The New England Revolution were battered, buffeted, and beaten around the pitch at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night as Sporting Kansas City took a 1-0 result out of Foxboro. Teal Bunbury scored the match's lone goal by capitalizing on a defensive error.
Truth be told, neither team looked particularly dangerous on the night, but Revs head coach Jay Heaps definitely felt the story of the match was in the fouls: Kansas City committed 21 to New England's 12, but both teams had two yellow cards.
"We're one of the most fouled teams in the league, played against the team that fouls the most, and the referee allowed it," he said. "It's a little bizarre. For me, it's bizarre that I come in here and both teams had two yellow cards and it was 21-12 in fouls. I'm going to go look at the tape, but I find it extremely bizarre."
Sporting's goal was an example of the Revolution getting punished for making mistakes. A series of defensive errors, beginning with a poor throw-in, moving to a bad header from Clyde Simms that Bunbury intercepts, and ending with a stranded Matt Reis, led to the ball ending up in the back of the net.
"That was definitely my fault," said Simms, who wore the captain's armband in the aftermath of the midweek trade of captain Shalrie Joseph to Chivas. "On a normal grass field, I feel like the ball doesn't bounce that high. I tried to hit it back to [Stephen McCarthy] and I couldn't get enough on it. Teal did a good job of reading it and getting in first, and they definitely capitalized."
Statistically, the Revolution didn't give much ground and generally comported themselves as the home side. Especially in the second half, New England appeared to dominate most phases of play, holding 59.7% of the possession and completing 81% of their passes, both an improvement over their first half performances.
What chances they could create, however, were not finished. Dimitry Imbongo, making his first MLS start, was particularly guilty of this, wasting two glorious chances. The young striker failed to even get the ball on frame, despite the fact that neither chance saw him under any kind of defensive pressure.
Bottom line, the Revolution looked a little flat, and needed a physical presence on the pitch to help fight the dirty work that Kansas City was putting in. Unfortunately, that physical presence now plays in LA. The Revs' players were unwilling to blame any sort of emotional hangover from the events of the week, however.
"It has been an emotional week," said left-back Chris Tierney. "We all know what we have to do. We're pros, and we move on game to game."
The Revolution will be back in action next Sunday, August 12th at Gillette Stadium. The match will be part of a groundbreaking doubleheader, as 17-1 boxer Danny "Irish" O'Connor will fight Eddie Soto at Gillette after the Revs match against the Montreal Impact. It will mark the first time in the stadium's history that it has hosted a boxing match. Tickets are available through the TiqIq portal on The Bent Musket.