TUCSON, Ariz. – The image of Chris Tierney limping out of the New England Revolution locker room on crutches told much of the story from Wednesday night’s preseason meeting with Seattle Sounders FC.
Rough and occasionally reckless play was common throughout the Desert Diamond Cup opener – won by Seattle, 2-0 – with six yellow cards and two red cards dished out by referee Juan Guzman.
Ironically no card was shown on the play which injured Tierney late in the first half. Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso arrived late to a challenge as Tierney delivered a cross and the Revolution veteran immediately crumpled to the ground. A scuffle ensued following the tackle and both Alonso and Clyde Simms were subbed off in the aftermath.
“You want it to be emotional, you want it to be game-like, but unfortunately, the play where Chris got hurt, it’s just not needed in any game, never mind preseason,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “It’s just a bad play.”
Tierney needed crutches to support his injured ankle – “It’s bad. It’s not a good situation he’s in,” said Heaps – while there was no immediate update on Kevin Alston, who left the game just 12 minutes after entering.
While Heaps would’ve preferred his side stay healthy, he was satisfied with the way the Revolution responded when the game turned physical, especially after a concerted effort to add a bit of toughness this past offseason.
“I think guys have to respond to that a little bit; stick your chest out and say, ‘Hey, you can’t push us around and do that kind of stuff,’” Heaps said. “I think we did that. We didn’t finish [the first] half real well in terms of giving up a goal after that, but up to that point I thought we had some good play.”
The Revs will rue not finishing their chances – they outshot the Sounders by a margin of 15-4 – and will be disappointed to concede a goal just before halftime, but the match provided occasional bright spots and helped more clearly define areas of improvement as the season opener draws near.
“I think in patches we played well,” said midfielder Andy Dorman. “We played out of the back well. Obviously we (made) a couple of mistakes on the goals. There’s plenty to work on the next couple of days on the training pitch, but there’s plenty of positives, as well, to take from the performance.”