By Kevin Koczwara
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — It took some late heroics from Justin Mapp and the Philadelphia Union to beat a shorthanded New England Revolution, 2-1, at Gillette Stadium.
The Union scored two goals in the last 10 minutes to take the lead and the win away from a Revolution side that played 50 plus minutes with 10 men after Cory Gibbs was sent off in the 40th minute. The loss is the third in a row for the Revolution and the team’s first since the Chicago Fire beat the Revs on June 26.
The Revs (6-12-3, 21 pts.)opened the scoring in the 31st minute when a Marko Perovic corner found Shalrie Joseph roaming at the back post unmarked. Joseph’s attempt on net was blocked, but the Revolution captain was able to push a pass to Ilija Stolica a few feet from goal. The Serbian forward quickly turned and sent a shot across the goal to the back post, beating Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
Sainey Nyassi and the Revolution kept the pressure up just after the goal. Nyassi struck a surprise left footed stinger from outside the box, striking the post. The Gambian winger would find another chance go begging just a few touches later as he headed a cross from Chris Tierney just over the bar. The goal would have put the Union in a deep hole early and put the game to rest, but it wasn’t meant to be for Nyassi or the Revolution.
Philadelphia (5-11-5, 20 pts.) would get a lifeline when New England defender Cory Gibbs received a red card in the 40th minute after committing a high, hard tackle on Philadelphia midfielder Eduardo Coudet. The Revolution were dominating possession and the flow of the game until Gibbs was sent off.
“Up until Cory (Gibbs) is sent off, we were pretty much sitting comfortable. One-nil up, Bob (Shuttleworth) hasn’t had a save to make, and then the referee’s decision totally changes the game,” said Revolution manager Steve Nicol.
It would take some changes from Philadelphia’s manager, Peter Nowak, to open up the Revs defense even after the Gibbs sending off.
Second half substitute Justin Mapp had his hand in both of the Union’s two scores in the second half. The Revolution defense was unable to close him down just outside the 18-yard-box, allowing the former Chicago Fire player to send in a perfect cross to Jack McInery inside the Revolution box unmarked. The 18-year-old McInery finished his chance with ease in the 82nd minute to level the score.
New England would see their fair share of chances in the second half despite being down a man, but they would be unable to find the back of the Union net.
In stoppage time the Revs would see their hard work end in defeat as Nyassi was unable to beat Seitz with the ball on the doorstep, and Philly would make the Revs pay as they countered with blistering pace. Seitz sent the ball into the path of streaking rookie Danny Mwango who slid the ball into Sebastian Le Toux’s path. The Frenchmen’s shot was blocked by a diving Chris Tierney. Tierney’s effort was valiant to the least, but it would be wasted because Philadelphia recovered the ball and rest their attack. Mapp would again be the danger man around the edge of the box as he was able to find space and rip a shot past Shuttleworth.
“I take full responsibility, I muffed the clearance,” said Tierney about the goal. “I don’t know if we didn’t track runners, or what the problem was, but I probably should have had the ball off the clearance. We were stretched… but that’s soccer.”
With the win Philadelphia move within one point of the Revolution in the Eastern Conference standings and the expansion team edges its way back into the playoff hunt; something that seemed impossible just a few weeks ago.
The Revolution have a short turnaround period to lament on the tough loss to Philly as they have the SuperLiga finals on Wednesday against Monarcas Morelia and then get back to league play on Saturday night when they host the Seattle Sounders.
Kevin Koczwara is a contributing writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.