New England Soccer Today

When the Going Gets Tough…

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For 52 minutes, Jay Heaps felt his team was the better side. But in a six minute span, New England saw both Chris Tierney and Lee Nguyen ejected with red cards and his team reduced to nine men.

Yet thanks to a strong effort from those remaining on the field, the Revolution were able to walk away with a point in a 1-1 tie.

Tierney saw a straight red from referee Mark Geiger in the 52nd after getting his studs up on a tackle on Chris Pontius. After Pontius served in a corner, the clearance went back towards him. As Tierney raced out to it, he brought his boot up and caught Pontius just above his knee.

“The Chris Tierney red card, for me, that’s gotta be 100%,” Heaps said. “I gotta be honest with you, there’s no way he could have seen it from where he was going and how quickly he went to the red, you saw his hand go to the pocket within a millisecond of the whistle being blown. Those are the situations where you just hope there’s a little bit more common sense and say alright ‘Did anyone else see it like I did?’ If they all agree, I tip my hat. If just one guy makes the call, I hope that there’s a pause there.”

Just six minutes later, New England went from 10 men to nine men when Geiger issued Nguyen his second yellow of the game, resulting in a red card. Nguyen got his first yellow in extra time in the first half on a tackle on Davy Arnaud. His second card came just before midfield, again tangling with Arnaud before following through with his challenge.

“After the red card, we have to be smarter,” Heaps added. “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.”

New England had grabbed a 1-0 lead when Charlie Davies scored in the waning moments of the first half on a rebound.

Despite having to play more than 35 minutes down two men, the Revolution only allowed DC United to get one shot on goal. Unfortunately for New England, United cashed in when Jairo Arrieta tapped in Taylor Kemp’s near post cross in the 80th minute.

For the 22 minutes between Nguyen’s sending off and Arrieta’s goal and for the 15 minutes following the strike, New England didn’t allow a shot on target despite DC United’s two-man advantage.

“Credit them,” DC head coach Ben Olsen said. “They dug in, there’s a lot of guys on their squad that were doing everything to make it difficult on us. I thought we could have just played what’s there, 10-v-8. Just give to the next guy, side to side and eventually you’re going to get your looks or get a service in better spots.”

New England’s back line of London Woodberry, Andrew Farrell and Jose Goncalves went the full 90 while Kevin Alston spelled Juan Agudelo in the 56th minute to keep four defenders on the field for the Revolution.

“It was tough going down to one man is really tough, two guys, like Chris and Lee who help us so much going forward, it’s tough,” Farrell said. “I think the guys did well, I think it was hard for the guys who went 90 minutes on Wednesday. I got a rest so I felt like I had to give a little bit more. It was impressive guys like Jermaine and Scotty, Kelyn when he came in, Teal, they were going hard so we’re all in this together. I thought it was a good effort.”

New England switched to a 4-3-1 approach with Jermaine Jones and Scott Caldwell patrolling the midfield the entire game, Teal Bunbury going in the middle for 77 minutes before moving up to striker for the final 13 when Kelyn Rowe came in to the midfield.

“We knew we just had to keep them wide, we couldn’t let them down the middle,” Caldwell said. “I just tried to stay inside and as the ball went wide get as much pressure as I could so it wasn’t an easy service, trying to make it easier on the back line.

“You just know you can’t be stupid but there’s not much to change. You still have to go in hard, you can’t ease up or anything. You still have to win the ball, still have to try and counter attack.”

Between Davies, Bunbury and sub Sean Okoli, New England tried its best to extend the field and keep DC United’s defense honest. Jones and Caldwell turned their defense into offense trying to spring counter attacks with Jones even registering a shot on target.

“A lot of it’s mental just trying to push there,” Caldwell added. “Like right away within a minute Jermaine won a ball and that kind of got everyone going knowing that we could still make it through this game. Unfortunately we couldn’t hold the lead but keeping it 1-1 was okay.”

New England moves to 5-3-5 overall, but their home unbeaten streak is extended to 17 games with an 11-0-6 record dating back to last year.

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