Burpo breaks leg in victory
Revolution slip past Red Bulls
FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution were visibly upset by a severe broken leg sustained by goalkeeper Preston Burpo in a brutal collision in the first half of a 3-2 win over the New York Red Bulls last night at Gillette Stadium. And New York coach Hans Backe was disconcerted by two second-half ejections that left the Red Bulls with nine players for the final 15 minutes.
Burpo’s lower leg was broken in a collision with Dane Richards. The severity of the injury was immediately apparent, eliciting strong reactions from players on both teams. Burpo, 37, joined the team in an offseason trade with Colorado, replacing injured starter Matt Reis, and started all 11 games for the Revolution (3-6-2, 11 points) this season.
“You could see they were upset, players on both sides,’’ Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. “They’ve done well, they’ve gathered themselves as quickly as they could, but they’re still upset — obviously, everybody is. But, unfortunately, there’s still a game to be played after that. So, we just spoke at halftime that, you know, ‘Let’s get out and make sure we’re doing this for Preston.’ And that’s what they did.’’
The Revolution were sparked by captain Shalrie Joseph, playing his first home game since April 10. He provided the passes leading to the team’s first and last goals. Zack Schilawski finished Joseph’s chipped cross for the deciding score in the 80th minute, his fifth goal of the season, as the Revolution ended a seven-game winless streak.
Joseph also provided leadership, guiding younger teammates through the Burpo incident.
“I told them to just keep their head up and focus on the game,’’ Joseph said. “We can’t do anything about it, it happened, and we’re going to go out there and do this one for Preston and ourselves. We’ve got a lot of people here depending on us and just hold our head up and play soccer.
“That’s an injury a lot of people can’t deal with, and we’ve got a young group on this team — and for us to step up like that and keep battling and keep playing shows this team has heart.’’
Marko Perovic scored his second goal since joining the Revolution in April, running onto a Joseph chip and slamming a right-foot half volley past Bouna Coundoul in the eighth minute. That broke a 237-minute Revolution scoreless streak.
But New York (5-5-0, 15 points) twice rallied to tie the score, first capitalizing on a Kevin Alston turnover in the center circle, Seth Stammler sending a left-foot shot past Burpo in the 20th minute.
The Revolution regained the advantage. Joseph was in the middle of a buildup that concluded with a Perovic touch to Seth Sinovic on the left wing, his cross was headed in by Tim Ream for an own goal in the 24th minute.
But Burpo was under pressure after that, saving a point-blank blast (28th minute) by Richards, then a 25-yarder (32d) by Roy Miller. Burpo then advanced to the penalty arc as Richards took a touch on a Joel Lindpere through ball, completing a clearance and absorbing a kick from Richards. As Richards sprawled forward, Burpo went down and immediately called for medical assistance, his teammates also waving in help, several of them holding their heads. While Burpo was wheeled off on a stretcher five minutes after the collision, Sainey Nyassi was in tears and being consoled by Nicol.
After referee Andrew Chapin added six minutes of injury time to the half, replacement Bobby Shuttleworth deflected a Sinisa Ubiparipovic shot for a corner.
The Red Bulls tied the score in the fourth minute of the second half, Juan Pablo Angel slipping between defenders to finish a Danleigh Borman cross (49th).
Carlos Mendes was cautioned for the second time in a six-minute period spanning the halves for fouls against Perovic, and Chapin showed him the red card (55th). Miller, a Costa Rican midfielder, was red-carded (75th), though he appeared to be trying to minimize contact with Zak Boggs.
Backe said he agreed with Mendes’s ejection, but not Miller’s.
“I would say it’s an absolute disgrace. It’s ridiculous, it’s a joke,’’ said Backe. “When the referee decides games like this, probably the MLS should do an investigation, because it’s not even close to hitting [Boggs]. You can see the level of the referee, the level went like this [up and down]. It’s a joke. If this had been in Italy there would be an investigation if the referee was bought.’’