The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on April 7, 2007 · 26
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 26

Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Saturday, April 7, 2007
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The Boston Globe C7 major league soccer preview SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 2007 Firm foothold took time By Frank DeU'Apa GLOBE STAFF After the 1994 World Cup, the Kraft family bought into Major League Soccer for $5 million. And though the Revolution and the rest of the MLS started with a bang, until recent months the Krafts were realizing little direct gain on their initial investment. But' things have changed. The MLS sold television rights for $8 million to ESPN and the Revolution dealt forward-midfielder Clint Dempsey to Fulham FC for a league-record transfer fee of $4 million. The MLS is not in the big leagues of soccer, yet. But these numbers indicate the potential. Part of the reason for the progress is persistence and planning. Unlike previous domestic soccer leagues, the MLS is well organized and controls l II II IIIIF : -'fit' BECKHAM Star attraction spending through a single-entity setup. The league will start its 12th season today with 13 teams, seven of which play in MLS-owned, soccer- specific stadiums. But the league will not make a quantum leap in attracting attention until later this summer, when David Beckham arrives in Los Angeles from Spain and Cuauhtemoc Blanco in Chicago from Mexico. The Beckham deal could be worth $250 million, and the league already has received millions of dollars worth of publicity surrounding his move from Real Madrid. Blanco's acquisition from Club America could open the doors to Latin America. And the MLS is not forgetting its northern neighbors expansion team Toronto FC capped its season-ticket sales at a league-record 14,000 to accommodate single-game buyers. Teams listed in predicted order of regular-season finish. 1. Houston Dynamo Coach: Dominic Kinnear (fourth year). Last year's record: 11-8-13. Outlook: The Dynamo are built for efficiency, a key to success in the long, hot Houston summer. They will defend and play for set pieces on the road and attack with power at home. Actually, this is a good formula for success for any team confronting the long-distance travel and varied climates of the MLS. Dwayne De Rosario provides the creative midfield force, supported by Ricardo Clark and wingers Brad Davis and Brian Mullan. The Brian Ching-Paul Dalglish-Alejandro Moreno trio is effective up front. The Dynamo defenders are not only physical in their own half, but they are dangerous on set pieces. Zach Wells is pushing Pat Onstad for the starting goalkeeper position. Comings: FM Corey Ashe (North Carolina), D Justin Douglass (Missouri State), M Eric Ebert (California), M Nick Hatzke (California), M John Michael Hayden (Indiana), F Mike Sambursky (South Carolina), M Eric Ustruck (Santa Clara). Goings: M Chris Aloisi (Rochester Rhinos), Adrian Serioux (FC Dallas). 2. D.C. United Coach: Tom Soehn (first year). Last year's record: 15-7-10. Outlook: United are probably the best team on the ball. The additions of Brazilian forwards Luciano Emilio and Fred provide the finishing touches missing last season. Christian Gomez is effective shooting from distance and has an excellent understanding with Jaime Moreno. Brian Carroll and Ben Olsen provide support, with Joshua Gros on the wing. United should control possession in most games, but can be vulnerable defensively. Comings DM Bryan Anjuez (West Kendall), F Marc Burch (Columbus), M Kasaii Yinka Casal (Fulham FC), G Shawn Crowe (Florida International), F Luciano Emilio (CD Olimpia), F Fred (Melbourne Victory), F Guy Kpene (Dowling College), DM Jay Needham (Southern Methodist), G Jay Nolly (Real Salt Lake), F Brad North (Northwestern). Songs: M Freddy Adu (Real Salt Lake), M Matias Donnet (Betgrano de Cordoba), F Alecko Eskari-darian (Toronto FC), M Dominic Mediate, F Andy Metcalfe. M Matt Nickell, D Brandon Prideaux (Colorado), G Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), F Robert Ssejjemba (Richmond Kickers). 