While Adam Buksa’s missed equalizer from the penalty spot was a big talking point in the New England Revolution's 1-0 loss to Toronto FC, Revs head coach Bruce Arena said there was a clear turning point in Wednesday night's match at Gillette Stadium.
And for Arena, it was a clear missed call on the winning Toronto goal.
“Big play in the game is the non-call on [Andrew] Farrell ... That's a foul and we have no one to blame but ourselves not converting a penalty kick,” Arena said in his post-match press conference. “Us not walking off the field tonight with at least a point is a crime.”
On the play in question, Ayo Akinola collided with Farrell as the two raced for a ball played into space by Toronto playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo. Farrell fell to the turf, allowing Akinola an easy tap-in.
Watch: Akinola's goal vs. Revs
In his halftime television interview, Arena said he was very disappointed in the officiating and called the Akinola contact “a clear foul.”
But Buksa, in his first start in almost a month, skied his effort over the crossbar.
“He did OK. If he would have converted the penalty, he would have done real well today,” Arena said about Buksa, the Revs' Designated Player who has three goals in 16 matches this year. “He played hard, he had a couple of chances. It was an improved performance from the last time we saw him in a start. So that part was encouraging.”
Arena also explained why Buksa was chosen to take the spot kick.
“Yesterday we talked about this on the field and we had some guys take it. [Cristian] Penilla was going to take the penalty if he was on the field and he was just being substituted in for Lee, actually. And Adam was the other choice and they both took penalties yesterday,” Arena said. “Adam knew he was going to take the penalty if we had one and Penilla wasn't on the field and Penilla was just coming and we decided it was a little unusual that literally he's substituted on the field to take a penalty so we let Adam take and obviously he wasn't successful.”
Arena also bristled at the idea that a tight defeat to a Toronto FC side that took over the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race would serve as a measuring stick for his side.
“We’re not measuring ourselves on Toronto,” Arena said. "We’re measuring ourselves on ourselves. We’re getting better as a team and we need to continue to grow.”