New England Soccer Today

Suspect Stalemate

The New England Revolution surrendered two leads and was largely outplayed despite holding a man advantage for most of the match as they drew 3-3 with Real Salt Lake. The Revs inability to take advantage of the fantastic position handed to them was overshadowed only by the controversial calls of referee Yader Reyes.

With Real Salt Lake (7-3-6, 27 points) heavily favored going into the match at Rio Tinto Stadium, Reyes assured nothing would  go according to the script with a contentious call in favor of the Revolution (3-8-7, 16 points) in just the third minute. The play in issue started when goalkeeper Matt Reis played Benny Feilhaber behind the defense with a long goal kick that bounced well past midfield.

Feilhaber dribbled into the box and seemingly had the ball fairly knocked away by Nat Borchers, but Reyes immediately whistled for a penalty kick and issued a red card to Borchers. Rajko Lekic stepped up to take the penalty, sending goalkeeper Nick Rimando the wrong way and easily slotting it inside the post to give the Revs a 1-0 lead.

The Revs would double their advantage off another set piece in the 16th minute. Shalrie Joseph earned a free kick about 35 yards from goal and Chris Tierney powered a low shot under a poorly formed wall that just beat Rimando inside the near post, giving the Revs two goals in a game for the first time since April 23rd.

But it was from there that things would begin to unravel. Much like in last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Seattle, the Revs began to struggle mightily to maintain possession and Salt Lake began to gain more and more confidence going forward until Will Johnson got the home side back within a goal in the 24th minute.

After earning a free kick just outside the box, Andy Williams would beat the wall with a shot, but saw his effort denied by the post. The rebound, however, fell inside the six yard box where several Real players, including Johnson, were all alone, allowing the Canadian midfielder to tap it into the empty net.

Salt Lake would go on to equalize the match in the 56th minute through a controversial penalty kick of their own. An RSL cross from the left flank grazed Kevin Alston’s elbow and Meyers immediately pointed to the spot. Alvaro Saborio would take the penalty, placing it just inside the post while Reis was leaning the other way.

Just seven minutes later the Revs would reclaim the lead through Joseph when the Revs captain got behind the defense to get on the end of a long free kick from Feilhaber. Joseph’s header hit off the post and went in, leaving Rimando with no chance.

But the back-and-forth match wouldn’t end there. Reyes would have his say in the game again just four minutes later, issuing Ryan Cochrane his second yellow card of the game for a tackle from behind on Andy Williams and subsequently ejecting the veteran center back. Reis would deny Johnson on the ensuing free kick and the Saborio was stopped by the crossbar on the rebound, but Salt Lake wasn’t done yet.

Substitute Fabian Espindola finally equalized for Real in the 83rd minute after Saborio turned on his defender and played a pass through the backline. Espindola outpaced Pat Phelan and slotted it around Reis to make it 3-3.

The Revs used a largely unchanged line-up from the team that fell 2-1 to the Seattle Sounders last week. Chris Tierney, returning from injury, was inserted into the lineup for Ryan Guy in head coach Steve Nicol’s lone change to the starting XI.

After gaining the early edge, Phelan should’ve added to the lead for New England in the 10th minute after Darrius Barnes got forward down the left flank and found some room to dribble in the box. Barnes slotted it back to Phelan in acres of space, but the midfielder mishit his shot and saw it easily blocked by Salt Lake.

Salt Lake clawed one back before halftime, but could have gone into the break level if not for a big save by Reis in the 40th minute. Jamison Olave rose above his defender to head a Johnson corner kick on frame, but Reis was quick off his line to grab hold of the effort and avoid giving up a rebound.

With the clock past 90 minutes, Williams nearly found a stoppage time winner for Salt Lake after a corner kick fell to him at the near post. Williams blasted a shot on target that Reis managed to block with a diving effort.

The Revs next return to action on Wednesday, March 13th in a friendly match with English Premier League Champions Manchester United at Gillette Stadium.


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