3. New England Revolution Coach: Steve Nicol (sixth year). Last year's record: 12-8-12. Comings: M Bryan Byrne (Cal-Santa Barbara), F Adam Cristman (Virginia), D Gary Flood (Hof-stra), D Kyle Helton (Duke), M Amaechi Igwe (Santa Clara), G Brad Knighton (N.C.-Wilming-ton), FM Chris Loftus (Duke), M Ryan Solle (Wake Forest), M Wells Thompson (Wake Forest). Goings: F Jose Manuel Abundis (Queretaro), F Kyle Brown (Real Salt Lake), M Jose Cancela (Toronto FC), FM Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), M Jani Galik, D Pat Haggerty, G TJ. Tomasso, M Adam Williamson, M Danny Wynn. 4. Toronto FC Coach: Maurice Johnston (first year). Last year's record: Expansion team. Outlook: This is Canada's club, the home-grown players providing a nucleus that should negate many of the growing pains. Toronto has loaded up with defensive midfielders in support of Jose Cancela and Ronnie O'Brien. There will be questions about the chemistry between attackers Edson Buddie, Conor Casey, and Alecko Eskan-darian. Comings: FM Rich Asante (Syracuse), D Andrew Boyens (New Mexico), D Adam Braz (Montreal Impact), M Jim Brennan (Sunderland). F Edson Buddie (New York), G Jon Busch (Columbus), F Conor Casey (FSV Mainz 05), G Tomer Chencin-skl (Fairlelgh Dickinson), M Maurice Edu (Maryland), F Alecko Eskandarian (D.C United), M Jeff Gonsalves (Rhode Island), M A.J. Gray, D David Guzman (Louisville), M Tyler Hemming (Hart-wlck), F Abdoulaye Ibrahim (New York), D Ritchie Kotschau (Colorado), F Andrea Lombardo (Perugia), D Stephen Lumley (NTC Ontario), M Richard Mulrooney (FC Dallas), M Paulo Nagam-ura (Los Angeles), M Ronnie O'Brien (FC Dallas), 0 Chris Pozniak (FK Haugesund), D Marco Reda (Sogndal), M Carl Robinson (Norwich City), G Greg Sutton (Montreal Impact), M Andy Welsh (Sunderland AFC). 5. ChivasUSA Coach: Preki (first year), last year' record: 10-9-13. Outlook: Chivas is becoming less Mexico-oriented; the addition of Englishman John Cunliffe, Cuban Maykel Galindo, Honduran Amade Guevara, and Romanian Alex Zotinca could compensate for the loss of Francisco Palencia. Claudio "El Emperador" Suarez, 38, keys the defense, with Jonathan Born-stein providing cover in the back or up front. Jesse Marsch keeps the midfield together. Ante Razov provides the goals. (ntojK f David Arvlzu (Now York), M Jorge Barrera (CD Chivas), M Raul Batista (San Diego State), D Desmond Brooks (St. Mary's College), F John Cunliffe (Fort Lewis College), D Cameron Dunn (Cal-lrvine), F Maykel Galindo (Seattle Sounders), M Amado Guevara (New York), F Anthony Hamilton (Cal-lrvine), F Lyle Martin (Cal-Bakersfield), M Eder Robles (Pateadores), M Erasmo Solorzano (Cal-Riverside), M Alex Zotinca (Kansas City). Goings: D Johnnie Garcia, F Juan Pablo Garcia (Tigres), M Jesus Morales (CD Chivas), F Francisco Palencia (UNAM Pumas), D Tim Regan (New York), D Brent Whitfield. 6. Colorado Rapids Coach: Fernando Clavijo (third year). Last year's record: 1 1-13-8. Outlook: Clavijo has collected most of the right parts; now he has to make them fit together. The Rapid defense is almost completely revamped with Mike Petke the only holdover. Terry Cooke was the league's most dynamic right wing last season. Pablo Mastroeni guides the midfield behind Kyie Beckerman. Panamanian Roberto "El Bombardero" Brown, Argentine Nicolas Hernandez, and Jovan Kirovski are the scoring threats. Comings: F Roberto Brown (Tacuarembo), M Jose Cancela (Toronto FC), M Nico Colaiuca (Virginia), F Omar Cummings (Cincinnati), M Greg Dalby (Notre Dame), M John DiRaimondo (St. Louis), F