BY MIKE NASTRI
Two red cards doomed the Red Bulls as the Revolution pulled out a victory behind Zack Schilawski's winner in the 80th minute.
Red cards to Carlos Mendes and Roy Miller put NYRB two men down and Shalrie Joseph took advantage playing a perfect chip to the streaking rookie who headed it home for the Revs first win since April, 10th.
"I timed a run there on the offside line at the 18," said Schilawski. "Shalrie [Joseph] got the ball there and laid one up and I just tried to find a gap there and make a run. Shalrie weighed that perfectly and slipped it right between the goalkeeper and defender so I could get onto it and just flipped it into the goal."
The Revs opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Shalrie Joseph chipped a perfect ball over the top of the defense to a cutting Marko Perovic who took down the ball and nailed a shot past Bouna Coundoul for the one goal lead.
The Red Bulls would battle back, taking firm control of play after a rough opening ten minutes. In the 20th minute, Seth Stammler received a short ball from Roy Miller on the left corner of the box. It looked like Stammler intended to cross the ball, but instead ripped a shot past a diving Preston Burpo into the left side netting.
It seemed like the momentum had firmly shifted in the Red bulls favor, but four minutes later a costly mistake put the Red Bulls behind again.
Seth Sinovic played a cross into the Red Bulls box. Tim Ream tried to clear the cross, but instead headed the ball into his own net. The own goal pushed the Revs up 2-1.
"I went up and felt I was in a great position," said Ream. "These balls are ridiculous the way they move. It dipped on me and I had to turtle to even get a head on it. It just glanced off and as soon as it glanced off my head, I knew it went in."
The Red Bulls were not deterred by the miscue and continued to push forward. In the 28th minute Dane Richards sliced and diced his way into the six yard box and was one-on-one with Burpo. The Southern New Hampshire grad came up big, stoning Richards on what easily could have been the equalizer.
Five minutes later Burpo came up big again making a sprawling save on a 35 yard laser from Roy Miller.
But, tragedy would strike the Revs' hero. Dane Richards cut through the defense on a through ball from Joel Lindpere. Burpo came out aggressive on the top of his box. Both players went in hard for the 50-50 ball and Richards inadvertently stepped on Burpo's right leg. In a disturbing sight, Burpo's leg seemingly snapped instantly and the keeper laid motionless on the ground.
Six minutes later Burpo was carted off the field to a standing ovation from the 11,376 fans at Gillette Stadium and all of the players. Burpo was transported to Mass General Hospital where it was reported he suffered a broken tibia and fibula.
"There was no intent there, I was just trying to get the ball," said Richards. "I tried to get out of his way, but before I could that happened."
"After I was really down, but my teammates said you have to forget about it."
"We have to try to win this game. It was hard to get out of my mind because it was the first I ever seen that or been apart of something like that. I was really down about it. I was really sorry."
"You could see how upset the players on both side were, particularly Sainey [Nyassi] and [Joseph] Niouky," said head coach Steve Nicol. "So they did well and gathered themselves as well as they could. Unfortunately. there was a game to be played after that, so we just went out and made sure we were doing this for Preston."
The horrific injury set the tone for rest of the first half as both teams were noticeably bothered. It's something that one never hopes to see, but the game had to go on. The teams went into halftime to collect themselves with the Revs up 2-1, despite NYRB dominating play.
"This was a joke the first half," said head coach Hans Backe. "It was absolutely ridiculous. They had one chance and scored twice. It was one way traffic for forty five minutes. We should've been four up."
This was a game that both teams needed badly and the Red Bulls showed that with a strong performance to start the second half.
Juan Pablo Angel equalized just three minutes into the half off a diving header. Danleigh Borman played a beautiful ball to Angel who confidently nodded it past backup keeper Bob Shuttleworth.
"It was a good cross and I was in the right place at the right time," said Angel.
With the game tied, the Red Bulls continued to press until a second yellow card was given to a Red Bulls defender. Carlos Mendes, who received an earlier caution for late challenge on Perovic, got his second caution and ejection from another late foul on Perovic in the 56th minute.
The Revs took advantage of the man advantage and upped the pressure on NYRB. The Red Bulls defended well and even had some chances to go ahead thanks to the speedy play of Dane Richards.
Then a questionable call from referee Andrew Chapin completely changed the match in the 75th minute. Roy Miller went up for a head ball and on the way down his fist apparently grazed the face of Zak Boggs. Chapin immediately gave a red card to Roy Miller and the Red Bulls were down two men.
"It was an absolute disgrace," said Backe. "It's ridiculous. It's a joke. When the referee decides games like this, the MLS should do an investigation because it's a total disgrace. He's [Roy Miller] not even close to hitting him."
"I never have that kind of intention to hit players," said Roy Miller. "The referee said I hear a sound like somebody was hit, but I didn't see the play. I have to respect [the call], but I don't agree at all."
"He [the referee] said he [Miller] hit him in the face, I heard it," said defender Mike Petke. "That's what he said to me unless I misunderstood him. And I don't understand what that means, 'I heard it'. And by the time I'm saying what, he was already running away."
The inevitable game winner came just five minutes later again thanks to that beautiful chip pass from Shalrie Joseph.
It was a badly needed three points for the Revolution. The team hadn't won in their last seven games and hadn't scored since May 8th coming into the match.
"We're just happy to get three points," said midfielder Chris Tierney. "The big thing tonight is Preston going down. We're so happy we were able to win it for him. He's been a warrior for us all year. It's just a tragic injury for him, but we're happy to the 'W' and get some momentum going into Seattle."
The Red Bulls played a decent game where they created a ton of chances. Some of those chances in the first half needed to be finished, a problem that has plagued the team for the past month. In the end, NYRB played well enough for at least a tie on the road, but a two man advantage for the Revs would be their undoing.
"We had this game tied at the very least," said Petke. "Down two men didn't make it easy for us. But, it was two different teams out there. They just capitalized on their opportunities. It's a tough one to swallow."