Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sunday (er, Tuesday Afternoon) Morning Striker: Revs tie Goats, 1-1 and SMS makes his radio debut!

Hope you enjoyed your July 4th holiday and accompanying weekend, which, if you were like SMS, was merged together to form the rare, but quite enjoyable five-day weekend. And what a weekend it was! The beautiful weather allowed for a wide array of activities for yours truly, which included visits to Narragansett Town Beach (the best beach in Little Rhody, official home state of SMS), Lime Rock, Connecticut, for the American Le Mans Series race at Lime Rock Speedway, and a horde of fireworks displays in surrounding communities. With all of the events taking place, the above-referenced reasons transform to combine my excuse as to why this entry is untimely.

In other news, the Revs-Chivas USA 2.0 took place Saturday night on what was reported to be a warm 80-degree night in Foxboro, MA. Sadly, SMS could not attend this match, as he was 136 miles southwest in Lime Rock for said ALMS race. However, the game was taped for the purposes of future review, which allowed SMS to review the proceedings of the 1-1 draw at Gillette.

Instead of the usual match report SMS typically provides in his weekly manifesto, I think it would only be appropriate to break down the match in an analytical, well-thought out essay, since SMS was able to review the match in the comfort of his leather-upholstered living room chair hours after the lights were shut out at the Razor.

Anyway, how about that first goal by Claudio Suarez? After watching that goal, the proverbial heart shot up to the esophagus, as SMS viewed the tape just before midnight, without prior knowledge of the score. SMS noted that in each of the Revolution's three defeats, the opposing club scored the opening salvo. With that in mind, as well as the lethargic performance seven days prior, yours truly was the afraid the optimism he carried into this match would soon wane with the dreaded thought of another unlucky set of events on a rather lucky date: 7-7-07.

Luckily, the defense stepped up soon there after, and the Revs came alive for the first time in weeks. And boy, did they come alive!The Revs turned up the heat in the 2nd half to afterburner level, when Steve Ralston took shot off a wayward rebound that met its untimely demise on the right post. In hindsight, if there was any play indicative of the Revolution play during the second half, it was this sequence.

Opportunities presented themselves with brightly-colored wrapping and shiny bows, and one of them was feverishly opened in the 64th minute, when Ralston launched a corner kick in which fortuitously fell to an apt Welshman by the name of Andy Dorman, who struck the orb well, as it hop-scotched its way into the right corner of the Chivas USA goal for the equalizer. By this point, SMS, again, without prior knowledge of the result, was sure that another goal was well on its way, despite the DVD player clock reading 1:02am.

For the remaining half hour, SMS waited…and waited, and watched the Revs load, and reload their cannons; only to witness the shot fired turn out to be Hollywood-variety blanks. Two fantastic headers by Taylor Twellman, who came on a a subsitute in the 56th minute fresh off Copa America duty, had SMS optimistic that the go-ahead goal was imminent, especially with Twellman reunited with childhood buddy/current partner in crime Pat Noonan. The tandem certainly threatened the Chivas net, but was unable to ultimately find the back of the net.

Despite said chances failing to materialize, much credit should go to rookie Chivas keeper Preston Burpo performed admirably in net for the Goats, as his own back line employed its Swiss cheese defense. The fact that the rookie was able to hold the second-highest scoring attack in MLS to a mere goal in over 180 minutes is remarkable, and far be it for me to say it, was absolutely "Reis-like."

Stat of the Match, the Feature: Adam Cristman, who bears the number seven on his back and shorts, started up front and played a total of 56 minutes before being substituted for by Taylor Twellman on 7-7-07. If you subtract Twellman’s number (20) from Cristman’s, you get…13. This is the kind of hidden indicator that is essential to an insider’s knowledge of the game. In this instance, SMS has no clue what the heck this means.

Stat of the Match, the Sequel: The Revs were the only MLS club not to play on the Fourth this year. When you consider the club’s namesake, and the patriotic activities surrounding the most American holiday on the calendar, SMS can only resurrect a theory that has admittedly collected dust lately: MLS hates the Revolution. Paul Revere may not be spinning in his grave at this development, but…ah, nevermind.

Chestnut cracks Kobayashi on the Fourth: In a previous entry, SMS touted the Nathan's Annual Fourth of July Hot Dog easting contest, in which Joey Chestnut had just overthrown Takeru Kobayashi's hot dog record of 59 hot dogs in the allotted 12-minute period. With the momentum of a new world record, for the first time, Kobayashi was taken to task by the new record holder, and the drama only heightened with the news that the Tsunami had just come off wisdom tooth surgery.