Herculez Gomez (Los Angeles), G Justin Hughes (Wake Forest), D Ugo Ihemelu (Los Angeles), M Kosuke Kimura (Western Illinois), M Nick LaBrocca (Rutgers), M Yherland McDonald (Fredrikstad FK), F Riley O'Neill (Kentucky), D Brandon Prideaux (D.C. United). G Zach Thornton (Chicago), D Greg Vanney (FC Dallas). Goings: G Joe Cannon (Los Angeles), D Eric Denton, D Hunter Freeman (New York), F Luchi Gonzalez (Miami FC), F Sasha Gotsmanov (Minnesota Thunder), G Matt Jordan, D Aitor Karanka, F Aaron King, D Richie Kotschau (Toronto FC), F Thiago Martins (Bodo Glimt), F Clint Mathis (New York), F Fabrice Noel, F Melvin Tarley. 7. Chicago Fire Coach: Dave Sarachan (fourth year). Last year's record: 13-11-8. Outlook: Cuauhtemoc Blanco will not arrive until July, possibly too late to compensate for the loss of Andy Herron and Nate Jaqua. Tony Sanneh's experience will be missed in central defense, leaving the leadership role to C.J. Brown and Gonzalo Segares. The Fire do have plenty of skillful, swift players in front of midfield leader Chris Armas, 34. The attacking threats include Chad Barrett, Calen Carr, Ivan Guerrero, Justin Mapp, Chris Rolfe, and Thiago Gaucho. Comings: M Mike Banner (Southern Illinois), F Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Club America), F Ryan Coiner (Columbus), G Nick Noble (West Virginia), F Jerson Monteiro (Alabama-Birmingham), M Nate Norman (Notre Dame), F Simon Omekanda (Penn State), F Asmir Pervan (St. Leo College), D Bakary Soumare (Virginia), D Osei Telesford (Liberty), M Mark Totten (James Madison), D Daniel Woolard (Midwestern State). Goings: M Craig Capano, D Leonard Griffin, F Andy Herron (Columbus), F Nate Jaqua (Los Angeles), M Ryan Johnson, M Jaren Montz, D Tony Sanneh, G Zach Thornton (Colorado), M John Thorrington (Los Angeles). 8. New York Red Bulls Coach: Bruce Arena (second year). Last year's record: 9-11-12. Outlook: Arena is getting things together, but it could take time to revamp the Red Bulls. Meanwhile, the team should be better balanced with young defenders such as Todd Dunivant, Hunter Freeman, and Marvell Wynne supporting veterans Claudio Reyna and Markus Schopp, both 33, Dave van den Bergh, 31, and goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus, 36. Clint Math-is is a gamble up front. Comings: M Sal Caccavale (American U.), G Danny Cepero (Pennsylvania), 0 Hunter Freeman ' (Colorado), D Hugh MacDonald (Monmouth), F Clint Mathis (Colorado), F Randi Patterson (North Carolina-Greensboro), D Tim Regan (Chivas USA), M Claudio Reyna (Manchester City), FM Dane Richards (Clemson), FM Sinisa Ubiparlpov-Ic (Akron), M-Dave van den Bergh (Kansas City), G Ronald Waterreus (AZ Alkmaar). Goings: F David Arvizu (Chivas USA), F Edson Buddie (Toronto FC), M Peter Canero, F Jordan Cila (retired), F Youri Dlorkaeff (retired), M Amado Guevara (Chivas USA), M Chris Henderson (retired), F Abdoulaye Ibrahim (Toronto FC), D Steve Jolley (retired), M Mark Lisi (retired), G Tony Meola, M Danny O'Rourke (Columbus). 9. Los Angeles Galaxy Coach: Frank Yallop (second year). Last year's record: 1 1 -1 5 - 6 . Outlook: If Landon Donovan holds things together until David Beckham arrives in August, the Galaxy should be fine. Chris Albright and Tyrone Marshall provide continuity In defense. Alan Gordon, Nate Jaqua, Cobi Jones, and Santino Quaranta will be counted on for scoring. Beckham could form an effective pairing with Peter Vage-nas; but after he arrives, the Galaxy will contend with a back-loaded schedule of 1 8 games ( 1 1 away) from Aug. 4 to the end of the season. i: M David Beckham (Real Madrid), F Bobby Burling (Loyola-Marymount), M Tyler Canel (Cal-Northridge), G Joe Cannon (Colorado), F Robbie Findley (Oregon State), G Tally Hall (San Diego State), F Josh Hansen (Southern California Seahorses), D Ty Harden (Washington), F Nate Jaqua (Chicago), D