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Feilhaber at home with Revolution

California native finds spot across the country

BENNY FEILHABER Change in plans BENNY FEILHABER
Change in plans
By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / April 30, 2011

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The idea was for Benny Feilhaber to make his home debut for Chivas USA tonight at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Instead, Feilhaber will be competing for the visiting Revolution, having been rejected by Chivas in an allocation process.

Feilhaber has adjusted to the unexpected change in plans. Less than 48 hours after arriving in Boston, Feilhaber sparked the Revolution midfield in a 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City last Saturday.

The full team has not practiced since then, the Revolution taking a 3-2 win over D.C. United in a US Open Cup match Tuesday, then traveling to Los Angeles Thursday. And Feilhaber has spent the downtime arranging for accommodation and transportation, which would have been much simpler had he been selected by a team near his Irvine, Calif., home.

In fact, Feilhaber did not get the news that he was a member of the Revolution until April 20, when he awakened in Denmark to a text message from his agent. The next day he took a flight to Boston and, a day later, practiced for an hour with his new teammates.

“They took it all the way to the deadline, so I knew they were talking to make a deal,’’ Feilhaber said of Chivas. “I thought maybe they were going to trade me for something, but either way I got to the Revs in the end and I’m excited about being here.’’

Through the combination of what coach Steve Nicol calls “a soccer brain’’ and technique, Feilhaber was able to provide the choreography and cohesion lacking in the Revolution midfield.

“I’ve started to make adjustments but still have more to do,’’ Feilhaber said. “I’m a little more settled and know how Stevie wants to the play and how the guys want to play.

“I’m not going to change the kind of player I am, I don’t think that would help me or the team. I know the things I’m good at and what I can do to help the team.’’

Feilhaber has been molded by his experience in Europe; he played in the Bundesliga, Denmark Superliga, and English Premier Leagues.

“There are different focuses tactically on every team,’’ Feilhaber said. “And I can adjust to those. The style Stevie likes to play is similar to the Premier. It’s a direct style but at the same time the things he wants and asks of us is to keep possession when we can. If you’re out there running 100 miles per hour all the time you’re going to get tired. When it’s there, play direct, otherwise keep possession, hold the ball, and tire out the opponent.’’

Feilhaber’s move to Major League Soccer was made with his role on the US national team in mind, and Feilhaber could receive a call-up from coach Bob Bradley for the exhibition game against Spain at Gillette Stadium June 4.

“Hopefully, the move will be positive for me,’’ Feilhaber said. “If I can make an impact on my team and on the league, and get more playing time and consistency, all in all that will definitely help.’’

The Revolution have lost three successive games to Chivas USA over two seasons, being outscored, 8-0. The Revolution have a 283-minute scoreless streak against Chivas since a 2-0 win July 19, 2009 . . . The Revolution will visit Kansas City in the next round of the US Open Cup May 25 . . . Diego Fagundez, 16 years 2 months 12 days, played the final 16 minutes as a substitute against D.C. United, becoming the youngest player in Revolution history . . . Goalkeeper Tim Murray and forward Ilia Stolica were loaned to FC New York of the United Soccer League . . . Former University of Mobile (Ala.) coach Peter Fuller, a Lincoln-Sudbury High School graduate, was named Revolution reserve team coach.

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

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