New England had its second cross-country trip of the season on Saturday as they ventured to Buck Shaw stadium to take on the San Jose Earthquake. The Revs second west coast trip ended much like the first, with New England heading back home with a loss after San Jose earned a classy 2-0 win.
The home side came into the match fresh off their first win of the year over Chicago, but missing the services of Arturo Alvarez, who was replaced in the starting lineup by Chris Wondolowski. Other than that, Frank Yallop kept his side unchanged from the win over the Fire.
New England had a few changes of their own as Shalrie Joseph was once again unavailable. Darrius Barnes and Cory Gibbs slotted into the central defensive roles, leaving Emmanuel Osei as an option off the bench. Serbian striker Marko Perovic also made his way into the starting eleven for the first time since coming to Major League Soccer.
San Jose opened the match very much on the front foot, putting the Revolution backline under pressure from the opening whistle. In the sixth minute midfielder Andre Luiz had a brilliant chance to put his team in front with a left-footed half-volley, but his contact was poor and the goal was not to be.
In the 12th, with New England still struggling to find any foothold in the match, a well-placed cross from the right flank found Wondolowski in the box. The striker put a hard header on frame, but Revolution ‘keeper Preston Burpo was on hand to parry it away.
On what was basically their first attacking move of the night, Perovic had a go with his right foot after picking up the ball from a throw-in only to see his effort whip past the far post. Still, it was the first positive sign from a Revolution side that was thoroughly dominated throughout the opening 20 minutes.
The match leveled out over the next ten minutes with nothing much in the way of goalmouth action until, on 32 minutes, Ike Opara connected with a free kick from Luiz and pushed another strong header on frame. But Burpo was once again in the right position to foil the Earthquakes who were again putting together a strong spell of pressure on the Revolution.
In the 40th Wondoloski, after bringing a ball down nicely with his chest and taking on a defender, had another rip at goal from an extremely tight angle only to miss high of the mark.
It was the last meaningful look at goal for either side in the first half as the match would head to the break still scoreless.
After being stopped cold for most of the first half, the visitors were unlucky not to take the lead six minutes into the second frame. A corner from Perovic was headed at goal by Barnes, only to be cleared off the line by Bobby Convey. The follow-up by Pat Phelan was pushed wide and San Jose escaped with the match still level.
The Earthquakes tried to answer almost immediately as Luiz fizzed a shot post Burpo that missed just wide of the mark.
The breakthrough finally came for the home side in the 57th. Striker Ryan Johnson did incredibly well to turn his defender after midfielder Joey Gjertsen did well to win the ball in midfield and find him. After turning Johnson held the ball long enough to let Wondolowski make a run through the middle where the big forward fed his strike partner a glorious ball. Wondolowski made no mistake with the finish, sliding the ball past Burpo and giving San Jose a much deserved 1-0 lead.
New England managed to mount a bit of an attack after the goal with Seth Sinovic and Petrovic both rifling shots at Joe Cannon’s goal, but Sinovic’s was punched away and Petrovic was wide of the mark once again.
In the 68th Johnson nearly made it 2-0 for the home side. After winning a tussle with Barnes that caught Burpo in an odd position, the big striker tried to slip his shot into the net, but the angle was too narrow and Johnson couldn’t convert.
Four minutes later the home side would get their second, this time from a corner. Convey whipped in a nice ball and in a replay of the week before, Opara rose above his man and pounded a header into the net, giving San Jose a 2-0 lead.
New England only mounted token pressure until the dying minute when Cannon was called into action to secure the clean sheet, but in the end San Jose had already done more than enough to secure a comfortable win.
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