Gordon Kljestan (Seton Hall), D Kevin Long (San Francisco), D Kiel McClung (UCLA), D Steve Purdy (California), D Mike Randolph (Portland Timbers), M lan Russell (San Jose), D Shavar Thomas (Kansas City), M John Thorrington (Chicago), M Josh Tudela (Indiana). Goings: F Michael Enfield, M Josh Gardner, F Cornell Glen, F Herculez Gomez (Colorado), M Memo Gonzalez, M Josh Hansen, G Kevin Hartman (Kansas City), D Ugo Ihemelu (Colorado), M Stefani Migiioranzi (Columbus), M Paulo Nagamura (Toronto FC), G Josh Saunders, 10. Kansas City Wizards Coach: Curt Onalfo (first year). Last year's record: 10-14-8. Outlook: Onalfo, who grew up in Ridgefield, Conn., has plenty of experience as an assistant with D.C. United and the US national team. His first major move was to bring in Kevin Hartman to replace Bo Oshoniyi in goal. The rest of the team seems set, with Jimmy Conrad and Nick Garcia leading the defense and Jose Burciaga providing a long-range threat from left back. Sasha Victorine and Kerry Zavagnin hold the midfield together. Davy Arnaud and Scott Sealy are dynamic in attack, but Eddie Johnson has underachieved. Comings: FM Edson Elcock (Old Dominion), M Eric Frimpong (Cal-Santa Barbara), M A.J. Godbolt (Maryland), F Willy Guadarrama (Campbell U.), D Michael Harrington (North Carolina), G Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles), D Aaron Hohibein (Wisconsin), G Chris Konopka (Providence College), G Eric Kronberg (California); FM Michael Kraus (Creighton), F Kurt Morsink (James Madison), F Michael Todd (Hofstra). Goings: G Will Hesmer (Columbus), G Bo Oshoniyi, D Brian Roberts (retired), D Shavar Thomas (Los Angeles), M Dave van den Bergh (New York), F Josh Wolff (TSV Munich 1860), M Alex Zotinca (Chivas USA). 61 11. FC Dallas Coach: Steve Morrow (first year). Last year's record: 16-12-4. Outlook: Dallas had nearly everything going for it the last two seasons, but squandered what could have been the home-field advantage through to the MLS Cup. Ramon Nunez will guide the midfield and Kenny Cooper Jr. and Carlos Ruiz will handle the scoring. Comings: F Andrew Daniels (Brown), M Sandi Gbandi (Alabama-Birmingham), F Ryan Guy (San Diego), F Abdus Ibrahim (US U-17s), M Scott Jones (North Carolina-Greensboro), F Tommy Krizanovic (Jacksonville), M Pablo Richettl (Quilmes), M Adrian Serioux (Houston), M Juan Carlos Toja (River Plate), DM Anthony Wallace (South Florida), M Chase Wileman (Southern Methodist). Goings: M Justin Moore, M Richard Mulrooney (Toronto FC), M Ronnie O'Brien (Toronto FC), M Alex Smith, M Simo Valakari (Turun Paltoseura), D Greg Vanney (Colorado). 12. Columbus Crew Coach: Sigi Schmid (second year). Last year's record: 8-15-9. Outlook: The Crew have missed the steadying influence of New Zea-lander Duncan Oughton, who played only nine games in the last two seasons. Ezra Hendrickson, 35, and former Revolution defender Rusty Pierce add experience. Jason Garey, Eddie Gaven, and Joseph Ngwenya are the scoring threats and Ricardo Virtuoso creates from the left wing. Comings: M Ryan Burns (UConn), F Aaron Chandler (San Francisco), F Brad Evans (Cal-lrvine), F Andy Herron (Chicago), G Will Hesmer (Kansas City), D Ryan Junge (Creighton), M Stefani Migiioranzi (Los Angeles), M Danny O'Rourke (New York), F Ben Hunter (North Carolina), M Ted Nlziolek (Seton Hall), M Robby Rogers (Heerenveen), M Toncl Skroce (Illinois-Chicago). Goings: D Jose Becerra (Portland Timbers), F Marc Burch (D.C. United), G Jon Busch (Toronto FC), F Knox Cameron, F Ryan Coiner (Chicago), D Chris Leitch, G Noah Palmer, M Jose Retiz, F Sebastian Rozental (Maccabi Petah Tikva), D Eric Vasquez (Miami FC), G Jonny Walker (retired). 