Red Bulls gore Revolution late again in U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals
Even after four consecutive losses in MLS play, and their season slowly slipping away, the Revolution still had a trophy to play for, and a chance to gain some much-needed momentum going into the final stretch of the season.
But in a match they controlled for the most part, the Revs’ recent misfortune in MLS play carried over into the U.S. Open Cup.
A late red card changed the complexion of the match, and one of the best scorers in MLS made the Revs pay, as Bradley Wright-Phillips’ 87th-minute strike propelled the New York Red Bulls to a 1-0 victory and a trip to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals last night at Harvard’s Jordan Field.
“Obviously a game that we should have won, and going down a man was just unacceptable,” Revs coach Jay Heaps said. “We have to be more disciplined.”
Both teams had been knocking on the door when the game turned in the 75th minute. That’s when Revs defender Benjamin Angoua fouled Wright-Phillips as the Red Bulls were pushing forward. Shortly after, head referee Jorge Gonzalez issued Angoua a red card.
It was initially unclear what prompted the red. Heaps didn’t see what happened, nor did Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch, but midfielder Lee Nguyen received an explanation.
“He said (Angoua) put his hands on (Wright-Phillips’) face, and that’s why he sent him off,” Nguyen said. “That kind of stuff, you have to be a little more calm. The emotions are high and whether that was a foul or not, you have to control yourself in those situations, because that kind of hurt us in the end.”
While Heaps didn’t see it, he said Gonzalez claimed there was no doubt what Angoua did deserved the sending off.
“The referee said it was 100 percent,” Heaps said. “He said it was 1,000, 100 percent red card. I haven’t seen it, so hopefully he’s 100, 1,000 percent like he said.”
With a man advantage, and after several other chances, the Red Bulls finally broke through when Wright-Phillips got behind the Revs back line and fired one past keeper Brad Knighton.
“We know Bradley Wright-Phillips is Bradley Wright-Phillips,” Heaps said of the New York striker. “He came right in front of our back line and he came from wide, and I thought we should have done a better job on him there.”
The unfortunate ending spoiled an encouraging effort from the Revs, who had plenty of opportunities but couldn’t cash in.
Their best chance might have come in the 59th minute. Kei Kamara flicked on a long pass and found Teal Bunbury in stride through the defense. The forward held off Red Bulls defender Aaron Long as he dribbled into the 18-yard box, but his low shot missed just left to the far post.
The Revs had dominated in stretches, but couldn’t put one final move together. Their defense came to play too, with the back line holding its own and Knighton (five saves) stopping some tough shots, but Angoua’s booking ruined all else.
“I thought we were really good to start the game,” Heaps said. “I thought 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.”
It was the Revs’ second straight loss to the Red Bulls after their 3-2 defeat last week at Gillette Stadium, which was also decided by a last-minute goal. But despite his team’s disappointing elimination, Heaps came away from the competition — a year after making the final — encouraged.
“We came out of it the right way. I think there’s positives in that,” Heaps said. “Our margins for error are slim. Getting a red card was just something we can’t do when the game’s tight and we have to know better. It’s a senior guy, he’s gotta know better.”