There will be no Cinderella run, no fairy tale ending to the 2015 season for the New England Revolution. It's over, we lost, and D.C. United will have the pleasure of facing the Red Bulls this weekend.
New England opened the match brightly and deservedly lead after 15 minutes. Juan Agudelo produced a moment of sublime individual magic, reaching back on a dangerous Kevin Alston cross and going fully-lateral to blast home a far-post bicycle kick.
The Revs continued to create chances after that but could not put them away. Kelyn Rowe forced two quick saves from Bill Hamid, and Jermaine Jones hit the far post with a left-footed drive.
D.C. was not idle, either, and at the end of the half, they capitalized on their chances where the Revs did not. Fabian Espindola abused Andrew Farrell on the left and forced the defender to foul him in a dangerous spot. The ensuing free kick was headed home by Chris Pontius, who also beat Farrell in the air for the goal.
United stayed in the driver's seat for most of the second half, and it almost paid off in the 74th minute. Scott Caldwell was called for a handball in the box, resulting in a penalty, but Chris Rolfe hit the base of the post, giving the Revs new life. It was clear that the Revs felt the call was soft, a sentiment that would be important later.
The life would be short-lived. Nick Deleon displayed good hold-up play at the corner of the box and slipped in Espindola with a clever backheel. The Argentine found the byline and cut back, and Chris Tierney lost sight of Rolfe, who slotted home to give the home side the lead.
The fireworks didn't end there. In stoppage time, Sean Franklin appeared to handle a ball from Jermaine Jones in the box. The captain was right there to see it, and when it was not called, he sprinted to the middle of the pitch to confront referee Marc Geiger. Geiger wasn't having it, and an apoplectic Jones, clearly seeing his season ending before his eyes, grabbed at the official and earned a red card. In all likelihood he earned a suspension of several games next year, too.
This one hurts, but there are a lot of reasons why it's probably justified. When you derive all of your success from streaky play and riding the hot hand, you can very easily see things go against you when it runs cold. In the end, the Revs needed to finish their chances, and they didn't, something they struggled with a lot in the month leading up to the playoffs.