13. Real Salt Lake Coach: John Ellinger (third year). Last year's record: 10-13-9. Outlook: Still acting like an expansion team. Freddy Adu and Panamanian striker Luis Tejada should help the attack. But Salt Lake has questions in goal without Scott Garlick and could be relying too heavily on Jason Kreis, 34, who has been playing in midfield in the preseason, and on Eddie Pope, 33, in central defense. Jeff Cunningham continues to produce goals and Andy Williams is a dynamic attacking midfielder. Comings: M Freddy Adu (D.C. United), F Kyle Brown (New England), M Steven Curfman (Wake Forest), D Dustln Klrby (Ohio State), D Chris Lancos (FC Kaiserslautern), G Kyle Reynlsh (Cal-Santa Barbara), G Nick Rimando (D.C. United), G Chris Scltz (Maryland), F Luis Teada (Plaza Amador). Goings: D Jacob Besagno, G Scott Garlick (retired). D Cameron Knowles, D Kevin Novak, D Douglas Sequeira (Tromso IL), F Jafet Soto (CS Horedlano), M Seth Trembly. lose image fc - i .f - J :. BILL GREENEGLOBE STAFF Andy Dorman, who flew under the radar for years, is finally soaring with the Revolution. Dorman the new Clint in their eyes DORMAN Continued from Page CI Becoming a prominent player with a possible European future did not seem likely when Dorman arrived from Chester, England, at Boston University in 2000; not because of ability, but because of his size. "He went under the radar," BU coach Neil Roberts said. "He weighed maybe 135, 140 pounds when he came over here. Now he's about 155 pounds. He's strong and wiry, but for Andy it's his soccer brain, the ways he reads the game and he knows where to be. It comes natural to him. He gets on the end of balls and with his first touch he can put himself in a dangerous position or play it to someone else." Roberts recalled some spectacular freshman performances by Dorman, including a three-goal game that included a 40-plus-yard chip over the Maine goalkeeper. But Roberts told Dorman he should develop defensively if he wanted to take his game to another level. And that meant adding bulk, though it is difficult to imagine Dorman being much slighter. "That's one of the big things, especially in the lower-league clubs, where they emphasize physical play and size," Dorman, 24, said of his lack of attention in England. "In college, our conference was pretty physical, as well, so they put me on a weight program." Yet when the MLS draft was held in 2003, Dorman was again off the radar screen, the Revolution making him the 58th of 60 players selected, another example of Revolution coach Steve Nicol and assistant Paul Mariner's knack for finding talent. "Not being in the NCAA Tournament was the big thing," Dorman said of the draft. "I always thought I could play but maybe I didn't catch anyone's eyes in college. But things worked out. I could have gone to the other side of the country, even farther from home and my friends in Boston. I am playing for coaches I watched growing up, coaches who know the best position for players and where they like to play." Dorman has performed on the wings and in both attacking and defensive midfield roles. He is at his best winning balls in midfield, transitioning to offense, and timing runs into the penalty area, "His runs in the box, you can't pick him up," Nicol said of Dorman. "Basically, it's instinct. You have to know when to go forward because, if you play in the middle of the park, it's a long way back to defend. We hope he picks up where he left off last year. He should get better as he gets more experience." Midfielders, especially in a 3-5-2 alignment, are constantly balancing the team's formation. They must know when to go forward and when to retreat, and they have to pace themselves for 90 minutes. Ideally, they need a sprinter's speed, the endurance of a 10-kilometer runner, a chess master's intelligence, and a high tolerance for pain. "He was always smooth on the ball and his decision-making has always been good," said Roberts, who last year added Dorman's brother, Richy, to the BU roster. "He got his foot in the door