HARRISBURG, Pa. – Few words could describe the improbable manner in which New England squandered a 3-0 lead with nine minutes to play in extra time in Tuesday's stunning Lamar Hunt US Open Cup defeat at the third-division Harrisburg City Islanders.
The feelings and the sentiments about the way the Revs fell on penalty kicks in the wake of a 3-3 draw after extra time were easier to muster.
“We go up 3-0 in the first overtime and then to give up three in the second is just disappointing and unacceptable on our part,” Revolution defender Darrius Barnes told MLSsoccer.com after the match.
There were mitigating circumstances, certainly. It isn't easy to bide your time through a 30-minute weather delay prior to kickoff, play on a soggy field with 10 men for 84 minutes or see out the match when the home side throws wave after wave of attacks forward in the waning minutes of extra time.
In the end, those explanations don't excuse how the final minutes unfolded.
WATCH: Revs blow 3-goal lead in extra time
This particular problem has cropped up for the Revolution on several occasions this season, though not to this dramatic extreme. At this stage of the campaign, the Revs must figure out how to manage the game and secure a result.
“We said to them – and we know from the history of this team – that [Harrisburg] are never going to give up, they can score goals and they're going to get numbers in the box,” Revolution assistant coach David Vaudreuil said.
“Unfortunately, it was a pretty drastic last 12 minutes or so to give up three goals. Penalty kicks are penalty kicks, but managing the game and making good decisions is something that has cost us in the past. We have to continue to find the people who have the right mentality to keep the ball and kill that game off. At 3-0, there is no excuse.”
The mix of starters and reserves included in the squad for this trip endured a long bus ride back to Massachusetts after the match to ponder the outcome. They can't afford to linger on the result with a date against Chicago looming this weekend, but the Revs will take this crushing defeat and the late collapse as yet another lesson to learn as they continue onwards in the domestic campaign.
“Obviously, it's going to be tough for a couple of days,” Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth said. “It's not going to really set in. We have to go back to work tomorrow and try to get three points on Saturday.”