“It was a ridiculous red card,” Vieira said. “I see it again at halftime, I see it again after the game and I still don’t understand the decision of the referees. He tried his best to have a good game, and I think his performance wasn’t the best part of the game. Today, it was against us. The sending off changed the feel of the game.”
Vieira went on to praise the New England Revolution, which dealt City a 2-1 defeat at Gillette Stadium, but questioned referee Nima Saghafi’s decision. It came after Harrison went studs up into a challenge with Teal Bunbury, resulting in the 20-year-old’s first sending off of his career.
While he was on the bench for the first half, forward Khiry Shelton, who scored NYCFC’s sole goal deep into stoppage time, also thought the red card was harsh.
“We’re not always going to agree with the decision, but from my perspective it wasn’t a red,” Shelton said. “It was a yellow and a warning. If you look at the video, he pulled out of it at the last second and it’s tough. We have to move on from it and look forward."
Down to 10 men and in search of the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, New York didn’t set back in a defensive shell. Rather, Shelton and David Villa, who’s sitting on 20 goals for the year, pressed the Revs. That wasn’t enough, though, to negate a two-goal showing from Diego Fagundez, whose strikes on either side of halftime secured a club-record 12th win at home for the Revs.
In balance of those two efforts, Vieira said he liked his team responded but it was always going to be an uphill battle.
“It was really difficult for us to go higher and put more pressure on them, because they are really good on the ball and well organized," Vieira said. "Sometimes you have to accept the opposition can play better. It was really difficult 11-vs.-11, so 10-vs.-11 was even more difficult for us.”
Still, New York City will head into its final game of the regular season, a home game vs. Columbus Crew SC, without Harrison, a starting winger who has chipped in 10 goals and six assists this season.
New York will also have a chance to clinch the No. 2 seed, and that chance wasn’t lost on Sean Johnson after his eight-save performance against New England.
“It is what it is and we still have our destiny in our hands,” Johnson said. “We win, we’re second place and that’s how we can approach this last game.”