CHESTER, Pa. — Bounces and refereeing decisions have not been going the Revolution’s way. And that trend continued Sunday, the Revolution falling, 3-0, to the Philadelphia Union, despite goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth making two penalty-kick saves.
“This game’s all about taking your chances and I want to credit Philly, I thought they did a really good job, they took their chances,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “I just felt like every week we’re talking about something the referee does and it’s getting a little exhausting.”
The Revolution played most of the match a man down, as Je-Vaughn Watson was red-carded by Nima Saghafi, making his MLS debut, in the 37th minute. But the Revolution seemed to hone in on their game after that, controlling possession for most of the second half, but failing to capitalize.
“The red card was right in front of us, I don’t think there was much in the challenge, [but] I didn’t fault the referee for that,” Heaps said.
“I fault the referee for the two penalty kicks, quite frankly,’’ Heaps said. “The one right in front of us, the breeze was blowing harder than [Ilsinho] got touched. The one in the second half was a textbook, you just don’t do it.’’
“What frustrates us, we’ve been on the wrong side of calls starting last year in the playoffs. We’ve been told Lee Nguyen, first week, should have been a penalty kick; we were told last week, [D.C. United defender] Sean Franklin should have been a red card, it wasn’t. We were told this week it was going to be a fair playing field and it wasn’t.”
Philadelphia (2-1-0) capitalized on attacks through Brazilian left back Fabinho for a 2-0 halftime lead.
In the 18th minute, the Union regained possession with high-pressing defending, Fabinho crossing from the left side of the penalty area past a diving Andrew Farrell. C.J. Sapong controlled with his back to goal, then left-footed a shot that deflected off Jose Gonçalves for a 1-0 lead.
The Revolution (0-1-2) retaliated, Lee Nguyen’s drive punched away by Andre Blake in the 22d minute.
In the 33d minute, Fabinho released Warren Creavalle, who went to the end line on the left, then rolled the ball back to Sapong for another shot that slightly deflected off Gonçalves and a two-goal edge.
Nguyen, who joins the US national team Monday in preparation for World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala March 25 and 29, hit the crossbar in a 0-0 tie with D.C. United last week. This time, Nguyen’s 36th-minute free kick went past a diving Blake, caroming off the upper part of the left post, hitting the lower right post, then rolling to Blake on the ground at the left post.
Two minutes later, Watson was ejected for a tackle on Roland Alberg.
In the 45th minute, Farrell bumped down Ilsinho just inside the penalty area on a corner kick, Saghafi awarding the penalty kick. Shuttleworth made the stop, diving right to block Ilsinho’s penalty.
“We did have momentum, quite frankly,” Heaps said of the Revolution’s play after falling behind. “I think our chances have to be cleaner. I thought we were in in the second half a couple times. We didn’t take advantage.”
Shuttleworth stopped Sebastien LeToux’s penalty in the 79th minute, following a clash between Gonçalves and Sapong. This was the fifth two-penalty kick save performance in MLS regular-season history and the second time for a Revolution goalie. (Matt Reis made two PK saves in a 2004 playoff game.)
“I thought we entered the game right, and we had chances,” Gonçalves said. “But those mistakes, it was difficult after that, because they had the lead, 2-0, and then the red card, so we had to change the game plan.
“Absolutely not, we’re not discouraged. Upset, yes. Because we had a game plan and once you concede a goal or two the game is different.”
The Revolution threatened, boosted by substitutes Zach Herivaux and Femi Hollinger-Janzen, making their MLS debuts, and Juan Agudelo, whose shot in the 89th minute was saved.
LeToux finished into an open net in the first minute of injury time.
“It’ll get in, soon,” Nguyen said. “It’s a long season. We know it’s not how you start, but at same time, this is where we need to figure out where we need to improve. It’s better to figure it out now than later. A little bit unlucky, but at the same time, we keep it tight and those chances will eventually go in.”