New England Soccer Today

A finale to forget

HARRISON, N.J. – For New England, it was a finale to forget.

After stringing together a series of solid performances down the stretch, the Revolution’s season ended with a whimper, as they dropped their first match to New York in over five years by handing the Red Bulls a 2-0 victory at Red Bull Park Thursday night.

Dane Richards gave the locals the lead in the 17th minute while Joel Lindpere sealed it the 92nd minute to end the Revolution’s 14-match regular season unbeaten streak (8-0-6) over their conference rivals.

Although the Red Bulls got the best of the Revs, it was all New England in the early going.

In the ninth minute, Marko Perovic tested the shaky mitts of Bouna Condoul with a 40-yard rocket that caromed off the keeper to an unmarked Ilija Stolica, who was summarily ruled offside to end the threat.

The Revs form held up until the Red Bulls reorganized in the 17th. Juan Pablo Angel sent a gorgeous ball ahead to Richards, who streaked into open space on the right, locked his target, and pulled the trigger to put it past Bobby Shuttleworth for the lead.

With their promising early form nothing more than a memory, the Revolution tried to contain the hard charging Red Bulls. At the half hour, Richards once again roamed on the right before delivering it to Salou Ibrahim, who nearly tucked it inside the near post.

The best chance of equalizing before the half arrived in stoppage time when Sainey Nyassi took a ball from Stolica on the right and blasted a shot right at Condoul, who once again, mishandled the chance before it was eventually cleared out of harm’s way.

New England found another chance early in the second frame courtesy of Condoul’s chaotic form. In the 48th minute, the keeper muffed a Darrius Barnes throw in that Stolica and Shalrie Joseph tried to put away until the Red Bull defenders once again came to the rescue.

With time winding down, Revolution manager Steve Nicol inserted midfielder Pat Phelan for Emmanuel Osei to employ the 3-5-2 formation at the 80th minute.

It worked – almost. A minute after the switch, Joseph sat on Coundoul’s doorstep, then tucked it back to Perovic, who’s right foot betrayed him as his shot went wildly over the crossbar.

During the final desperate minutes, the Revolution did all they could to push up and pressure the Red Bulls’ backs.

But, it backfired in stoppage time when Lindpere took a Toni Tchani pass into the box. With plenty of time and space to explore his options, faked out Shuttleworth, then calmly guided a precise ball that bulged that back of the net, as he and his teammates celebrated New York’s first conference championship in a decade.

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