Nicol’s Defense Steals the Show

Taylor Twelllman and Steve Ralston seem to have gotten most of the ink this season for the Revolution, and why not? Ralston broke the all time MLS assists record set by his mentor Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama earlier this season and Twellman as he did again last night has been breaking opponents hearts with improbable goals.

But last night’s 1-0 Revolution victory over the Chicago Fire, a win that sent New England to its 4th MLS Cup title in 6 seasons has to be credited to a stout defense. Avery John, a veteran of Trinidad and Tobago’s 2006 World Cup Campaign, MLS Defender of the year Michael Parkhurst, and the always solid Jay Heaps were on form snuffing out several late Chicago attacks on the goal. Shalrie Joseph was awesome as always at the holding midfield position, and most importantly did not pick up a yellow card that would have seen him suspended for MLS Cup.

Cuahatomac Blanco had a nice match for the Fire but didn’t have that extra something he seems to have from time to time to break down the Revolution. Chris Rolfe played well for the Fire, and Paulo Wanchope in what is likely to be his last match with the Fire had some decent chances but failed to finish.

Steve Nicol and his largely home grown club (The entire squad either went to school in the United States or grew up in the USA, including foreign nationals who play for other national teams) have once again reached MLS Cup in this era of big name international signings for the league. Could Nicol’s team win the Cup and show that despite the internationalization of MLS, ultimate faith still must be placed in American player and others develop by the American system?

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the World Soccer Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the books 'Blue With Envy' about Manchester City FC, and 'Soccerwarz' about the MLS, USL and NASL infighting.
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