The New England Revolution lost their fourth straight MLS match, falling 2-1 at Real Salt Lake on Independence Day at Rio Tinto Stadium. New England conceded two penalty kicks, which Javier Morales and Joao Plata converted, sandwiching a goal from Darrius Barnes.
The Revolution (7-7-2, 23 points) remain in third place in the East, while Salt Lake (7-3-7, 28 points) jumped to second in the West, ending their five game winless skid.
Head coach Jay Heaps made several changes to the Revolution line-up from the team’s 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union last weekend. Andy Dorman missed the match due to a yellow card accumulation suspension and Heaps moved Soares from center back to defensive midfield in Dorman’s spot. Andrew Farrell slotted into center back from his usual right back position, with Darrius Barnes starting at right back. Heaps also opted to start Kelyn Rowe at right midfield over Teal Bunbury and Bobby Shuttleworth over Brad Knighton in goal.
Salt Lake had a great chance to take the lead in the sixth minute when Luis Gil played John Stertzer into the left side of the box. Stertzer played a centering pass to Devon Sandoval near the edge of the six yard box, but the 23-year-old striker couldn’t control it and deflected the ball right to Shuttleworth.
Real threatened again in the tenth minute after the Revolution failed to clear a free kick and the ball fell to Kyle Beckerman near the penalty spot. Beckerman hit a low shot on frame, but Shuttleworth kept it out with a diving save.
Gil threatened in the 27th minute after a chipped pass played him into the box. Gil hit a low shot to the near post that Shuttleworth saved, but couldn’t hold. Sandoval wasn’t able to create anything off the rebound.
Salt Lake’s pressure paid off in the 35th minute when referee Allen Chapman whistled for a penalty kick on what looked like minimal contact from Barnes challenging for a corner kick. Javier Morales made no mistake on the penalty to give Salt Lake the lead.
But New England would strike back just two minutes later. Chris Tierney curled in a free kick from distance towards the far post, where Barnes broke free of his defender to head in the equalizer. The goal was the second of Barnes’ MLS career.
Jose Goncalves nearly put the Revolution in the lead after Rowe directed a corner kick towards him. Goncalves’ shot deflected off some combination of Nick Rimando and the post and rolled along the line without ever crossing.
Salt Lake thought they had gone back ahead in the 60th minute after Nat Borchers finished a rebound off a Morales shot from a Joao Plata corner. The play was whistled dead, however, for a handball on Morales.
Five minutes later Salt Lake would take the lead off their second penalty kick of the night after Tierney took out Stertzer with a mistimed slide tackle. Plata stepped up to take this spot kick and hammered it into the upper corner.
Tierney looked to help the Revs get a quick equalizer in the 69th minute, but his perfect low cross from the left flank was just deflected wide by Patrick Mullins’ sliding attempt.
A minute later Rowe had a great chance off service from Lee Nguyen that played him behind the defense, but he couldn’t direct his shot on frame.
From there, New England struggled to create much of a threat as they fell to their fourth straight loss.
New England next heads to Philadelphia to face the Union in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals on July 8.