The New York Red Bulls clearly came to Gillette Stadium with the intent of disrupting the game by fouling New England Revolution players. This ultimately resulted in a “frustrating” 1-0 loss for the home team.
Saturday’s game was a physical one with 36 total fouls (23 committed by the Red Bulls, 13 by the Revs). The frequent whistles made it difficult to get much going.
“They came in here to disrupt us and foul us as much as they could and, you know, take any kind of rhythm out of the game. And I think they accomplished that,” head coach Bruce Arena said after the game.
Referee Victor Rivas handed out nine yellow cards on the night. Both Frankie Amaya and Adam Buksa were sent to their locker rooms early after receiving second yellows. Buksa’s second came after a tussle with defender Sean Nealis.
Bruce Arena went into the referee’s book for “dissent” just moments after Buksa was sent off. When asked what he said to earn the yellow card, Arena responded, “I didn’t say anything to the ref. Well, probably the fourth official said I was complaining about the sending off, I guess. I don’t remember exactly.”
The game’s only goal was an oddity, as Andrew Farrell’s clearance ricocheted off Matt Polster before settling into the back of the net. Henry Kessler thought it was an unfortunate moment.
“I was just saying I thought that game, at worst, should’ve been 0-0, so to lose 1-0 is just really disappointing,” Kessler explained. “They really disrupted the game. And that is frustrating that it is something we have to deal with.”
Arena believes the referee plays a role in how physical a game gets, saying, “They tell us that consistent fouling would be recognized and punished, but it certainly wasn’t.” Reigning MLS MVP Carles Gil was a regular target for the Red Bulls as he was fouled four times.
While Arena certainly commented on the refereeing, he knows there’s more to the loss.
“Let’s face it, that was a poorly officiated game,” Arena said. “It was a bit of a factor. I’m not saying it determined the outcome.”
The Revs will now return to the training field as they prepare to visit Inter Miami CF on April 9. The Revs are 1-3-1 this season, having just recorded their third straight loss, but they aren’t pushing the panic button yet.
“People playing sports have such great character and are so successful in life because they can deal with the highs and lows,” Arena said. “And that’s all part of what we do every day. So, it’s kind of exciting to move forward and deal with the next game and get the team ready to go.”