By Michel Pierre-Louis
The New England Revolution earned their first win of the 2016 season, defeatimg the New York Red Bulls 1-0 in a game full of controversial calls – and non calls – from none other than Mark Geiger (see Mexico vs Panama Gold Cup 2015, Jermaine Jones in Revolution’s playoffs loss last season, etc.)
The Revs started the game on a high note, when in the third minute Juan Agudelo had his “Goal of the year” attempt from just past midfield, tip to the crossbar by Red Bulls’ keeper Robles. New York eventually settled into the game and managed to disrupt anything the Revs tried to get going for the remainder of the half. The Red Bulls’ game plan worked to perfection, evidenced by several lost balls from usually accurate Nguyen, returning from national team duties.
New England started the second half very similar to the first, creating a handful of chances, Bunbury header (52′) and Nguyen shot (53′); both attempts were saved by Robles. Shortly thereafter, in the 55th minute, the so far relatively “absent” Mark Geiger would once again become the focal point of a match he referees. Red Bulls defender Lawrence went down with what appear to be a significant knee injury (albeit without contact), however the referee allowed play to continue. Laying on the field, Lawrence kept a wide open Bunbury onside who crossed it across the goal for Fagundez to tap it into an empty net. Understandably the entire Red Bulls team was enraged, keeper Robles would get a yellow card for dissent. Lawrence would eventually left the team on a stretcher.
Less than six minutes later, referee Mark Geiger would once again become the focal point of the match when he issued a straight red card to Felipe for a challenge on Kelyn Rowe, a challenge that arguably did not merit more than a yellow card at worst.
Down to 10 men, and cetainly feeling that the referee was against them, evidenced by shouting towards Geiger after seemingly every call, the Red Bulls left Gillette Stadium with their third loss of the season. They will be at home against Sporting Kansas next Saturday, and the Revolution remain home, hosting Toronto FC.