FOXBOROUGH, Mass.—Every few moments, New England Revolution coach Jay Heaps paused his train of thought and watched the replays on a screen deep in the recesses of Gillette Stadium.
Heaps pointed out the first potential penalty decision, reviewed the second one and screened a potential winner from Lee Nguyen ruled out in the dying embers of the game. And then he tried to process how this promising afternoon eventually spiraled into frustration instead.
“I’m frustrated, disappointed, disheartened,” Heaps said after the 1-1 draw with Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon. “It’s just disappointing. I really thought we fought hard. We tried to fight.”
Most of the scrutiny stemmed from two potential penalty decisions waved away during the second half. The first one – a challenge from Drew Moor on Teal Bunbury – exacted the most pain after Toronto FC countered quickly to equalize, while the second potential spot kick – Michael Bradley and Damien Perquis came together to tackle Charlie Davies as he sliced into the penalty area – compounded the misery.
“For me, it’s two clear, clear-cut penalties,” said Revolution defender Chris Tierney. “It’s just disappointing. There isn’t much more you can say about it. They just weren’t called. You look back and see that they were clear pens. It’s a game we should have won. It’s a game we deserved to win. And we didn’t.”
Those sentiments left the Revs to stew and prompted Heaps to console his players and try to place his timely review in perspective.
“That’s the hardest part of this job when I left that locker room and saw how crushed our guys are,” Heaps said. “We put a lot into it. All week long, we talk about our game plan, going out and performing, and being in positions to make plays. When they do that and they’re there and someone else decides it, not the other team, it’s really hard to explain to them because they put so much into it.”