HARRISON, N.J. – A swirling mix of emotions and thoughts have influenced how the New England Revolution have approached their duties over the past two weeks. How could they not?
It isn't easy to grapple with the resulting feelings when a player is diagnosed with leukemia or when a stunning tragedy strikes the Boston Marathon.
And the associated factors present prior to Saturday's match at New York only provided further reminders of the anguish. Revolution defender Kevin Alston sat in the stands behind his teammates to show his strength in the wake of his stunning medical situation and his support for his club. Several pre-game touches – including the unified front struck by New England and New York supporters as they marched into the stadium together – reinforced the gravity of the events that impacted a couple of Revolution players personally and the team as a whole this week.
Somehow, the Revs needed to find a way to cope with those concerns and perform their duties as usual. The early stages of the 4-1 defeat to the Red Bulls on Saturday night suggests they may have found it difficult to do so for at least a portion of the night.
“Maybe it plays in a little bit right at the start,” Revolution defender Chris Tierney told MLSsoccer.com. “It's hard to get settled down a little bit. Obviously, it was an emotional week and then with the pre-game ceremonies and everything. But, after a few minutes, it's just a soccer game again. We needed to be better. Unfortunately, that early goal really hurt us.”
By the time the Revs righted themselves a bit, they needed to chase the game. It proved too much to do as they spurned a handful of decent openings and suffered the effects of pushing forward in the late stages in search of that elusive equalizer.
“I think they did a good job,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “We tried to get that other goal. We had some chances to get it back. We were so stretched. They shredded us in the second half.”
The final score line did not reflect how the match unfolded on the whole, but it did condemn the Revs to a third defeat in six matches. They traveled to New Jersey in search of something more, but they must now find a way to process the effects of the past couple of weeks and shift their focus to Philadelphia's arrival on Saturday.
“At the end of the day, we're looking to move forward and keep getting better,” Tierney said. “There were spells where I thought we did OK tonight. Unfortunately, the result didn't go our way. We'll pick ourselves up and try to get three against Philly. It's a must-win for us at home. We're looking forward to it.”