Desert Diamond Cup
Last-minute Revs goal puts out Fire
Rowe stoppage time goal ends Chicago's preseason streak
It looked like the second Desert Diamond Cup match of Wednesday afternoon would end the same as the first, a nil-nil draw. But, in the closing moments at Kino Sports Park, the New England Revolution’s Kelyn Rowe slipped past the Chicago Fire defense and chipped it past ‘keeper Kyle Rennish.
The best chance for the Fire came just past the half-hour mark. A strong run from Armenian midfielder Dilly Duka ended with a pass to the tall red head Jeff Larentowicz. New England netminder Brad Knighton palmed the ball away to deny the goal.
The only goal in the match came seconds into stoppage time and caromed off of enough Revolution players to make Jeanette Lee blush. New signing Patrick Mullins held up the ball at midfield and passed it to a running Kelyn Rowe. Rowe sent it to Fagundez, who in turn sent it back to Rowe to score the goal.
There was still enough minutes left in stoppage time for Chicago to tie. Quincy Amarikwa took a shot a minute after the Revs score. It didn’t take Knighton to make a save this time. The ball bounced harmlessly off the crossbar.
The loss ended Chicago’s preseason winning streak of six matches. Still, that leaves them on top of the Desert Diamond Cup table. They will get to play in the championship game on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Kino North Stadium.
The results mean that New England ended the first three matches with two shut outs and will play Colorado at 1 p.m. in a consolation match.
Palmer lands in Chicago
Among the Chicago players getting to see time on the field on Wednesday was Lovel Palmer. Palmer played for over a decade for Harbor View in his native Jamaica, winning three Jamaican League Championships and two Caribbean Football Union titles.
His time in Major League Soccer has been a bit less stable. He played for the Houston Dynamo before a trade sent him to the Portland Timbers. Another move before the 2013 season sent him to Real Salt Lake.
RSL made it all the way to the MLS Cup final to play Sporting Kansas City. The final was scoreless, leading to penalty kicks. It came down to Palmer, in the tenth round of kicks. His shot hit the underside of the crossbar, and he was left to stand on the field while mobs of Kansas City players and staff rushed past him to congratulate SKC goal keeper Jimmy Nielsen. It was probably unrelated, but he was traded to Chicago weeks later.
“I wouldn’t say ‘bouncing around,’” said Palmer after being asked about his career, which included a tryout for IK Start in Norway. “Every team I’ve played for I got to play a lot. I went to Salt Lake last year, I got to play in the final. Everywhere, I’ve done a good job. (Coach) Frank (Yallop) saw that and he thinks I’m good enough to be a number one guy.”
The reasons for Palmer leaving Real Salt Lake probably had more to do with his team having other players that could play his position than MLS Cup. He’ll also have strong competition at Chicago too, but that isn’t all bad.
“Competition is always good both for the individual and the team,” Palmer said. “Frank knows what he wants. He’s bringing in good guys and it’s competitive…I’m sure he’ll have a hard time March 9th to pick the team.”
When asked about his experience in MLS cup last year, Powell noted that he’s gotten past the disappointment.
“I played in the final. That’s what we all work for,” he said.
There are many reasons for preseason training, and some can work at cross purposes. You need to build cohesion among the players, but at the same time, you have to bring in newer players and give them time on the field. Working those new players into New England’s “system” has seemed a bit easier this year.
“Patrick Mullins is fitting in nicely and Steve Newman went ninety today… (Daigo) Kobayashi, a guy we got in today, all those guys have a tactical awareness about what we are doing,” said coach Jay Heaps after the match. “Defensively, Jossimar Sanchez did an excellent job of reading the game. Most of our core guys are really in sync.”
Newly acquired Teal Bunbury is another player that has settled in quickly. He was a member of Sporting Kansas City until last week and made a goal twenty minutes into his first appearance in New England colors last Saturday.
“It’s a new team and a new environment, but all the guys have been easy going,” Bunbury said. “It’s been an easy transition for me…it’s always tough going to a new team but the guys have shown me nothing but love.”
“It’s not a secret,” Bunbury said about his ability to adopt to New England’s way of playing. “They play the same formation and my center forward role is kind of the same thing. Coming in here, I understand that Jay wants me to play.”