The New England Revolution played their fourth match in twelve days on Wednesday night, making a welcome return home after a long road trip. It wasn't the happy homecoming they'd hoped for, however, as fatigue clearly played a part in a 1-0 loss to New York City FC.
Bobby Shuttleworth was a rock in the first half, making three saves. None were better than in the 17th minute, when a poor touch from Teal Bunbury in his own box saw Matarrita with a free and clear path to a shot. He attempted to curl for the far post, but Shuttleworth was down to his left quickly and parried with a strong hand.
The Revs were not without their chances. Kelyn Rowe had a fairly clear penalty shout turned down in the 8th minute by center ref Dave Gantar. In the 30th minute, Chris Tierney played a blistering cross along the six that Bunbury somehow managed to head straight into the ground and then over the bar. And in the 35th minute, Bunbury and Je-Vaughn Watson combined down the right to give Watson a chance for a cut-back to Kei Kamara, but the DP striker fired over the bar off-balance.
That does not mean the match was even at that time. The home side went into the break at a 32%-68% possession disadvantage. That stat does not tell a whole story, but those splits in a first half at home simply do not look good.
New York City FC was the team able to make the breakthrough, though, after starting the second half brightly. Kei Kamara went down under a challenge from Andoni Iraola that he claimed was a foul, but the referee didn't see it that way and Tommy McNamara got free in the box on the right side. He wasn't closed down at the byline, and was able to punch a ball right to the thigh of Frank Lampard in the six, who just directed it on frame in the 58th minute.
New England started to take the game back after a double-substitution in the 64th minute brought on Femi Hollinger-Janzen and Daigo Kobayashi for Bunbury and Scott Caldwell. Femi, in particular, began tormenting the tiring New York defense with his relentless movement and physicality. However, at this point, City was trying to hold onto the lead, and were clearly happy to concede a great deal of possession to the home side trailing the game.
The match ended in a flurry of Revolution pressure, including several free kicks and corner kicks. In particular, the Revs had one free kick in a great spot where you would have expected Tierney or perhaps Lee Nguyen to have a go at goal, but instead Nguyen tried to dink it over the wall and dumped it right in Josh Saunders' arms.
That wouldn't be the end of the fireworks, though. In the final minute or so of stoppage time, a clearance caught the Revs with too many numbers forward, and substitute Khiry Shelton ran down the ball in the attacking third. Shuttleworth came out to get it, but he was late, and was sent off for denying a goal-scoring opportunity as the very last defender.
The Revs will face Columbus on Saturday at home.