Revolution down 2 already
Gambia recalls Nyassi, Mansally for Africa play
FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution will be missing Kenny Mansally and Sainey Nyassi for tonight’s SuperLiga final against Club Monarcas Morelia.
Mansally and both Nyassi and his twin brother, Sanna, who plays for the Seattle Sounders, have been called to national team duty for Gambia’s African Nations Cup qualifier against Namibia. The game is this weekend, so all three players will also be missing for the Revolution-Seattle match Saturday.
“They’re not here, so it’s pointless to talk about what could or could not happen,’’ said Revolution coach Steve Nicol yesterday. “Obviously, there’s going to have to be a change as far as Sainey is concerned. I think whoever is going to play will do a good job.’’
Mansally is third on the team in scoring with three goals in 14 appearances, three games as a starter. In the four years of the SuperLiga tournament, Mansally also is among the Revolution’s leaders in games played (13) and is tied with Kheli Dube and Shalrie Joseph for the team lead with three goals. Nyassi, who succeeded Steve Ralston as the team’s right winger in 2008, is the only Revolution player who has started all 21 MLS games this year. Both Mansally and Nyassi performed for Gambia during the MLS offseason.
Despite struggling during the MLS season, the Revolution have had a remarkable SuperLiga run. The team extended its unbeaten streak against Mexican clubs to eight games (7-0-1, 12-3 goal differential) over three tournaments with three group-play wins (including a 1-0 victory over Morelia) and a penalty kicks elimination of Puebla in the semifinals last month. The Revolution are 8-1-4, losing only against the Chicago Fire last year, since first entering the SuperLiga in 2008.
“Mexican teams, they’re pretty much the same,’’ Joseph said. “Not to disrespect them by any margin — they’re just great possession teams, they move the ball well, they move off the ball, and they keep us on our heels for pretty much 90 minutes because they love keeping the ball, just like any other team.
“We’re just going to have to stay focused, stay concentrated, and just try to limit their chances, limit their creativity throughout the midfield, and just try to get that early one. I think if we get that early goal, it’s going to be huge for our confidence and huge for our team.
“We know we’ve got to be physical with them. They don’t like that kind of style of play, and our team has definitely got some guys who can lay in some tackles and be very physical.
“I think we’ve got to set the tone early, whether it be getting in that first tackle, creating chances, or letting them know we’re here to play. I think we’re going to bring that energy and that chemistry we’ve needed so far through the season.’’
Goalkeeper Matt Reis is expected to return after missing Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Philadelphia with back spasms.
“Every day it’s getting a little bit better,’’ Reis said. “It’s day-by-day, and so far so good. We’ll see how it feels, but I’m expecting to play.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.