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MLS Game Summary - Houston at New England



(Saturday, March 29, 2008)

From The Sports Network

Final Score: New England 3, Houston 0

Foxborough, MA (Sports Network) - The New England Revolution got a small measure of revenge on the Houston Dynamo Saturday at Gillette Stadium in both teams' Major League Soccer season openers. The Revs, who have lost to the Dynamo in the past two league championship games, dominated the defending champs, 3-0.

"It was a great win," New England coach Steve Nicol said. "I think in the first half we were definitely the better team."

"Expectations from ourselves are very high and it goes from game to game and minute to minute," Houston coach Dominic Kinnear said. "We just kind of let the game be played instead of playing the game and we were bad tonight."

Gambians Sainey Nyassi and Kenny Mansally teamed up to set up Revs captain Steve Ralston in the 16th minute before Adam Cristman headed home a Jeff Larentowicz rebound just after the half hour mark to give the home side a commanding lead heading into the break. Nyassi added a goal just before the final whistle to finish off the scoring.

"I think we showed the attitude and the commitment of the players, stuck together, and the goal at the end was just the icing on the cake - a fantastic goal," Nicol said. "Overall, it's a great result and a great performance."

Revs' leading scorer last season, Taylor Twellman, missed the game with a sore knee, right winger Wells Thompson was also on the shelf and left winger Khano Smith was out because of his participation with the Bermuda national team, but the Revs showed their depth.

"It's good," Cristman said. "Sometimes something new can add a lot to a group and we definitely got a lot of new faces and we are getting pretty deep. Even with some injuries, the depth of the team is good. It keeps everyone competitive and on his toes."

On the first goal, Nyassi, who was playing for Thompson, broke into the Houston third of the field, drove at the defense and slid a perfect through ball to Mansally in the penalty area. Mansally fired on goal, forcing Dynamo 'keeper Pat Onstad to make the save, but Ralston cooly tapped in the rebound at the far post.

The Revs got the second goal off a set piece. After earning a free kick from about 25-yards out at the top of the box, Mauricio Castro, starting for Smith, tapped to Larentowicz who fired a hard shot on goal. Onstad made the save but gave up a juicy rebound that Adam Cristman, starting for Twellman, headed home.

"You have to be ready when the chance comes, and Adam Cristman showed you today what a good professional is," Nicol said.

Cristman had a breakaway denied 15 minutes from time, but was unable to capitalize before Nyassi completed the scoring in the third minute of stoppage time. The Gambian drove down the left wing, undressed a defender in the box with a step over move and fired past Onstad for his first goal of the season.

"We were right behind him, and we were sitting waiting on the scissors," Nicol said of Nyassi's goal. "He does it all the time in training. Obviously he hadn't played a league game, so other people don't see him. But from the first minute to the 93rd minute, he's up and down the field. He was fantastic."

New England goalkeeper Matt Reis finished with three saves to earn the shutout.

The Revs will try to continue their hot start when they travel to Chicago on Thursday while Houston will look to rebound in their next league game on Sunday when they host FC Dallas.

"This game, and especially in this league, it's a mental game," Houston defender Eddie Robinson said. "If you're not 100 percent every single night you're going to lose. I mean, take it back to last year we lost only three games in our last 22, to three bottom teams in the league - Salt Lake, L.A. and Colorado. If you don't show up mentally, you're going to get beat and tonight we got run off the park."

- By Pat Martin, MLS Editor

03/29 23:36:58 ET