FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – I generally shy away from offering my own commentary in this space, choosing instead to keep the front of the site primarily news-driven. It’s cleaner that way. More appropriate.
But the events which unfolded on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena have inspired me to try something new. After one of the most bizarre endings I’ve ever witnessed in professional sports, I simply have to speak my mind. Honestly, if ever there was a time for commentary, it’s now.
You’re probably thinking my primary motivation in this endeavor is rage. Andy Dorman’s red card. Thierry Henry’s reckless shove of Andrew Farrell into the onrushing Matt Reis. The non-call when Dimitry Imbongo was cleaned out inside the box by Luis Robles. The referee’s decision to send Farrell off the field prior to Tim Cahill’s equalizer, despite the fact that he didn’t appear to be bleeding. These incited rage, most definitely.
(To be fair, I must also mention the Jamison Olave handball, which resulted in Lee Nguyen’s equalizing penalty kick. Admittedly, it looks to be a harsh call as it appeared to come off his shoulder. Don’t say it wasn’t noted.)
But my primary motivation is not rage. Far from it.
It’s pride; pride in every single Revolution player who battled for 90-plus minutes, on the road, in front of 25,000 fans in a playoff-like atmosphere, and put themselves in a position to win the game; pride in the no-quit attitude; pride in their ability to hold their heads up and push on after what could’ve been a devastating result.
There wasn’t a single head hanging in the visitors’ locker room on Saturday night. Rather than lick their wounds and rue their misfortune, players spoke of moving on to Montreal with confidence. Head coach Jay Heaps did the same, and it must be said that the fighter’s mentality Heaps embodied as a player is beginning to shine through in this Revolution side. It’s likely no coincidence.
No player personified that battler’s approach at Red Bull Arena more than Andrew Farrell. After having his eye nearly taken out in a violent collision with Reis’ leg, Farrell wanted nothing more than to get back on the field as quickly as possible and help his team close out that game. It’s a shame that chance was taken away from him.
But as a writer/video host, what impressed me most was the rookie’s willingness to entertain the media in the immediate aftermath. With his right eye almost swollen shut and his face no doubt throbbing with pain, Farrell openly and considerately offered his thoughts with the lights of a camera shining into his one good eye. Nearing the end of his first professional season, he’s already a true pro.
So as I walked out of Red Bull Arena last Saturday night and boarded the bus for the four-hour journey back to Foxborough, I felt, above all else, pride. I’m proud to be a part of this group. These guys are easy to support, and I want to win with them. And they can win. I’m convinced of it.
Saturday afternoon can’t get here soon enough.