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Soccer notes

Dorman’s move has paid handsomely

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / September 14, 2010

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Andy Dorman was not certain yesterday if he would be in the Crystal Palace starting lineup for tonight’s match against Portsmouth. Dorman has been used as a starter and reserve in his first season with the South London club, his status similar to when he was performing for the Revolution through the 2007 Major League Soccer season.

Among the major differences, though, is that Dorman is earning about as much yearly in England’s Football League Championship as he would have made in seven MLS seasons.

“I would have loved to have stayed,’’ Dorman said in a telephone interview yesterday. “I was happy and settled and enjoying my football. Getting to three MLS Cups and winning the US Open Cup, being part of a successful team — it didn’t work out and I was forced to look elsewhere. I probably would have stayed if a good offer came in but, obviously, what they thought and what I thought was a good offer were two different things.’’

Dorman played out his contract with the Revolution, then went to St. Mirren in Scotland, and tied for the club scoring lead with 12 goals in the 2008-09 season. His contract with the Saints ended after last season and he accepted an offer from Crystal Palace.

But Dorman, 28, has come far since arriving in the US to attend Boston University. Then, he was not thinking about a professional soccer career. As the second-to-last pick in the 2003 MLS draft, Dorman was a long shot to make an impact with the Revolution.

“When I first started out I was 17 and it was a case of almost treating it like playing football and a vacation,’’ Dorman said of his early BU years. “I wanted to see what the opportunities were and keep up with my schoolwork. It’s in the back of your mind that maybe you’ll have a chance to play, but not really make a career of it — it was just kind of delaying getting a job.

“By the law of averages, not many make it, especially coming straight from college. I was fortunate at the time that the team had quite a few injuries and the squad size wasn’t big. Clint [Dempsey] played quite a bit that year and Felix [Brillant] and I were shoved straight into the action.’’

Dempsey moved on to Fulham FC in the Premiership, a step above the League Championship. Dorman, living near Victoria Station, nearly coincided with former Revolution assistant Paul Mariner, who managed Plymouth as the club was relegated after last season.

“I haven’t been in contact with Clint for a while but I just found his number,’’ Dorman said. “I’ll probably catch one of his games and meet up with Clint and his wife.’’

Dorman, who made his international debut for Wales in May, was part of a dynamic Revolution midfield that included Jose Cancela, Joe Franchino, Shalrie Joseph, Jeff Larentowicz, Steve Ralston, Khano Smith, and Dempsey. Dorman provided a speedy attacking threat through the center of the field, and his playing time increased as he developed his defensive game.

“I’m keeping up with the Revs and my wife is from Connecticut, so we get back to Boston,’’ Dorman said. “I was fortunate to play for Stevie [Nicol] and Paul. They gave me advice before I left and their training methods were similar, so that made it quite easy for me.

“We’ve had a tough start to the season and I’m not playing as much as I would like to. But you just want to play at the best level you can. It’s a long journey to get to play in the Championship, coming from the US college system, through the MLS and Scotland.

“But the Championship has been brilliant so far. You look at the way Blackpool got to the Premiership and anything can happen. There are a lot of really good players in the league, especially with all the foreigners playing in the Premiership, a lot of homegrown players are in the Championship. It’s a steppingstone to the Premier League.’’

Streak in danger
The Revolution (7-13-3, 24 points) remain in playoff contention but their streak of eight consecutive postseason appearances (second to Los Angeles’ 10 straight on the all-time MLS list) is in jeopardy as they face difficult visits to Colorado Saturday and Dallas next Wednesday.

“It’s no secret that our backs are against the wall,’’ Revolution vice president of player personnel Michael Burns said. “But we’re not mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture, yet. We have seven games remaining and we realize we have to win, if not all of them, close to all of them, to give ourselves a shot.

“And it’s certainly not easy. The next two games are on the road, and two difficult places to get results, then come home to play Columbus. We’re going to go out there and compete and try to win games and we realize we have to go on a similar type run to what we had in the SuperLiga, where we have to put five, six, seven games together.’’

Past Revolution teams made late-season rallies in similar circumstances.

“I think we still have personalities on this team that are strong enough to try and make a run at this,’’ Burns said. “Obviously, we missed Marko [Perovic] Friday night [a 2-0 loss at Chivas USA]. He’ll be back in the lineup.

“No secret, it’s not going to be easy. But we have veteran leadership on this team and we’re going try to win games, we’re going to play and compete. Our season has gotten to that point where, literally, you’ve got to take one game and go from there. And it’s not going to be easy, even though no team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, yet, we realize every team we’re playing is playing for something. The games mean something to everyone.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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