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Rough results on the road for MLS representatives
by Ridge Mahoney, August 27th, 2008 7AM



Both MLS teams will have to make up deficits in the home legs of their CONCACAF Champions' League preliminary series after losing on the road Tuesday night. New England fell, 2-1, to Joe Public FC in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and Chivas USA lost, 2-0, in Panama to Tauro FC. The second legs will be played next Tuesday at Gillette Stadium and Home Depot Center, respectively.

In neither case is the opposition daunting, yet both MLS teams were hard-pressed to convert opportunities during the periods they controlled play.

The Revs, playing on a FieldTurf surface similar to their home turf at Gillette, battled back in the second half after being outhustled and outshot, 11-2, in the first 45 minutes. Reon Nelson fluffed two chances to open the scoring in the first half, during which Revs captain Steve Ralston suffered back spasms and had to be replaced. A well-struck free kick by Jeff Larentowicz forced a good save from Joe Public keeper Alejandro Figueroa.

Joe Public pressed again at the outset of the second half and scored in the 51st minute when Kerry Baptiste got free down the right and centered a ball that Nelson guided into the net past goalie Doug Warren. Eighteen minutes later, again Baptiste rolled down the right flank and Jamal Gay, who had replaced Nelson moments earlier, tucked away a shot with his first touch of the match.

Wasted possessions and poor touches had plagued New England since the opening kickoff, yet trailing two goals, the Revs persisted and in the 76th minute, a Taylor Twellman through ball and run from Shalrie Joseph yielded a foul by Carlyle Mitchell. Mauricio Castro converted the penalty kick.

Sub Joe Germanese came on in the 80th minute and from the right flank led a few spirited charges that Joe Public fended off to preserve its 2-1 win.

TAURO TRIUMPHANT. Heavy rains prevented Chivas USA from training the day before its match at Rod Carew Stadium, located just outside Panama City and named for the former major league infielder and hitter extraordinaire.

Had baseball been the game of choice, it might have been postponed. A chewed-up, soft, and uneven surface hampered Chivas USA's passing game, yet it finished the match two goals down because of its own ineptitude after falling behind early.

In the sixth minute, Luis Escobar got free down the left and cut a ball back from the goal line that Edwin Aguilar steered into the net from close range. Chivas USA pushed into the attack, and Atiba Harris glanced a header wide of the near post from a Sacha Kljestan cross.

Jean Mclean nearly scored from out near the touchline midway through the half but his looping shot/cross clanged off the crossbar, and Escobar hit the same frame with a free kick a few minutes later. Harris then squandered a great chance when Kljestan's through ball matched him one-v-one with goalie Willington Dominguez, who charged out to block Harris' tame effort with his chest.

Aguilar doubled Tauro's lead in the 65th minute when he dribbled up the left side and then veered inside past hobbling defender Shavar Thomas to lift a lazy chip over keeper Zach Thornton.

Free kicks from Alecko Eskandarian and Paulo Nagamura in the final minutes failed to beat the defensive wall and Chivas USA headed home hopeful its scoring touch returns in time for a home date with Toronto in league play Saturday as well as the second leg against Tauro. It has scored just one goal in three games since tying the Galaxy, 2-2, on Aug. 14.

On Wednesday, Canadian representative Montreal Impact opens its preliminary series against Real Esteli FC of Nicaragua (8 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel), and Puerto Rico Islanders of the USL play Costa Rican powerhouse Alajuelense (10 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel).

Aug. 26 in Macoya

Joe Public 2 New England Revolution 1. Goal: Richardson 51, Gay 70; Castro pen. 76.
Joe Public -- Figueroa, Springer, Thomas, Harvey, Mitchell, Wolfe (Noray, 81), Saunders, Dwarika (Andrews, 83), Baptiste, Nelson (Gay, 69), Richardson.
New England -- Warren, Tierney, Larentowicz, Parkhurst, Heaps, Castro (Germanese, 80), Joseph, Phelan, Nyassi (Igwe 65), Ralston (Thompson 25), Twellman.
Referee: Courtney Campbell (Jamaica).

Aug. 26 in Panama City

Tauro FC 2 Chivas USA 0. Goals: Aguilar 5, 67.
Tauro FC -- Dominguez, Moreno, Morelos, Parris (Dasent, 79), Vega, Aguilar, Manotas, Palma, Escobar, Maclean (Avila, 56), Canales (Amores, 66), Rojas.
Chivas USA - Thornton, Bornstein, Suarez (Curtin, 46), Thomas, Mendoza, Chiles (Vaughn, 62), Nagamura, Paladini (Eskandarian, 46), Flores, Kljestan, Harris.
Referee: Elmar Rodas (Guatemala).

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