The decision to send off Andrew Farrell fell outside of New England's control. The response mustered in the wake of the Revolution's defender landed squarely within it.
And the inability to find the proper footing in the wake of Farrell's controversial dismissal ultimately led to the Revolution's 4-3 demise at B.C. Place on Saturday night.
At the time of Farrell's departure, the Revs enjoyed a two-goal lead courtesy of perhaps their best spell of play this season. The fateful moment in the game – Farrell's decision to lunge toward Kenny Miller, Miller's subsequent and perhaps self-prompted tumble inside the penalty area and the inevitable red card after 23 minutes – concluded the bright start and forced the Revs away from a game plan that yielded those early results.
“Sometimes game plans get disrupted and really, I’m a little disappointed by – after the red card – our reaction,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told reporters after the match. “(In) the next (few) minutes, we gave them another goal. We really wish we had solidified things and played a little better in that time, a little more alert, a little more veteran-like in those few minutes. Unfortunately, we’re a younger team and we got rattled a bit.”
READ: Miller's magic, Farrell red card define wild night at BC Place
Heaps sacrificed Saër Sène after Camilo converted from the spot and threw Darrius Barnes into the mix to restore the back four and stem the Whitecaps' revival. The adjustments did not provide the anticipated benefits as the Revs failed to come to terms with the revised terms of the affair and shipped goals to Miller and Jordan Harvey before halftime.
“Any time someone gets a red card people have to move around,” Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth told reporters after the match. “Darrius (Barnes) came into the game and pieces (were) moving. It’s up to us to slow the game down there and try to get into halftime without conceding and we weren’t able to do that.”
Miller claimed the Whitecaps' fourth with a stunning finish after 68 minutes to blunt the Revs' second-half improvement. A furious finish – including a Dimitry Imbongo goal in the final 10 minutes and a potential equalizer from Lee Nguyen in second-half stoppage time – nearly rescued an unexpected point, but the Revs were instead left to lament how Farrell's red card ultimately turned the match.
“I really like the fight we had,” Heaps said. “I thought we came back. I thought we had chances to tie the game again, and so like I said (before), great opening, disappointing after the red card (with) our reaction, and then excited about our second half.”