New England Soccer Today

Nine-Man Revs Hold on for Draw

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution saw two men ejected with over half an hour left to play, but held on for a 1-1 draw against D.C. United in front of 15,216 at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night. Charlie Davies gave the Revolution the lead in first half stoppage time, but red cards to Chris Tierney and Lee Nguyen in the 52nd and 58th minutes, respectively, put the Revolution on the back foot. D.C., however, wasn’t able to equalize until the 80th minute through Jairo Arrieta and never found a winner as the sides settled for a share of the points.

“We practice being down to 10 men,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “I have to be honest, we don’t practice down to nine men, but we just had a 35 minute session so we’re alright. It’s hard because you’re asking guys like Teal [Bunbury] to cover a lot of ground, Scotty [Caldwell] covered a lot of ground, Jermaine [Jones] played excellent in there. It’s a hard situation but I thought we even had moments to get another goal, but you have to be smart. “

The draw leaves D.C. United (6-2-4, 22 points) in first place in the East, while New England (5-3-5, 20 points) remains in second.

After resting several players in New England’s 4-2 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday, Heaps returned to his normal line-up with Bobby Shuttleworth, Chris Tierney, Andrew Farrell, Teal Bunbury and Charlie Davies all back in the starting eleven.

New England had some chances early, but couldn’t connect on the final pass in the box. It wasn’t until the 29th minute that the match saw its first shot, with D.C. defender Kofi Opare heading a cross well high of the net. New England’s first shot came a minute later on a London Woodberry header that was also off target.

The Revolution’s first real chance came in the 38th minute when Scott Caldwell sprung Chris Tierney down the left flank. Tierney sent a cross into the box that eluded several players before falling right to an open Lee Nguyen in the right side of the box. Nguyen hit a low shot on frame, but a sliding Opare managed to block the shot.

Charlie Davies gave New England the lead in the first half stoppage time when a Chris Tierney corner kick was headed on frame by Juan Agudelo. Bill Hamid stopped the shot—the first time either keeper was tested in the match—but the rebound fell to Davies for a tap-in, giving the Revolution a 1-0 lead.

“I think we thought we could have been up more at halftime but it was nice to get the goal right before half,” said Heaps. “But I thought we could have been up two and then if you get a red card you could manage a little bit better. But I like what we’re creating. Lets’ be honest, you can’t score every time you create something but if you continue to put teams under pressure and get inside their six and get balls into dangerous areas, you’re going to score and put teams under pressure.”

Things began to get ugly for New England early in the second half. D.C. gained a man advantage in the 52nd when Tierney was ejected by referee Mark Geiger for a high challenge on Chris Pontius. Then, six minutes later, New England went down another man when Lee Nguyen received his second yellow card and subsequent red for a challenge on Davy Arnaud, leaving DC with an 11 on 9 advantage. The second red marked the first time New England had been reduced to nine men since a 3-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on August 10, 2013.

“I thought the game was a pillow fight up to that point, there was nothing malicious in the game at all,” said Heaps. “As much as we have to be smart, the referee has to be smart. I don’t think the first one’s a red card. After the red card, we have to be smarter. To be fair to Lee he was fouled first, he was right in front of us. But he’s got to react better and unfortunately he gave the referee a chance. Believe me I thought there was going to be more red cards after that, it was a free for all.”

Unsurprisingly, D.C. had the better of the play from there, but still failed to test Shuttleworth until the 80th minute when substitute Taylor Kemp got open on the left flank and sent in a low cross. Jairo Arrieta beat Andrew Farrell to the ball and slotted it past Shuttleworth at the near post to make it 1-1.

“We knew when they brought in Kemp that he was going to whip those balls in,” said Farrell. “It just takes one miscommunication, one mistake and they tied. But, like coach Heaps said, it’s a great one point.”

The Revolution were able to keep D.C. at bay for the rest of the match to hold on for the draw, despite holding just 20.3% possession in the second half.

“I’m 100% sure if we play 11 v. 11 we win that game,” said Jones.

New England returns to action on Sunday, May 31, against the LA Galaxy at Gillette Stadium at 7p.m.

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