Watson.

Bunbury put the game away with a slow bouncer out of reach of Lampson in the 85th minute.

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Drawn the fourth-ranked team in terms of priority to host the Sept. 21 final, the Revs will go for their first major trophy since 2007 away from home, no matter who advances from Wednesday’s semifinal.

Revolution, Galaxy taking different perspectives on “hectic, crazy” 2-2 draw

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Revolution and LA Galaxy clashed in ugly weather conditions, but that didn’t stop the first-half of play from showing two of Major League Soccer’s best teams brandishing numerous quality attacks.

Four goals in total were netted in the first 45 minutes, as New England nabbed the first on Teal Bunbury’s close-range effort in the fifth minute, followed by a surge from the LA Galaxy that included scores from two young guns–forward Gyasi Zardes and Ignacio Magnato.

Then, the Revs own youngster, 20-year-old Diego Fagundez, put the two sides on equal terms with his sharp free-kick conversion.

All of this happened in what felt like rapid succession, and the remainder of this 2014 MLS Cup rematch wouldn’t display such frantic maneuvering.

[RELATED: Revolution-Galaxy recap]

Unfortunately for the Revolution, they couldn’t keep pushing for the final goal, and the sudden lack of forwardness antagonized head coach Jay Heaps.

He was not happy with the sedate cadence of the match, which, Heaps believes, the officials facilitated.

“I thought our urgency was – should have been better in the second half and we created a lot of chances, but I thought that the referee wasn’t letting us play the game,” he said. “It really felt like there was a lot of delays in the game and unfortunately our tempo needs to be played quickly.

“I’m disappointed as you can tell because I thought our game plan was really good and we came out an executed for the first 12 minutes of that game, and if we continued to do that for another 30 or 40 minutes, you’d see a big smile on my face right now. But we didn’t and that’s why I’m so frustrated right now.”

Galaxy manger Bruce Area uttered a somewhat divergent sentiment, glad to have another positive end product, one without reigning MLS MVP Robbie Keane.

“This game tonight was hectic, crazy, out of control, not an easy game,” he admitted.

“I give our guys credit. Going down a goal in the early minutes and being able to get a point out of it against a good team, it’s a good result, a good week for us with two wins and a draw.”

The Revolution will travel to Portland to experience the Timbers on Saturday. Arena’s side return home to duel the Vancouver Whitecaps that same day.