New England Soccer Today

Revs Eliminated After Late Rolfe Goal

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The New England Revolution’s playoffs lasted a single night in 2015 as they fell to longtime playoff foes D.C. United on Wednesday night 2-1.

Under cold, rainy conditions, the Revolution were victims to key errors towards the end of each half and a controversial finish, resulting in their elimination from the MLS playoffs. .

Chris Rolfe was the hero for D.C. United as his late goal in the 83rd minute was the difference in a tightly-contested affair. Juan Agudelo was the lone scorer for the Revolution, while Chris Pontius tied the game with the first goal for D.C. United.

D.C. United ‘s breakthrough moment came when Fabian Espindola ran down to the baseline and hit a low cross perfectly between Andrew Farrell and Jose Goncalves, where Chris Rolfe tapped the ball past a hopeless Bobby Shuttleworth to take a 2-1 lead.

It didn’t take long for United to threaten the Revolution to start the game as D.C. striker Chris Rolfe danced around Andrew Farrell and had a breakaway in the 4th minute, but Bobby Shuttleworth came out of net and made a sliding save to end the threat.

The Revolution, however, were the first to open the scoring when Kevin Alston floated a cross into the box in the 15th minute and Juan Agudelo executed a jaw-dropping bicycle kick to give the Revolution a 1-0 lead.  Moments later, the Revolution kept the pressure high leading to Kelyn Rowe getting not one, but two open shots on net, but both were turned aside from United keeper Bill Hamid.

The next opportunity came in the 26th minute when Chris Rolfe again danced around Farrell into the left side of the box, but with Farrell close behind him, his left-footed shot hit the crossbar and D.C. United stayed off the board.

One minute later, Jermaine Jones was denied by woodwork as he collected a failed clearance and shot left-footed for the far post, but scraped the outer edge of the frame. The Revolution came close again in the 32nd minute when Kelyn Rowe led a counter attack by himself, but held up play and found Juan Agudelo trailing in the box. Agudelo’s shot beat Hamid but failed to hit the net, putting to wide to Hamid’s left.

D.C. United closed the first half well, as Shuttleworth was forced to make a full diving stretch to turn a long-range Espindola shot wide of the net. Minutes later, after Espindola drew a foul, and a yellow card to Andrew Farrell, the resulting free kick led to a well-placed header from Chris Pontius which tied the game 1-1 seconds before halftime.

With the score level, the game tightened up at the beginning of the second half and chances were fewer for both teams. However, in the 73rd minute, the Revolution had an unlucky moment when a non-threatening loose ball deflected off of Scott Caldwell’s arm, giving D.C. United a controversial penalty kick. With Rolfe stepping up to the spot, the penalty hit the base of the left post and rolled harmlessly out of the box.

The Revolution sent men downfield and put on offensive pressure, looking for the equalizer after Rolfe’s go-ahead goal to force extra time. In the 86th minute, Jermaine Jones had a long shot from 15 yards out, but pulled the ball wide of the near post. Jones was taken down after the shot on a tackle from Markus Halsti, but no foul was called. Minutes later, Jones headed a deflected Daigo Kobayashi shot towards goal, but Bill Hamid pushed the ball over the bar to maintain the lead.

In stoppage time, Jones tried to control a long pass in the box, but the ball deflected off of Sean Franklin’s arm inside the area. After the referee waived off the potential penalty, the fiery midfielder lost his temper and sprinted to Mark Geiger, placing his hands on the referee and earning a red card, effectively ending any chance of the Revolution finding an equalizer. In turn, it also ended the Revolution’s season and potentially, Jones’ career with the Revolution.

For D.C. United, they advance to the Eastern Conference semis, where they will face either the Columbus Crew or the New York Red Bulls. For the Revolution, it concludes an otherwise disappointing season in quite possibly the ugliest and most frustrating way possible. Heading into the 2015 season, expectations were high after last year’s MLS Cup appearance, but a return trip will have to wait at least another year.

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