FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Femi Hollinger-Jenzen's 80th-minute goal proved the game-winner as the New England Revolution defeated the Sounders 2-1 on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Femi Hollinger-Jenzen’s 80th-minute goal proved the game-winner as the New England Revolution defeated the Sounders 2-1 on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
These are my first impressions:
– That penalty-kick call would have been harsh even if the ball had glanced off Erik Friberg’s hand.
And even with the benefit of slow-motion replay, the play was so bang-bang that it was hard to definitively say what Zach Scott’s clearance deflected off of on its way to Friberg’s midriff.
But referee Fotis Bazakos pointed to the spot with little hesitation. And Lee Nguyen’s 24th-minute goal from the spot completely flipped the momentum of the game.
Seattle had controlled most of the early stages of the game, headlined by Aaron Kovar’s first professional goal seven minutes. Jordan Morris was running the shaky Revolution defense ragged, with both Kovar and Herculez Gomez pushing up confidently in support.
From the moment Bazakos blew his whistle, New England took control.
Seattle could have shown more composure, and its response to adversity left much to be desired. There is little question, however, that the highly questionably penalty kick changed the game.
– Bad bounces are symptomatic of deeper issues.
This was yet another occasion where Seattle could reasonably throw puzzled hands at the sky and blame bad luck. The penalty kick, for one, but also even the winner, when Zach Scott actually did an admirable job closing down Revs playmaker Lee Nguyen — only for the deflection to fall at Hollinger-Jenzen’s feet atop the box.
But Saturday night’s script has become so familiar that it can no longer be dismissed as any sort of fluke. Seattle is 4-7-1 and in ninth place in the Western Conference for a reason.
Soccer — to borrow from Sounders coach Sigi Schmid’s favorite phrase — is a results business. And the Sounders have not been good enough.
– Seattle cannot afford lose Brad Evans for an extended period of time.
An evening of ill-tidings got even worse when Evans took Kei Kamara’s shot to the back of the head at close range late in the first half.
The captain walked off the field slowly grabbing the crown of his head, heading straight to the locker room and giving Tony Alfaro his rookie debut as a substitute.
The official word from the club diagnosed Evans with a “head injury,” and I’ll further clarify with Schmid’s comments afterward.
Seattle was already down a starting center back, with Chad Marshall missing his second straight match with a right hamstring strain. But though Marshall travelled with the team and could return Wednesday at D.C., losing Evans would do more than just test the depth chart.
As captain, Evans is Seattle’s spiritual leader and an important veteran voice. His steadying presence is especially important while the team copes with Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez’s Copa America call-ups.