New England Soccer Today

Rivalry Renewed

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – If there was any question whether emotions would carry over from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, the answer couldn’t be more clear in the first New England Revolution-New York Red Bulls match of the season.  The Revolution was the victor in Round 1 of the season series, which saw some fireworks after the game.

Although stars like Jose Goncalves, Lee Nguyen, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Lloyd Sam were missing from their starting lineups, both teams fought hard for not only three points, but personal pride in a rivalry that is quickly becoming one of the biggest in the MLS.

“You got two teams that are emotional teams, and emotional coaches meaning we wanted to win that game and they wanted to win that game,” said Revolution coach Jay Heaps.

The Revolution committed 19 fouls overall, including 11 in the second half, with the Red Bulls committing nine fouls of their own.  A total of seven yellow cards were passed out, and there were countless collisions between players fighting for loose balls across the field.

But the most heated it got on Saturday night was after the final whistle, when Jermaine Jones and Felipe Martins needed to be separated.

“I was trying to have a conversation with Sacha [Kljestan] to get their guys back and get our guys back.  Things are going all around and next thing you know, it’s chaotic.  I don’t know exactly what happened,” said Heaps.

“At the beginning was everything with Felipe…The whole game, he talked, and after the game, he talked. And I told him, when you lose, it’s better if you don’t talk,” Jermaine Jones said after the match.  “And then he said something in his language, but I played with some people from that country, so I know some words and I told him ‘don’t do that.’  I love my kids and I love my wife and that had nothing to do with here on the pitch.”

Although it was an ugly scene, it only goes to demonstrate the tension and the passion these teams have, and that there is no love lost from last fall.  The two teams have found themselves near the top of the Eastern Conference standings early in the 2015 season, and the rivalry appears to be as passionate as ever.  Heaps believes the scuffle was just a product of two teams showing a desire to win.

“For me, that stuff always happened.  Playing the Chicago Fire.  Playing New York Red Bulls.  There are going to be guys going after it and I think that game showed that.  There wasn’t an inch of space because no one had any time on the ball because everyone was committed to winning that game.”

The game itself was entertaining from beginning to end, with the Revolution scoring early and trying to hold off the Red Bulls’ pressuring attack, which has not been held scoreless throughout the 2015 season.  It marked the fourth straight game between the teams that ended in a tie or with the teams separated by a solitary goal.

While both teams are moving forward, with the Red Bulls hosting New York City FC for the first time ever and the Revolution playing a Friday night game in Orlando, don’t expect teams to have a short memory when the teams meet again on July 11th.  The matchup seems to be gaining steam, although both teams hope emotions will be contained on the pitch.

“I know there’s that feeling [of a rivalry], you can see the same in baseball with the Red Sox and the Yankees and maybe we have that with the New York Red Bulls,” said Jones. “In one point, it’s nice and you want those games, and I like those games.  After the game, of course, both of us maybe can handle that differently.”

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