With the contestants wolfing down the processed meat, it was a two horse race between the Japanese and the American. One commentator noted that Kobyashi's performance after surgery was "Schilling-esque", a la the 2004 MLB playoff performance of Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.When all the pieces of frankfurter, buns, and liquid refreshment were picked up, the total count came to Chestnut, 66, and Kobayashi, 63. For the first time since 1999 when Steve Keiner won the title with a paltry 20 ¼ hot dogs, the mustard champion's belt came was claimed by an American, as Chestnut was given a standing O by the enthusiastic 30,000 on hand for his world-class performance.

Mark your calendars now for next July 4, as SMS guarantees that the records established by both competitors will be broken next year.

SMS hits the airwaves – pigs seen flying soon after: SMS was recently invited as a guest by Sean Donahue of the highly-informative Revs-focused radio show, "The Revolution Recap", this past Sunday evening.

The show is the only one of its kind that is devoted solely to our boys in navy blue. Take a look at his site - - and you'll not only be able to view the wide array of distinguished guests Sean has featured on his show, but also listen to archived podcasts directly from his site.

SMS was genuinely tickled by the invitation, as he had never embarked on the radio waves to broadcast his agenda - that being, to promote his beloved New England Revolution. The fact that such a cast of notable of guests had appeared on past shows, and that Sean was willing to invite SMS to offer insight and discuss the club, was extremely flattering.

During the show, SMS was thoroughly impressed by the show’s content, discussions, and topics that were covered by the knowledgeable host and creator. All of this on a budget in which Sean himself has had to find sponsors, airtime, and cover all of the details (which are more numerous than I could have imagined) that go into successfully preparing and performing the show. If you are a Revolution fan, you really owe it to yourself to tune in on Sundays from 7-8pm on AM 1380 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Sean, you are doing a fantastic job with the show, and I will be happy to appear again in the future.

Revs face Raging Rhinos for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tonight: The Revs have little rest this week after the disappointing 1-1 result vs. Chivas USA, as they head to PAETEC Park in upstate New York to face the USL-Division 1 side. The Rhinos, who play in a beautiful 13,500 seat soccer-specific stadium, are currently tied in first place in USL-1 with the Vancouver Whitecaps with 27 points. Unfortunately, the Revolution (US Open Cup match vs. Rochester) will not be televised, and Revs fans will be forced to clamor to their interweb outlets to catch the live audio broadcast on

The Rhinos often are at the forefront of discussions when the topic of MLS expansion arises. The club averages over 10,000 fans per match, and many belief is that number would only expand should the club advance to MLS as an expansion club. With the current number of clubs currently at the uneven (and incredibly unlucky) 13, it’s only a matter of time before such an expansion club comes into being. Don’t be surprised if it turns up in Rochester, NY.
(It should be noted that the Rhinos were the last non-MLS club to win the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, when it accomplished the feat back in 1999 by beating the Colorado Rapids 2-0 in the championship tilt. BONUS: The last New England-based club to win the Cup was Ponta Delgada SC from Fall River, MA in 1947.)

Revs, let's commemorate the 60-year anniversary of said Cup championship by bringing home the Cup this year!

US Women’s National Team Feature: On the weekend after the Fourth, SMS feels it’s only appropriate to showcase one of the most decorated soccer player – male or female – in the world. Talk about longevity and consistency and you are bound to mention Kristine Lilly. The crafty, unassuming vet only seems to get better with age, as the club captain recently notched career goal number 119 during the Algarve Cup proceedings. A native New Englander (Wilton, CT), Lilly also starred for the Boston Breakers during the initial incarnation of the WUSA from 2001-2003.She is also one of the last key members of the '99 WC-winning squad that still currently playing.

Readers, I owe you all an apology for the late submission this week, but I promise to that if you were disappointed or felt a sense of betrayal with the timing of the entry, SMS will deliver the next one absolutely free of charge, no questions asked. That is a guarantee.

Now that I have gotten on your good graces, I must give you the heads up that SMS will be taking a short sabbatical in which he will be unable to deliver the quirky, sometimes incomprehensible, analysis that he is famous for in at least three different counties within New England. The road tilt versus Red Bull will be the unfortunate casualty, as SMS will not only be on the road, but will be miles away from any place to view the match. Aaaaiiiiiyeeeeeeeee! Rest assured that the sabbatical will be brief, and that SMS will return just in the nick of time to scrutinize the Revs-Creamsicle match on July 22.

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