New England 0 – Real Salt Lake 2
In another game dominated by questionable refereeing, the New England Revolution were shown up by Real Salt Lake’s second string in a 0-2 defeat at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
Head Coach Steve Nicol made three changes from Wednesday night’s line up, inserting Kenny Mansally on the right wing and Marko Perovic on the left. Franco Coria was the third line up, coming in for AJ Soares who was issued a questionable red card in the match against Vancouver.
Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis made more wholesale changes from his midweek CONCACAF Champions League squad, resting starters Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman, Nat Borchers, Fabian Espindola, Andy Williams and Javier Morales.
Despite the lack of star power, the Real Salt Lake side did more than enough to throw the Revolution off their stride. AS the first half progressed, the Revs were hard pressed to mount any serious attack, much less maintain any possession.
The first real chance from either side came when Bobby Shuttleworth was tested by Salt Lake’s Will Johnson in the 21st minute, but the Revs keeper was equal to the task, jumping high to his left to stop the ball from going into the upper right corner. New England came back minutes later with a scathing shot from Kenny Mansally who took a chance from distance, but his effort sailed over the cross bar.
It was the visitors that would draw first blood however, following an excellent chance by MLS veteran, Salt Lake Midfielder Ned Grabavoy, whose curling shot beat Shuttleworth but deflected off the post before it was cleared out by the Revs’ defense for a Salt Lake corner. Warner’s corner from the left side was inswinger, and Salt Lake centerback Chris Schuler beat everyone to it and headed it into the back of the net.
The goal seemed to energize the Revolution squad as they began to assert themselves on the field. But, despite dominating the run of play and commanding most of the possession, the home side was unable to find an equalizer before the half ran out. Pat Phelan did well to connect with an excellent cross from Kevin Alston in the 42nd minute, but his header could not find the frame. Marko Perovic won a free kick in the 44th minute, however his effort could not find the corner. Finally in stoppage time Zack Schilawski missed with his header from Stephen McCarthy’s cross.
The second half saw two substitutions from the Revs as they shifted to a true 4-4-2, moving Perovic up top and taking off Schilawski and McCarthy and introducing Sainey Nyassi on the right hand side and Ilija Stolica at forward. It would be Salt Lake however to capitalize again, this time on a break away from Paulo Araujo, Jr., who was led into open space behind the Revs’ back line by Collen Warner. Paulo Jr , one on one with Shuttleworth slotted the ball home and took the 2-0 lead.
New England again steeled themselves and pushed forward into the attack, first winning a corner kick in the 49th minute, followed by a right footed blast from Perovic. Reserve Salt Lake keeper Kyle Reynish was well positioned to make the save, and denied the Serbian striker’s bid for his first goal of the season.
The Revs were forced to use their final substitution in the 53rd minute, as Ryan Cochrane left the field with an injury, and Darrius Barnes came on, making only his second appearance of the season.
Minutes later, Salt Lake mustered another attack in the 58th minute, again through Paulo, Jr. This time Shuttleworth was equal to the task, again diving to his left to make the save. Almost immediately New England countered with another attack from Perovic, whose effort moved left.
In the 60th minute, the tension on the field began to escalate as Kevin Alston collided with Will Johnston, who caromed hard off the defender and into the field side advertising boards. Alston, who picked up a yellow card for the foul, had words with Arturo Alvarez, who somehow escaped disciplinary action after shoving Alston in front of Referee Jason Anno.
Perhaps sensing more yellow cards were coming, Kreis subbed off Jean Alexandre, and put in his normal starting midfielder Kyle Beckerman in the 62 minute. Beckerman almost immediately had an impact on the match, as he instigated an argument with Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph. Joseph, who pointed his finger into Beckerman’s face more than once, was shown a straight red card in the 70th minute, and the game deteriorated from there.
Despite a handful of chances from both sides, the story on the pitch once again became about the officiating. Referee Jason Anno, having already sent off Joseph, tacked on another red card to his midfield partner Pat Phelan. He then issued a second yellow to Will Johnson, resulting in three ejections in one game.
This was the second game in less than a week for the Revs that had three ejections.
With a 10 man Salt Lake team facing 9 men from New England, the remainder of play slightly favored the visitors, as it had for most of the match. Coach Nicol said of his team’s performance “we weren’t good…first half we probably found their men more times than we found our own. If you do that, I don’t care who you play against, You’re going to be in trouble. You have to give them credit, they had great shape, and kept solid.”
Due to the red cards, the Revs will be without the services of Joseph and Phelan when they head to take on Houston on Sunday, April 17th. However they hope to have the services of new signing, danish striker Rajko Lekic, provided his paperwork is complete, as well as veteran French midfielder Ousmane Dabo, who is expected to return to full training next week.
RSL – Chris Schuler (Collen Warner) 27
RSL – Paulo Jr. (Collen Warner) 47
New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth, Didier Domi, Franco Coria, Ryan Cochrane (Darrius Barnes 53), Kevin Alston, Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph ©, Stephen McCarthy (Ilija Stolica 46), Kenny Mansally, Zack Schilawski (Sainey Nyassi 46), Marko Perovic
Substitutes Not Used: Tim Murray, Chris Tierney, Kheli Dube, Zak Boggs
STATS*: Shots: 9; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 4; Corner Kicks: 2; Offside: 0; Fouls Committed: 19
Real Salt Lake: Kyle Reynish, Tony Beltran, Rauwshan McKenzie, Chris Schuler, Robbie Russell, Ned Grabavoy, Collen Warner (Luis Gil 79), Jean Alexandre (Kyle Beckerman 62), Will Johnson ©, Arturo Alvarez, Paulo Araujo
Substitutes Not Used: Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers, Fabian Espindola, Javier Morales, Andy Williams
STATS*: Shots: 14; Shots on Goal: 6; Saves: 3; Corner Kicks: 4; Offside: 1; Fouls Committed: 16
* Note that all statistics are unofficial
NE – Franco Coria (caution) 34
RSL – Jean Alexandre (caution) 37
NE – Ilija Stolica (caution) 51
NE – Kevin Alston (caution) 60
NE – Shalrie Joseph (ejection) 70
RSL – Chris Schuler (caution) 74
RSL – Will Johnson (caution) 84
NE – Pat Phelan (ejection) 85
NE – Didier Domi (caution) 86
RSL – Will Johnson (caution) 87
RSL – Will Johnson (second caution/ejection) 87
Referee: Jasen Anno
Assistant Referees: Bill Ditmar, Eric Proctor
Fourth Official: Niko Bratsis
Weather: Clear, 50 degrees
New England: 1-1-3, 6 pts.
Real Salt Lake: 3-0-0, 9 pts.