and took advantage of the opportunity. I don't think the Revolution thought he would last but he kept impressing them. There are a lot of players like that out there that get overlooked and don't get the opportunity. They are getting better with scouting but a lot of guys get lost in the cracks." Dorman will be counted on to take a higher profile this year, also taking many of the Revolution corners and free kicks. But Dorman will do things his way and not attempt to emulate Dempsey. "There are different ways of breaking down defenses," Dorman said. "You can do it by dribbling or by quick passing. Dempsey likes to dribble and take players on and he is strong in the penalty area, I run off the ball and play l-2s, find Taylor Twellman and Pat Noonan or whoever is up front, get the ball wide, and get in the box. I can take players on . . . I'll just play my natural game, time my runs, and make sure I don't get ahead of the forwards." Yet Dorman will earn about the same as many un-proven players, his total pay for four MLS seasons barely more than $100,000. Dorman hoped to renegotiate his contract before this season but talks failed. , "We tried to sort something out but it just didn't work out," Dorman said. "As far as the future, I don't really know. But I am just looking forward to this season and not worrying about next year." But Dorman is not likely to complain about being underpaid. "The good thing about Andy is that he is an honest player and I think they liked that at the beginning," Roberts said. "He worked hard and kept his mouth shut and he has a passion for the game. You could always walk in the locker room and Andy would be there in front of the TV watching a game, sometimes at 9 o'clock on Saturday mornings, and he is still like that. He comes from a good family and he is just a solid, solid person." Frank DeU'Apa can be reached at fdellapagk) Revolution want this to be year they win the big one By Frank Dell'Apa GLOBE STAFF The Revolution's first six seasons established the team's identity as hopeless underachievers. In that time, they never had a winning record and won only one playoff game. The team turned the corner under coach Steve Nicol, who replaced Fernando Clavijo early in the 2002 season, advancing to the Eastern Conference championship game five successive times. But along with success, the Revolution have gained another unwanted reputation. Their penalty-kick loss to the Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup final last November was New England's third defeat in the title game since 2002. Add a Revolution overtime defeat against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2001 US Open Cup, and the can't-win-the-big-one image is reinforced. "We keep getting back there," Revolution midfielder Steve Ralston said. "But it's disappointing to lose in overtime. We expect to be there every year. But we don't want to be the best team to not win a championship." Nicol has been able to evoke season-ending rallies; last year, the Revolution went 7-1-2 at the close of the regular season and playoffs. And this year, the Revolution went 6-0 in the preseason; they have lost only once in regulation time since Sept. 2. But the team is also in the early stages of transition. Joe Franchino, Jay Heaps, Daniel Hernandez, Avery John, Matt Reis, and Ralston are in the 30-and-over category. Shalrie Joseph has received offers from Europe and Andy Dorman could be the next to go overseas. Clint Dempsey departed for the Premiership after last season, the Revolution receiving $2.6 million of a $4 million transfer fee. Nicol spent $125,000 to move up in the draft, where he selected midfielder Wells Thompson with the No. 5 pick. The Revolution also chose Amaechi Igwe, an 18-year-old left back, in the first round (12th overall). And Adam Cristman, a fourth-rounder, has been the sensation of the preseason, scoring in four straight games. Since 2002, the Revolution have probably had the most successful drafts in the league. Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan, Dempsey, and Michael Parkhurst were first-rounders. Dorman, Joseph, Jeff Larentowicz, Marshall Leonard, and James Riley were later-round picks. The Revolution have not aggressively pursued foreign imports, yet have been able to play an attacking style that has produced a 29-15-20 record in the last two seasons. Though Nicol is an expert on the 4-4-2 alignment, in which he played for Liverpool FC, he has molded the Revolution into a midfield-heavy 3-5-2 formation. And the Revolution will stick with the tactic in tonight's season opener at Chicago, despite the loss of Parkhurst (dislocated shoulder), who keys the defense with savvy and speed. The three-back setup places pressure on the defense, and requires the goalkeeper to perform as a sweeper at times and the midfield to cover extra ground as the formation flexes into a 4-4-2 with Joseph dropping back or even a 5-3-2 with the wings retreating. The Revolution have gotten the system down, but it can still be a high-risk proposition. The intent is for the Revolution to spend most of the game in the opposition's half of the field. Joseph, who is doubtful for the opener with a calf strain, dictates the tempo, combining light touches with power and the ability to spray the ball to all corners of the field. Dorman will take Dempsey's role as the attacking midfielder. And Noonan and Twellman are expected to be reunited at forward, though Noonan (hernia) is questionable for the opener. Both players signed long-term contracts in the offseason, more than doubling their salaries. Twellman, 27, has scored 75 regular-season goals since joining the Revolution in 2002, more than any US player at the Division 1 level in the last five years. Noonan is Twellman's preferred strike partner, but he missed 18 games with injuries last season, leading the Revolution to search for forward insurance in the offseason. Cristman will not only provide depth, he could challenge for a starting spot. But not everything has gone smoothly for the Revolution. Franchino (indefinite leave of absence) and Hernandez (groin) will miss the opener and Joseph has requested a trade after negotiations on a contract extension broke down. "We have a good team, a deep team, almost exactly the same as last year," Ralston said. "We lost Clint who was dynamic and could create on his own, but we played a lot of games without him last year. Pat and Taylor could be gone to the national team and we have some Injuries, but we have so many g(xd players that we are not going to lose much. We don't have the flashy, big-name superstar players, but we get the job done." iiMiiiiiiiiiiiiinii nullum iiiiiiimiiii nun Revolution vs. Fire When: Tonight, 8:30 (Ch.38) Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, III. The Fire were the last team to defeat the Revolution in regulation time, 1-0, on a Justin Mapp free kick in the MLS playoffs Oct. 22. Chicago will depend on Chad Barrett, Chris Rolfe, and Mapp to create offense until the July arrival of Cuauhtemoc Blanco. The Revolution are adjusting to the loss of Shalrie Joseph (calf), Pat Noonan (hernia), and Michael Parkhurst (shoulder). Both teams will be in attacking modes in 3-5-2 alignments, attempting to control possession and pressure defenders into turnovers. New England (3-5-2) COACH: Steve Nicol 0 Heaps 0 John 0 Reis o Riley o o Q Ralston Dorman ) Thompson (J) larentowicz Lochhead O 0 Twellman Cristman ' ll' JSarrett 23 Rolfe Guerrero 21 7 Gutierrez Mapp 2 Brown 32 Robinson 25 Segares 18 Pickens Chicago (3-5-2) COACH: Dave Sarachan REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo J

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