Jay Heaps - New England Revolution - September 13, 2017

It was one of the turning points in a first half that saw the match between Atlanta United FC and the New England Revolution “flipped on its head.”

Following Wednesday night's 7-0 defeat at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Revs manager Jay Heaps stated that the first of two first-half red cards shown to his team was “a little bit debatable and a little bit harsh.”

After calling for a foul by Revs midfielder Xavier Kouassi on Atlanta’s Yamil Asad in the 15th minute, referee Baldomero Toledo used Video Review to watch the replays of the incident. He ultimately determined that Kouassi had committed an act of serious foul play, punishable by a straight red card.

“The VAR I felt like tonight they overstepped what I think they should be doing. I think the penalty kick calls were great. I think the first red card was a reach just to VAR something as opposed to [the] referee saw something and let it go," Heaps told RevolutionSoccer.net. "But look, it is what it is. We’re in a new age, a new era. It’s not pleasant and we have to learn our lesson.

"There have been challenges I’ve seen over the course of the first couple of weeks that were very similar to that one, not VAR’ed and moved on,” Heaps continued. "And this one I felt like, having seen it, is a little bit debatable and a little bit harsh at the time.”

After the red card to Kouassi, Revs center back Antonio Delamea would also see red in the 38th minute and the nine-man Revs would go on to concede four more goals as they lost for the 13th time in 28 matches. New England are currently six points adrift from the sixth and final playoff spot in the East, trailing the New York Red Bulls, who also have a game in hand.

The road doesn't get any easier for the Revolution, who next face Sporting Kansas City this Saturday (8:30 pm ET) at Children's Mercy Park (SKC are undefeated at home this year 8W-0L-5D). Heaps & Co. then face the prospect of hosting league leaders Toronto FC in Week 29.

"We’ve got to just leave this one here and I think the message is recover, dust off our shoulders and pull ourselves up," Heaps said. "That’s the only thing you can do."