In a game marked by physical, and at times, dangerous play, the New England Revolution dropped a 2-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium on Wednesday.
Brad Evans (26′) and Eddie Johnson (44′) scored to give Seattle a two-goal lead it didn’t relinquish. Michael Gspurning and Marcus Hahnemann combined for the cleansheet and dropped New England’s record to 0-2-1 on the preseason.
Fierce challenges dominated the first half, and the tempers eventually reached a boil in the 36th minute when Osvaldo Alonzo took out Chris Tierney on a late tackle. Alonzo and Clyde Simms, both of whom exchanged words for much of the first frame, were quickly substituted off rather than red carded.
“I think it was an unfortunate incident,” Revolution head coach Jay Heaps told the media after the game. “You hate to see a guy get really hurt. Tierney got injured pretty badly so we reacted and I think you just feel for Chris because he’s not a guy who that goes down (easily).”
Tempers were lost again in the 80th minute, as Sainey Nyassi and Marc Burch were both booted after Nyassi came in late on Burch, who quickly retaliated.
Revolution first round pick Andrew Farrell started at right back, while Jose Goncalves and A.J. Soares were assigned to the center of the defense. Kalifa Cisse and Clyde Simms featured in the middle of park, while Gabe Latigue and Diego Fagundez switched between attacking midfielder and right midfielder early in the first half.
Fagundez nearly gave New England the early lead when he fired a shot on frame that Gspurning tipped over the bar in the fifth minute.
On the whole, the Revolution were the aggressor early. But that meant little midway through the first half, after a Mauro Rosales free kick smacked off the arm of a Revolution defender inside the area during the 26th minute. Brad Evans hit it true from the spot a minute later.
In the 32nd minute, Fagundez made an appeal for a penalty after he grabbed a ball from Jerry Bengtson and cut inside the box, where he was met by a Leo Gonzalez challenge. Yet, referee Juan Guzman declined to point to the spot.
Seattle made it two-all in a minute before the interval when Johnson shook off Goncalves and deposited it inside the far post.
New England found its fair share of opportunities to file a response in the second frame.
Sainey Nyassi ran into the Sounders defense, cut inside and sent a shot that flew over the bar in the 63rd minute.
Five minutes later, Donnie Smith darted into the area, but saw his shot saved by a diving Hahnemann. Smith created another opportunity in the 82nd minute when his corner kick eventually found Darrius Barnes near the spot. But Barnes’ header was cleared off the line.
Trialist Marko Jesic and Bilal Duckett saw their shots go begging near full time, as the Revolution failed to the find the back of the net for the second time in their last three.
“Overall, other than the goals we gave up, we did some good stuff at times,” Heaps said. “But we have a ways to go and we have a ways to go at the fitness level as well.”