FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Days after he was sent off at the twilight of Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Union, Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber explained the circumstances that led to his second yellow and subsequent red card ejection.
In the 88th minute, Feilhaber, who was already carrying a yellow earned two minutes prior, put his shoulder into Antoine Hoppenot while Keon Daniel accelerated his dribble along the left touchline. Referee Jorge Gonzalez brandished a second yellow and subsequent red card for the foul.
“I tried to obstruct (Hoppenot) from making the run – something that’s not smart when you’re already on a yellow,” Feilhaber said after training on Wednesday. “But at that point, I had lost my head a bit. It was a stupid play for me.”
Feilhaber acknowledges he should have also been “smarter” on the foul that led to his first booking in the 86th minute, when he kicked the ball away from Hoppenot just as Gonzalez was ready to caution Revolution midfielder Ryan Guy for tugging the Union striker’s jersey.
But the veteran central midfielder also believes that a pair of Union players pleaded with Gonzalez to issue a yellow to him for the incident.
“The referee wasn’t even going to give me a yellow card,” Feilhaber said. “He was asked to give me yellow card by two players on the Union you can clearly see that in the game (replay). I don’t know what happened. I didn’t try to kick him after the whistle that’s for sure and I definitely kicked the ball so I didn’t kick the guy at all.”
Revolution head coach Jay Heaps backed his central midfielder, especially after he looked at the tape of Saturday’s game.
“I think he was a little frustrated with the inconsistency he felt from the referee,” Heaps said after training on Wednesday. “Maybe he kind of got caught on the first one, and on the second one, it was more a tactical play.”
Although Feilhaber says that “there’s no use in complaining about it,” he does feel badly about his one-game suspension, which will keep him on the sidelines for the Oct. 20 home finale against Chicago.
“It sucks that I can’t be out there to help my teammates,” Feilhaber said. “I know everyone puts in 100% every single day and in training. Anyone that gets a red card will tell you how helpless they feel as soon as you get that red card. Once that red card gets shown, you just feel an instant regret. You wish you could take it back, but you can’t.”
Meanwhile, Feilhaber knows that he needs to do better to keep his temper in check going forward, especially in games similar to Saturday’s, which took on a rough and tumble tone in the second half.
“I think I do play with a good bit of fire, a little bit of attitude,” Feilhaber said. “Even though I think it’s good to play with that fire, I think at the same time I know I need to control it a bit more to help myself and help my team. It’s something I continue to work on. It’s something that is obviously is within me, it’s not easy to kind of change in that sense.”