CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The New England Revolution’s winless skid carried into the US Open Cup quarterfinals on Thursday night as they lost 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls at Harvard University’s Jordan Field in front of 2,331.
The Red Bulls beat the Revolution last Saturday night with a 3-2, come from behind victory at Gillette Stadium in a regular season match as well, but this was their first win in New England in an elimination game in a 22-year span.
A wicked wind and wet weather dampened the atmosphere throughout the match, which featured both Revolution and Red Bulls fans trying to out-chant one another from opposite sides of the field. And while New York out-shot the Revolution 14-7, the play was actually tight and physical. But New York was doubtless aided greatly when New England defender Benjamin Angoua was red carded for applying his hands to the face of referee Jorge Gonzalez in the 75th minute.
Twelve minutes later, Bradley Wright-Phillips knocked in the game’s only goal from in close off a feed from Felipe.
“He said [Benji Angoua] put hands on his face, and that’s why he sent him off,” Nguyen said of the referee. “That kind of stuff, you have to be a little more calm—emotions are high—whether that was a foul or not you’ve got to control yourself in those situations because that hurt us in the end.”
Clear cut chances weren’t at a premium for either team, though Wright-Phillips forced a save out of Brad Knighton, who started ahead of Cody Cropper in net, at the near post in the 41st minute. New England came out invigorated in the second half as Teal Bunbury curled an effort wide of the far post in the 59th minute, then Kei Kamara glanced a free header off a cross by Nguyen directly at Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara.
Seconds after Kamara’s near-goal, Angoua was ejected. Sacha Kljestan banked the ensuing freekick off the crossbar, and then Wright-Phillips went on to score.
It’s misses like Kamara’s and Bunbury’s that have kept the Revolution from earning better results this season, which Nguyen alluded to post-game.
“We’ve been doing great to creating chances, but we just haven’t been finishing and that’s hurting us right now,” Nguyen said. “We’re putting a lot of pressure on the defense and hoping they bail us out. It’s tough, when you go a man down, to do that. When you don’t take those advantages early on it comes back to haunt you.”
Meanwhile, Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch, who achieved the rare task of stumping the Revolution twice in a 10-day span on New England soil, credited his team’s efforts as visiting New York fans chanted behind him. New York have advanced to US Open Cup quarterfinals for the second time in their history (first being 2003).
“We asked the group to out-compete, out-run, and out-win the match and that’s what they did and they also played some darn good football too,” Marsch said. “We’re really excited to be in a semifinal.
“I’ll say this too: we’ve had to go the hard way. We had to play our rivals [NYCFC], our rivals Philadelphia, and then we had to come to New England twice in a week and now we’ve earned this semifinal.”
The Revolution, now winless in five across all competitions, will look to rebound when they host the Los Angeles Galaxy at Gillette Stadium on July 22.
“Obviously a game we should have won, going down a man was just unacceptable and we have to be more disciplined,” said Revolution coach Jay Heaps.
“I thought we were really good to start the game, we were really good to start the second half. I thought we had some good quality chances that, if we put away, it’s a different game.
“We came about it the right way, there’s positives in that. It’s definitely two positive performances in a row, not the best results. Our margins of error are slim, like getting a red card was just something we can’t do when the game’s tight and we’ve got to know better. He’s a senior guy, and he’s got to know better.”