It was a typically chippy match in the nation's capital between the New England Revolution and D.C. United, but the Revs were unable to build on their last two matches as they fell 2-0 to the home side. Neither team found much joy in the box, with the defining tally being an own goal by Jose Goncalves and the killing goal scored by Chris Rolfe.
There were some interesting moments throughout the match, but the major storylines were all established in the final ten minutes of the match as referee Jorge Gonzalez and his crew made a quick sequence of very strange calls that resulted in an undeserved yellow card for Charlie Davies and a sending-off for head coach Jay Heaps. Rolfe put the nail in the coffin in extra time.
The physicality started early when Lewis Neal went in studs-up on Andrew Farrell. It was an offense worthy of a red card, but Neal only saw yellow, perhaps because it was just the third minute. United's first chance came in the 12th minute when Davy Arnaud seized on a heavy touch from Goncalves but fired high and wide.
New England nearly had their first goal in the 22nd minute when Daigo Kobayashi sold an excellent dummy, allowing Andrew Farrell to find Diego Fagundez streaking into the area on the right. Fagundez fired and Andrew Dykstra parried, but the rebound fell to Saer Sene at the far post. The Frenchman failed to get his foot around it though and put it wide.
Goncalves' own-goal came in the 43rd minute on what appeared to be a routine play. Cristian Fernandez crossed from the byline, and Goncalves mis-hit a routine clearance right past Bobby Shuttleworth from about six yards.
The second half saw the Revs get more chances, but they still failed to test Dykstra in goal. Bunbury had three chances between minute 50 and minute 59, but not a single one went on target. Fagundez had an acrobatic bicycle attempt in the 73rd minute off of a Tierney cross that squirted just past the far post with Dykstra flailing helplessly at it.
Shuttleworth's best moment came in the 80th minute when Fabian Espindola played in Eddie Johnson right through the middle. With his defense asleep and wrongfully calling for offside, Shuttleworth was quick off his line and smothered Johnson's shot to keep his team in it.
Steve Neumann made his debut, replacing Kobayashi late in the match. He favored simple touches that tended to facilitate possession and attacking play, and had a shot blocked in the first minute of stoppage time that eventually led to a failed-but-ambitious volley attempt by Andy Dorman.
A bizarre sequence began in the 88th minute when substitute Charlie Davies was taken down at the top of the box in the attacking third. Davies clearly made a lot of it and was given a yellow card for simulation; however, replays showed clear contact on the part of the D.C. defender that dropped Davies. Apparently still protesting the call - or time-wasting by United - Heaps was then sent to the stands from the touchline for reasons unknown.
D.C. finished the match off in the final minute of stoppage time when Espindola picked his head up and played a picture-perfect long ball to Chris Rolfe in the box. The former Chicago man, signed just days ago by United, had only to finish. Shuttleworth got to it, but somehow let it wiggle through him and trickle into the net.
The Revs will be back in action on Saturday April 12th, back home, against the Houston Dynamo.
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