New England Soccer Today

Watson’s Dismissal Dooms Revs

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Je-Vaughn Watston’s early dismissal put the New England Revolution in a ditch they couldn’t climb out of as they fell 3-0 to the Chicago Fire on Saturday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

Watson, who earned his first start of season, was sent off in the 27th minute after he earned a second caution for a hard challenge on Luis Solignac. His first yellow came six minutes earlier.

With the guests down to 10 men, Bastian Schweinsteiger took center stage and scored in the 45th minute. The Fire cushioned the lead right out of the break when Nemanja Nikolic pounced on a loose ball inside the box to beat a helpless Cody Cropper in the 47th minute. Nikolic added another in the 73rd minute on a ball from David Accam, who used his trademark speed to stretch the Revolution defense on the scoring sequence.

Saturday’s loss left the Revolution on seven points (2-3-1), and snapped their three-match unbeaten run. The victory for Chicago upper their total to 11 points (3-1-2).

What it means: Any inroads the Revolution wished to make on their road form were dashed due to Je-Vaughn Watson’s dismissal. With only 10 men to defend a resurgent Fire selection, the Revolution had no answer for the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic, who both made their presence felt in Saturday’s match. For the Revolution, the loss had to feel like a punch to the gut because a result seemed possible given the form they were in during the weeks leading up to their encounter with Chicago.

Stat of the match: With only 10 men for over an hour, the Revolution were outpassed by the Fire 731-233.

Fagundez dropped, Rowe returns to midfield: Aside from Watson’s return, the biggest surprise on Saturday was the curious absence of Diego Fagundez from the XI. Fagundez, who started the Revolution’s first six games of the season and was praised by Jay Heaps for his work ethic last week, eventually saw action as a 52nd minute substitute as Scott Caldwell and Kelyn Rowe manned the wings.

Turnstyle at left back? Revolution coach Jay Heaps employed his third different starting left back in as many matches with Watson getting the start on Saturday. The 33-year-old veteran defender assumed the role after Kelyn Rowe was stationed there against Houston. Chris Tierney, who entered Saturday’s match as a 57th minute sub, got the nod two weeks ago at Portland.

Mid-week action on tap: The Revolution will attempt to kickstart their next unbeaten run on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium against the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm. In their lone meeting of 2016, the MLS Originals settled for a 0-0 draw at Avaya Stadium.


  1. JimM

    April 16, 2017 at 8:14 am

    To suggest that the Revolution had a chance against the Fire is amusing. Remember that Chicago was tired of always being around the bottom (like Revolution) and is serious about doing something for their team and fans.

    Their new coach is experienced and dedicated to improve his team. It was said that who ever wins the midfield will win the game. If true, then it seems obvious who would win that battle.

    It is easy to blame Je-Vaughn for the lose and what he did was stupid. However, playing short is part of the game. A lot of short-handed teams have made an attempt to play through and some end up winning their match.

    However, the Rev’s are too thin on weapons and the coach is showing that he still is trying to figure out his teams for another year.

    Until the team gets a play maker, speed in all areas, and learn to pass we fans have to expect more disappointment for the future.

    So yes, Watson did something stupid. But the front office should look toward themselves for where the real problem lies.

    • Brian O'Connell

      April 16, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Jim, this is a great take, and you raise a lot of valid points. To me, the first 15 minutes felt a lot like the first 15 at Dallas, where the Revs came out energetic, so I thought a goal was a real possibility. Given the strides the defense has made in recent weeks, I thought 1-1 could’ve been possible. Of course, we’ll never know for sure. But I did think possibility of a result was there, even though the Fire are a much improved team.

      On the Watson dismissal, I totally agree: playing short is part of the game. To blame him solely, on its face, isn’t fair in a broader context. But with this particular Revs team, on the road, with the jury still out on its defense, I think any scenario in which they fall short-handed would’ve doomed them. Why? Because I still believe this team lacks the necessary leadership to weather the storm. Leadership from the bench, and leadership on the field.I would’ve been very impressed had they pulled off a point. At the same, I wasn’t surprised they weren’t able to just based upon what we’ve seen during the last two seasons. You’re not wrong in placing the blame on the FO and coaching staff, because they still lack the leadership that a guy like Jermaine Jones and even Charlie Davies brought week in and week out.

  2. JimM

    April 16, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    I think we have agreement on both ends. The most frustration was seeing how listless the Revs played after the red card. Yes, the Fire slowed the game to a crawl. Unfortunately, the Revs didn’t work to get the ball back and when they did the passing was the usual.

    Thank god I later saw the LA/Orlando game. That woke me up. It restored my belief that there are good games to watch.

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