FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It’s not every day that a team finds itself short-handed for nearly an hour and a half. But that’s the situation the Revolution faced in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Montreal.
After Matt Reis was red-carded in the fifth minute for fouling Marco Di Vaio inside the box -- which also gave the Impact a penalty -- the Revolution were doomed to an 85-minute uphill climb. A climb that very few teams can truly prepare for.
“You don’t practice them for 90 minutes’ worth of down-a-man (play),” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “But I thought we did well. We actually practiced stuff where you get a red card, give up a goal and you’ve got 30 minutes to get back in the game.”
Although they might have been dealt a tough hand early, the Revolution made the most of their cards rather than folding. After all, there was still plenty of time to dig out an equalizer, and possibly squeeze out a draw.
Not long after, Diego Fagundez found plenty of space going forward and sent a pass right in front of Dimitry Imbongo, who nearly reached it before Jeb Brovsky slid in and sent it away. But the ball fell right back to Fagundez, who promptly buried it to knot the game at 1-1 in the 26th minute.
That relentless attitude, and the ability to put the red card behind them, was something that even elicited praise from Bernier himself.
“I must say, give them credit,” Bernier said. “They kept hustling even though with 10 men they tried to push. They never stopped.”
But before the half came to a close, it became readily apparent that a comeback wasn’t to be, no matter how hard the Revolution battled back.
A second penalty -- this one for a Jose Goncalves foul on Felipe Martins inside the 18 -- gave way to a second strike from the spot by Bernier in the 33rd minute. Then, moments before halftime, Di Vaio figured out a way to beat the backline when he scored a superb goal in the 45+2 minute.
Another Di Vaio strike in the 55th minute could have turned it into a blowout, but the Revolution weren’t about to go quietly into the night. Not at home, and most certainly not with plenty of holes to exploit in the Impact defense.
While Perkins denied him on his first shot on goal, Rowe launched another effort from distance and found the back of the net in the 77th minute to remind Montreal that they weren’t quite finished.
Although Heaps wasn’t terribly pleased with the officiating, he couldn’t help but admire the collective spirit of his young team, who showed the kind of resolve many MLS teams struggle to find after they’re hit with an early red card.
“For us, it was a great effort from our guys and credit our team, but credit Montreal (also),” Heaps said. “Di Vaio finished two chances, and they were brilliant.”