for this game

Revolution blank Dynamo in season opener

Mar 30, 2008 - 3:38 AM By Brian Devine PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- Steve Ralston, Adam Cristman and Sainey Nyassi scored goals to lift the New England Revolution to a 3-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

New England avenged a pair of losses to Houston in the past two MLS championship games.

Starting the season at home for the first time in their 13-year history, the Revolution improved to 3-7-3 all-time in openers.

"Great result, I didn't really know what to expect coming in to this game," Ralston said. "I didn't know where we were but obviously we are pretty pleased with the result tonight."

Goalkeeper Matt Reis made three saves en route to his 43rd career shutout for New England, which registered 13 shots on goal.

New England took a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute when Ralston gathered a rebound and deposited it into the back of the empty net after goalkeeper Pat Onstad stopped Kenny Mansally's initial shot.

The Revolution midfielder broke in and unleashed a rightfooted shot on which Onstad made a sprawling save. The rebound went directly to Ralston, who calmly recorded his 62nd career goal.

Ralston, the league's career leader in minutes played, games started, appearances and assists, had four goals last season. However, he later suffered a separated left shoulder in the 63rd minute that he said could keep him out for three weeks.

"As soon as I landed I knew it," Ralston said. "I felt it crack and felt the bone sticking up when it normally isn't."

In the 32nd minute, Jeff Larentowicz collected a pass from Ralston on a free kick just outside the box and unleashed a low, hard shot that was turned away by Onstand. But Cristman was there to head in the rebound and give the Revolution a 2-0 lead.

"We had too many guys have a bad night off," Houston coach Dominic Kinnear said. "And when you do that, your team does not play well and you suffer. Can't see too many guys that played well individually, therefore collectively there are breakdowns all over the field."

Cristman, who was a finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year last season, was a surprise starter due to the late scratch of Taylor Twellman. One of the league's top scorers, Twellman was scratched 15 minutes prior to the start of the game due to pain in his right knee.

"I keep telling these guys you never know when the call is going to come, someone gets injured, a suspension, we change the team, you have to be ready when your chance comes," New England coach Steve Nicol said. "And Adam Cristman showed you today what a good professional is."

Midfielder Nyassi capped the scoring in the third minute of stoppage time. He sped in from midfield, made a nice step-over move and sent a shot from the right side of the box just over a leaping Onstad to seal the victory.

"We didn't have a good game," Houston defenseman Eddie Robinson said. "I do not know why. Have to give credit to New England, they took their chances when they had them. We had a couple of chances, but other than that we just didn't play well."

It was the first career tally for the 19-year-old Nyassi, who is the youngest player ever to start for New England.

"It was really great, I was really happy - anyway I was expecting a goal," Nyassi joked of his emotions of scoring his first career MLS goal.

"From the first minute to the 93rd minute he was up and down the field, his fitness was fantastic," Nicol said.

Onstad made 10 saves for the Dynamo, who have beaten the Revolution for each of the past two MLS Cups, including a 2-1 victory last year.