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Real Salt Lake-Revolution Preview

Aug 24, 2009 - 2:36 AM By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO STATS Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (STATS) - Scoring goals has been a major problem for the New England Revolution this season. Kheli Dube has changed that for at least one game.

Dube scored three goals to help the Revolution move into playoff position with a 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Sunday night.

The Revolution (8-6-6) entered Sunday scoring 21 goals to rank ahead of only Kansas City (20) and New York (16) in MLS. They scored more than two goals in a game once all season, a 4-0 home win over the league-worst Red Bulls on June 7, netting seven in the following eight (3-2-3). Most of those struggles have come with Taylor Twellman, the club's all-time leader with 101 goals, limited to two games this season due to a concussion.

Dube did his part to pick up the scoring slack against Real Salt Lake (7-9-6), which beat New England 6-0 in a record performance by both clubs April 25.

The Zimbabwean forward netted his first goal in the ninth minute, when he converted a low cross from midfielder Mauricio Castro, who got behind the Salt Lake defense on a long ball from defender Jay Heaps. He followed that 20 minutes later when he knocked in a rebound after RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando made a diving stop on a hard shot by midfielder Michael Videira.

Dube completed his hat trick in the 67th minute, as he flicked a driving cross by Shalrie Joseph into the back of the net.

"I feel like it was good passes from teammates, and without those good passes you aren't going to get any good chances," said Dube, a finalist for the MLS Rookie of the Year Award after scoring four goals last year. "It's all about teamwork and getting good balls from guys. It's not like I did all the work. It starts with 11 players on the team, and it's all about teamwork."

The three goals by Dube doubled his season total and moved him into a tie with Joseph and midfielder Steve Ralston for first on the Revolution. He also became the fifth player in team history to register a hat trick, joining Twellman (3), Pat Noonan (2), Chris Brown and Alberto Naveda.

New England is 4-1-2 over its last seven to move into a tie with Toronto for third in the Eastern Conference. The two division rivals are also tied with Colorado for the final two playoff positions.

"We are not playing our best soccer, we are just playing well," Dube said. "I just hope we can keep it going and make the playoffs."

RSL got a consolation goal with five minutes to play when forward Pablo Campos' header in front of the net ricocheted off the shin of Revs defender Darrius Barnes and past goalkeeper Matt Reis for an own goal.

Salt Lake is 1-8-2 on the road, where it has been outscored 17-6.

"It's another case where I think our guys are reading the newspapers and the stat lines and seeing that we're doing a good job defensively and that's going to carry us into this playoff chase, and they forget that there's some effort that is involved in the 90 minutes," RSL coach Jason Kreis said of his club's defensive play after allowing no goals in the previous two games - both at home. "I think we'll need to take a good hard look at who's going to be on the field. We can't go with guys who don't show the effort."

RSL is sixth in the West, and three points back of the final playoff spot.