ORLANDO, Fla. – New England Revolution players and coaches were left equal parts bemused and apoplectic on Wednesday night at Orlando City Stadium, where for the third straight road game the Revs were reduced to 10 men in the early stages following a Video Review.
For the second time in that span it was Xavier Kouassi who was issued the early red card, this time after appearing to win the ball via a clean, strong challenge on Seb Hines.
The decision to send Kouassi off in this instance left the Revs not only frustrated by the effect it had on the proceedings – New England ultimately fell, 6-1, as they pushed numbers forward in a desperate attempt to claim three vital points – but also perplexed as to how to move forward.
“If that’s the standard of what’s going to be a red card in this league, then there’s going to be no players left to play the games, because that’s a normal soccer play,” said Chris Tierney. “It’s debatable whether that’s even a yellow card, or whether that’s even a foul.
“I’m not sure how we go forward telling our guys what kind of tackles they can and can’t make, because some are being called and some aren’t, and it’s really difficult to know.”
Interim head coach Tom Soehn was similarly mystified by the decision, which was the fourth in the past three road games to send a Revolution player off via Video Review, all in the first half.
“When we talked about adding [Video Review] to this league, we talked about clear and obvious decisions that will only influence games,” Soehn said. “I’ve got a bunch of guys in [the locker room] confused at even what a tackle is anymore … It’s bad for the game.”
Exposed by the early red and requiring a win to keep legitimate playoff hopes alive, the Revs remained in an attacking posture even while shorthanded, and ultimately they paid the price as the hosts piled on a trio of late goals to complete the score line.
“It doesn’t really matter to us whether we lose the game 2-1 or we lose the game 6-1; we had to try to go score goals because we need the three points,” Tierney said. “No one wants to give up six goals, but that’s just a result of the situation; we had to go for it and try to get the three points.”
Now the Revs must regroup both mentally and physically ahead of another meeting with Atlanta United FC, and they’ll need to do so on short rest as the expansion side visits Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.
“Everybody’s hurting in there,” said Soehn. “We’ll evaluate where we’re at and get back to work. That’s all you can do.”