New England Soccer Today

Epic Collapse

The lead was a bit bigger, but the end result was the same as the New England Revolution blew an early advantage for the fifth time in the last six games to draw 4-4 with the Philadelphia Union.

Monsef Zerka scored on his debut, but the Revs failed to hold onto their 3 goal first half lead.(Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

The Revs got off to a dream start in front of a hostile crowd of 16,148 at PPL Park on Wednesday night, leading 4-1 just 33 minutes into the match, and appeared on their way to their first victory since July 20th. But Philadelphia (8-7-11, 35 points) had other ideas, shocking the Revs (4-11-12, 24 points) en route to a 4-4 draw.

The Union’s comeback was completed in the 90th minute by French midfielder Sebastien Le Toux after the Revs couldn’t clear a ball lobbed into their goal box. The ball eventually fell to Le Toux, who volleyed a low shot past goalkeeper Matt Reis to knot the score at 4-4.

“It all stemmed from our mental mistakes,” said Revs captain Shalrie Joseph. “Not being in the spots that we need to and not following our men in the defensive third and that cost us. Tonight it’s just, you get a 4-1 lead anywhere even against Barcelona you’d be happy and hopefully hang on but we’re not quality enough or good enough to hang on to a 4-1 lead and that’s going to cost us a playoff spot in the long run.”

The Revs had previously mounted an impressive offensive onslaught that led to a 4-1 lead at halftime. Newcomer Monsef Zerka, making his Revs debut, played a role in the opening striker, earning a free kick just outside the box on the endline in the 9th minute. Chris Tierney whipped in the set piece, finding an onrushing A.J. Soares. The rookie center back powered a header past rookie goalkeeper Zac MacMath for his first career goal.

The Union had the better of the play after the Revs early goal, but some impressive saves from Reis assured it would be New England who would find the net again next. This time Rajko Lekic was taken down challenging for a Revs throw-in just inside the box, earning the Revs a penalty kick. Lekic would take the kick himself, chipping it down the middle, while MacMath dove to his left to double the lead in the 21st minute with Lekic’s fifth goal of the season.

Zerka added a third, scoring on his debut for the Revs just five minutes later. The Moroccan got on the end of a long cross from Tierney and headed it past MacMath at the far post after making a nice run.

Roger Torres clawed one back for the Union in the 28th minute when Sheanon Williams found him with a short pass from the left flank. Torres curled a spectacular shot past Reis and inside the far post from just inside the box.

But the Revs weren’t done yet. Benny Feilhaber got in on the action in the 33rd minute after Rajko Lekic found him with a lay-off at the top of the box. Feilhaber blasted a low shot inside the near post from 20 yards to make it 4-1 with his third goal of the season.

Yet the Union was constantly tearing apart the Revs defense and looked likely to score again at any moment. They did just that ten minutes into the second half when a nice combination between Freddy Adu and Danny Mwanga left Adu behind the defense and the creative midfielder slotted it behind Reis to make it 4-2.

Revolution head coach Steve Nicol attempted to ease the Revs defensive burden by bringing on defensive midfielder Phelan for Lekic in the 58th minute, but the move just compounded the team’s possession problems, inviting Philadelphia to concentrate their attack further into the Revs half.

After the Union blew several gilt-edged chances to pull another goal back, Le Toux would finally bring it back within one in the 80th minute after the Union earned a penalty kick when Pat Phelan tripped up Le Toux on a long throw-in. Le Toux would take the penalty, perfectly placing it in the lower corner.

It appeared just a matter of time before the Revs would give up the equalizer and things took a turn for the worse when Phelan had to come off with a head injury five minutes from full time, leaving the Revs down a man for the rest of the game.

The Union piled on the pressure and after finding the equalizer both sides had chances to steal a late winner, including a botched breakaway from Revs designated player Milton Caraglio, before settling for the 4-4 draw.

The Revs return home on Saturday to face FC Dallas at 7:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium.

Leave a Reply