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Spirited Rhinos defeat uninspiring Revs in US Open Cup
LUDLOW, MA. – The Rochester Raging Rhinos of the A-League (American Soccer Division II) defeated the New England Revolution 3 to 1 on penalty kicks after playing the ninety minutes of regulation and thirty minutes of overtime to a 1-1 draw. The Rhinos controlled the majority of the possession as the Revs struggled to string together simple passes. Goalie Matt Reis kept the Revs in the match, but it was Rhinos ‘keeper Theo Zagar who was the hero when the match went to penalty kicks. The Revs, along with all nine other MLS teams participated in the 99th annual US Open Cup. The tournament pits the best teams from all levels of soccer against each other.

Both teams came into the game low on rest with the Rhinos playing their third game in four days and the Revs playing their fourth game in ten days. With that in mind, the Revs choose to sit and rest most of the regular starters for the match. The Revs started the match with Matt Reis in goal, Marshall Leonard at left back, Daouda Kante and Avery John in central defense, rookie Luke Vercollone out of position in right back, rookie Felix Brillant in left midfield, rookie Andy Dorman and Jose Cancela in center midfield, Richie Baker in right midfield, and Pat Noonan and Taylor Twellman at forward. Head coach Steve Nicol believed this line-up was fully capable of winning. “We want to win every game we play in,” Nicol said after the match. “We’ve had a long road trip and some tough games. We wanted to rest some guys, but we certainly didn’t want to disrespect them. I don’t think we did that at all. I think the team we had on the field was capable of winning the game, but it didn’t.”

The Revs almost went down in just the second minute thanks to a faulty penalty kick call by referee Ricardo Salazar. Not only was the tackle by Avery John outside of the goal box, but he seemed to get the ball first in his tackle on Chris Carrieri. Shaun Tsakiris stepped up to take the penalty kick, sending it Matt Reis’ left. Reis, however, was up to the task and dove to his right to deny the goal.

Five minutes later, the Revs took the lead with a play that started and ended with Pat Noonan. Noonan first sent a pass to Richie Baker on the right flank, before running into the box. Baker sent a perfect cross into Noonan, whose header deflected off a Rochester defender and went into the net.

Daouda Kante, who made a couple of defensive mistakes in the first half, made an impressive tackle in the 16th minute. After Chris Carrieri beat Avery John, he just had Kante to beat, but Kante slid in and came away with the ball. Carrieri received a yellow card for arguing about the incident.

The Revs had a golden opportunity to double their lead in the 25th minute, when Dorman sent a great pass to Noonan in the box, who turned and passed the ball to an open Taylor Twellman. Twellman shot, but saw his effort saved by a diving Theo Zagar.

Four minutes later, Reis came up big when he denied Corey Woolfolk on a one on one situation. Earlier, Woolfolk saw a great bicycle kick effort denied by Reis.

Felix Brillant sent a great long-range effort on target in the 35th minute, but his shot destined four the upper left corner was saved by Zagar.

The Revs made two changes at halftime; bring on Shalrie Joseph for Richie Baker and Jay Heaps for Daouda Kante. Rochester made two changes to their line-up as well, taking out Ryan Trout and Shaun Tsakiris in favor of Noah Delgado and Ian Pilarski.

Rochester took the lead in the 60th minute, seconds after a spectacular save by Reis, when Delgado sent a pass to Doug Miller after beating Luke Vercollone. Miller sent a cross into the box that Kirk Wilson easily hammered home from close range.

In attempt to revive the Revs attack, Clint Dempsey was brought on soon after the goal.

Carrieri scored the go ahead goal in the 70th minute, only to see it called offside. Carrieri’s header at the far post from a Pilarski cross beat Reis, but was denied by the offside call.

Shalrie Joseph saw a good chance denied in the 71st minute, when Zargar saved his header off an Andy Dorman corner kick.

Reis made a great save around the 75th minute, when Carrieri was clean through on goal and sent a low shot that forced a diving save from Reis.

Clint Dempsey created a good chance on a solo effort in the 79th minute, when he ran through the box before having his shot from the right side saved by Zargar. Zargar got hurt on the play when he was hit in the face by a tracking back defender.

Brian Kamler was subbed on for Felix Brillant in the Revs final sub of the match in the 86th minute.

Pat Noonan was denied a breakaway in stoppage time of the second half, when a through ball from Clint Dempsey sent him clean through. Noonan seemed to time his run well and stay onsides, but was flagged for offside and denied a great chance.

In the ninth minute of overtime, Dempsey dribbled through three defenders before send a pass back to a wide-open Noonan who somehow managed to send his shot well high.

Bill Sedgewick was ejected in the 102nd minute for his second yellow card on a dangerous tackle on Luke Vercollone. His first yellow came in the 56th minute for a late tackle on Andy Dorman.

The Revs were reduced to ten men as well at the half of the two 15 minute overtimes when Kamler left with a tweaked hamstring and the Revs had no substitutions left to replace him.

Neither side was able to capitalize in the second period of overtime, and the match went into a penalty kick shoot-out. Jay Heaps took the first penalty kick, sending it to the goalies left and towards the upper corner of the net only to see it stopped by an amazing save from Zargar. Doug Miller took Rochester’s first penalty kick sending a hard shot off the crossbar. Taylor Twellman took the next PK for the Revs slamming his shot into the upper right corner of the net. Craig Demmin leveled the shoot-out at one with a hard shot to the left side of the net. Clint Dempsey failed to score on his PK for the Revs, seeing his shot to the bottom left corner saved by Zargar. Former Rev Roland Aguilera scored on the next penalty for Rochester. Pat Noonan took the next penalty for the Revs sending it well high of the net. The missed PK set up Carlos Mendes game winner, sending his shot to the left side of the net past Reis.

Eliminated from the US Open Cup, the Revs return to league play on Saturday, July 24th. The Revs travel to San Jose to face the Earthquakes at 10:00PM ET.
July 21, 2004 Sean Donahue


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