Even in soccer, a sport that has far too many ties, it is rare to see a team celebrate such a routine occurrence. The circumstances surrounding New England’s (5-3-5) 1-1 draw with D.C. United (6-2-4) on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium were quite unique since the Revolution picked up not one but two red cards in the second half. Defender Chris Tierney and midfielder Lee Nguyen got hit just six minutes apart. It meant that the Revs were playing two men down for the final 32-plus minutes. They understandably coughed up a 1-0 lead, but the fact that they could still earn a point against the top team in not only the Eastern Conference, but MLS, shows New England’s superb will to win. It was a great sign in their biggest match of the season thus far against a club that they figure to be battling with all season long.
“I think that they only had one clear chance to score and they scored, that’s a credit to D.C.,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “You practice being down to 10 men but I’ve got to be honest with you, we don’t practice being down to nine men, but we just had a 35-minute session (including stoppage time) so we’re alright.”
New England suffered a rare one-sided defeat, a 4-2 loss at Sporting KC (4-2-6) last Wednesday. All MLS teams have a few two-game weeks each season and the Revs saw their nine-game unbeaten streak end in a bizarre match. The Revolution actually led 1-0 on Juan Agudelo’s goal in the 11th minute but KC scored three times after that to take a commanding 3-1 halftime advantage. Heaps had given backup goalkeeper Brad Knighton his first start of the year while regular starters like Tierney, Teal Bunbury and Charlie Davies only appeared as substitutes. Star defender Andrew Farrell got the night off.
New England is unbeaten in its last 15 home matches (10-0-5) dating back to July 30, 2014.
The Revolution have another big showdown at Gillette this Sunday (7 p.m., FS1) against the LA Galaxy (4-4-5). It is the rematch of the 2014 MLS Cup, which LA won 2-1, in overtime.