The New England Revolution welcomed the Montreal Impact to Gillette Stadium on Sunday night hoping to mark the Canadian club's first-ever visit to Foxboro with a win. Instead, they extended a season-worst winless streak to six games - including a three-game losing streak - with a 1-0 home loss thanks to a moment of brilliance from Sanna Nyassi.
"It's the third game in a row we've made a mistake and it's come down and cost us," said head coach Jay Heaps after the match. "[It's] heartbreaking. Disappointing. Not good enough. We're struggling to find the way the way a little bit and it's a really bad loss at home."
Nyassi, who is the twin brother of Revs' winger Sainey Nyassi, capitalized on a Benny Feilhaber turnover and turned a box-to-box sprint into one of the best goals of the MLS season. After nicking the ball off of Feilhaber just outside his own box, the Gambian winger sprinted full steam ahead across the entire pitch, nutmegging A.J. Soares and then dripping a shot past Reis and into the back of the net.
"He just put a great move, I closed him down, I was showing him to the outside to his left foot, and he did this real quick little touch through my legs, and then he just blasted it upper V," said Soares. "Sometimes you just look back and say ‘that was a great goal.'"
Despite a first half where Montreal had the better of play statistically, the match was really one that was dominated by the Revolution both through the midfield and in the attack. New England struck the crossbar twice in the first half through Chris Tierney and Saer Sene, and nearly opened the second half with a goal when Ryan Guy almost headed the ball in over a stranded Troy Perkins.
Unfortunately, the Revs couldn't capitalize on any of their chances, and despite a solid defensive effort, they were undone by one critical mistake. It's a theme that has become all too common in the last month and a half.
"I thought we started the game pretty well and created enough chances to score a goal and we couldn't get that bounce in the moment," said midfielder Clyde Simms. "It seems like when we do make mistakes we're punished."
Officiating took center stage in the 74th minute when a Montreal defender Jeb Brovsky appeared to knock a Ryan Guy cross behind for a corner kick with an outstretched arm. Replays showed definite contact with the hand and by all appearances it was a blown call.
Montreal out-fouled the Revolution ten to six, and though they received three yellow cards for their trouble, players and coaches on the New England bench were left feeling as though the players weren't getting the protection they deserve as Patrice Bernier escaped a second yellow card for a rough challenge on Feilhaber - the same player he'd fouled in the seventh minute to earn his first caution.
"Maybe if Bernier is sent off for his two really bad tackles, you know, maybe that helps the fouling stop," said Soares. "Benny almost had to go off the field twice; that's unacceptable."
For the Revolution, the chance to turn things around doesn't get any easier, as the next two matches will be away to Chicago and Columbus. New England has won just one game away from home and sport a dismal 1-8-2 record when not in the friendlier confines of Foxboro.