The New England Revolution's grueling eight-day, three-game campaign closed on a sour note tonight as the Revs fell 2-1 against their hosts Real Salt Lake. The match itself was as exciting as any soccer fan could hope for. Unfortunately, RSL was able to take advantage of several of the Revolution's reoccurring downfalls, including a lack of finish in front of the net, and secure all three points.
Jay Heaps opted for a 4-5-1 formation going into the match, with Blake Brettschnieder playing as the lone forward. Other changes to the starting XI were Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen on the wings and John Lozano partnering with A.J. Soares on the back-line.
Brettschnieder opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a true beauty of a shot which tucked neatly into the upper far corner of Nick Rimando's net. But Real Salt Lake answered just eleven minutes later by way of an Alvaro Saborio header, which kept the sides even going into the half.
In the 55th minute RSL was able to capitalize on the Revolution's flawed and erratic set-piece defending as Saborio again headed home a goal; a sequence of events that practically mirrored that which doomed the Revs against FC Dallas earlier this season.
Then things got interesting. In the 59th minute Will Johnson was shown a red card for a dangerous looking challenge on Clyde Simms, however the Revolution were never able to turn the man advantage into an equalizing goal. The Revolution threw everything they had at RSL, moving to a three-man midfield and pulling in Fernando Cardenas, Saer Sene, and Diego Fagundez. The Revolution found themselves with a handful of good chances and good sequences, but a few absolutely breathtaking saves from Nick Rimando kept the Revolution off the score sheet in the second half.
Numbers weren't enough for the Revs, and soon they became even as Fernando Cardenas was the next player seeing red in the 81st minute, which was met by many scratching heads and a raving mad Jay Heaps on the touchline. Cardenas appeared to have been stepped on by Jamison Olave, however the ref saw it differently and sent Cardenas to the showers.
When it was all said and done, Real Salt Lake showed the resolve and fortitude that they needed to keep a hungry Revolution team at bay. The Revs now return home to Foxboro and begin their preparations for their next match against the Vancouver Whitecaps next Saturday, May 12th.