Driving rain, swirling winds and a 30-minute lightning delay shortly after kickoff threatened to put a damper on Saturday night’s meeting between the New England Revolution and Charlotte Eagles, but rookie forward Zack Schilawski and second-half substitute Kenny Mansally made sure that wasn’t the case. Each scored their second goal of the 2010 preseason to lead the Revs to a 2-0 victory, pushing their overall record this preseason to 2-1-0.
The slick field played a major factor in the match from start to finish, but despite the inclement weather, a crowd of more than 4,000 fans turned up to cheer on their hometown Eagles.
Schilawski scored what proved to be the game-winner in the 21st minute with a neat finish inside the box, while Mansally drove home an insurance goal in the 73rd minute following a fantastic buildup from Kheli Dube and Nico Colaluca.
Goalkeeper Preston Burpo earned the clean sheet, preserving the shutout with an acrobatic save on a looping header in the 90th minute.
Revolution captain and 2009 MLS MVP finalist Shalrie Joseph was the game’s most influential player, controlling the midfield and spearheading the Revs attack until he was replaced in the 60th minute.
While the Revs maintained the majority of the possession in the early stages – both before and after the lightning delay – they didn’t create a serious scoring chance until the 21st minute, when Schilawski opened the scoring. Joseph dispossessed an Eagles player in midfield and led Schilawski with a weighted pass into the left side of the box. From there, Schilawski eluded his defender with a cutback to his right foot before finishing low into the far-side netting.
Joseph was the creator again in the 35th minute, this time springing Dube into the right side of the box, but an Eagles defender managed to shoulder Dube off the ball just as he was about to release a shot.
Charlotte came inches from leveling the score shortly after the halftime break, but a 53rd-minute strike from inside the box curled just wide of the right post.
The Revolution responded with a fantastic chance of its own in the 60th minute, when Sainey Nyassi found space to unleash a drive from the top of the box. The Gambian’s effort was labeled for the upper right corner, but Eagles goalkeeper Corbin Waller sprawled to tip the ball over the bar.
New England made wholesale changes after Nyassi’s opportunity, bringing on Seth Sinovic, Pat Phelan, Mike Videira, Colaluca and Mansally all at once.
The changes paid dividends in the 73rd minute when a pair of those substitutes linked up to double the Revolution’s lead. Colaluca began the play with a cutting through ball from the left wing, springing Dube down the middle of the field and creating a two-on-one along with Mansally. Dube went straight at the defender before laying the ball into the path of Mansally, who was charging into the left side of the box. With his first touch, Mansally blasted a low shot just inside the far post to register his second goal of the preseason.
Both Taylor Twellman (concussion) and Matt Reis (shoulder/knee surgery) were in attendance but unavailable as they continue rehabbing from long-term injuries, while Gabriel Badilla (calf), Darrius Barnes (quad), Mauricio Castro (ankle) and Edgaras Jankauskas (calf) also missed out because of injuries.
After an off day on Sunday, the Revs will conduct a pair of training sessions on Monday and Tuesday before returning to action on Wednesday, March 17, when they’ll meet Duke University in a closed-door scrimmage at 9:15 a.m.
NE – Zack Schilawski (Shalrie Joseph) 21
NE – Kenny Mansally (Kheli Dube, Nico Colaluca) 73
New England Revolution (4-4-2): Preston Burpo (GK), Chris Tierney (Seth Sinovic 60), Cory Gibbs, Emmanuel Osei, Kevin Alston (Zak Boggs 56), Marko Perovic (Nico Colaluca 60), Joseph Niouky (Mike Videira 60), Shalrie Joseph © (Pat Phelan 60), Sainey Nyassi (Andres Raad 86), Kheli Dube (Gareth Williams 75), Zack Schilawski (Kenny Mansally 60)
Unused substitutes: Bobby Shuttleworth (GK), Tim Murray (GK), Khano Smith