Revolution drop opener They can't stop Mutiny as Tampa Bay takes over

Frank Dell'Apa
Date Published: 
Boston Globe

TAMPA, Fla. -- The New England Revolution demonstrated some forward thinking during their Major League Soccer debut last night. They aggressively attacked the Tampa Bay Mutiny and showed an ability to strike quickly. But they paid for their defensive weaknesses and lost, 3-2, before a crowd of 26,473.

"We are going to be positive away from home," Revolution coach Frank Stapleton said. "And scoring two goals away from home is usually enough. But dead ball situations cost us."

The Revolution surrendered all three goals off corner kicks and free kicks. The most costly foul, though, might have been when goalkeeper Jim St. Andre was ejected in the final seconds for a handball outside the penalty area. St. Andre will be suspended for the Revolution's next game at the New York/New Jersey MetroStars Saturday. Though the Revolution had only practiced together for a little more than a month, they showed technical skills in midfield, tactical organization and promising attacking ability from Brazilian left wing Welton and striker Rob Ukrop, who scored both goals. The Revolution scored first after an Alexi Lalas clearance released Welton on a 55-yard run through the middle. Welton dribbled into the penalty area, eluded defender Cle Kooiman, drew goalkeeper Mark Dougherty out and crossed to Ukrop, who finished with a left-footed shot in the 20th minute. But Tampa Bay rallied for a 3-1 lead. US national team members Steve Pittman and Roy Lassiter combined on a free kick, which Lassiter headed over St. Andre in the 25th minute. South African Ivan McKinley headed in a Martin Vazquez corner in the sixth minute of the second half. And Pittman, who joined the team this week from Partick Thistle in Scotland, scored after Carlos Valderrama backheeled a free kick in the 17th minute of the second half. Ukrop headed in a cross from Peter Woodring in the 25th minute. And the Revolution added Giuseppe Galderisi to its attack and sent nearly everyone forward in a final assault. "The players are very disappointed but it's only one game," Stapleton said. "I saw a lot of good things. We've only been together for five weeks but at times it looked like a European game out there. "At times, we were in control and keeping it nice and simple. Their goals were down more to our mistakes. We took the game to them. I don't believe in sitting back and waiting. The way this team is made up, we are always going to be attacking." Ukrop began the game as a lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation because of injuries to Galderisi and Bojan Vuckovic. Galderisi entered the game in the 17th minute of the second half and made an impact, especially in combination with Ukrop and Welton, and with Lalas on crosses. The Mutiny midfield and forwards Lassiter and Trinidadian Evans Wise kept pressure on for much of the game. The Revolution were able to neutralize Valderrama at times. But the Revolution also seemed vulnerable, as Pittman threatened from long distance, Vazquez hit the post late in the first half, Lassiter and Wise kept defenders off balance with their speed and Valderrama took control with his experience and skill. Stapleton disputed referee Zimmerman Boulous' caution of John DeBrito for a foul on Valderrama that led to the first Mutiny goal. The third Tampa Bay goal resulted from a foul on Mike Burns, which Burns said was "a clean play -- the referee knows he made a mistake." And Stapleton said the ejection of St. Andre should have been a yellow card caution, since St. Andre had not committed an intentional handball, and there was time for only one kick remaining. "No team should score three goals from restarts," Burns said. "I don't care how good a team is on set plays, that should never happen. We need to be better organized defensively and on restarts."