‘It could’ve been a good game’: Bruce Arena was not happy with a controversial Revolution red card

"We don't need this officiating to motivate us for the next game."

The New England Revolution lost to NYC FC 2-1 on Saturday at Yankee Stadium despite taking an early lead. The complexion of the game was changed in the ninth minute when the video assistant referee (VAR) was used to give Revolution defender Antonio Delamea a red card.

Afterward, New England coach Bruce Arena singled out the incident.

“They use the old VAR, so that probably sealed it,” Arena said.

Delamea was initially given a yellow card by referee Silviu Petrescu for fouling Valentin Castellanos, but was dismissed after the call went to VAR. The replay showed Delamea winning the ball cleanly, but fouling in the follow-up. Petrescu overturned his original call for the harsher punishment.

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“I’m just sorry for the fans who came out today and the players that we weren’t afforded the opportunity to have a good game,” said Arena. “It could’ve been a good game. It really could’ve been.”

Revolution president Brian Bilello thanked the contingent of New England fans (reportedly more than 700) who traveled down for the game, echoing Arena’s complaints.

New England held its 1-0 lead — scored in the second minute by Juan Fernando Caicedo — until Jesús Medina equalized for the home team in the 70th minute. A late penalty conceded by the Revolution allowed Medina to step up and score a stoppage time winner.

“I don’t know if you could say [the game] was taken away,” Arena acknowledged. “Give NYC FC credit. They worked real hard. They worked hard to win the game.”

On his team’s performance, Arena praised goalkeeper Matt Turner’s nine saves, but noted how Delamea being sent off altered the game.

“Another good game,” said Arena of Turner. “I didn’t see the [first] goal clearly, but I thought he had an outstanding game.”

“We conceded some good chances, but we were put behind the eight-ball,” Arena explained. “We were put in a difficult situation with the red card.”

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Turner was direct in his postgame appraisal.

“Yeah, we lost, so it doesn’t really make anything better,” said Turner. “No silver linings. Had the chance to get three [points], had the chance to get a point and we gave it all away.”

The Revolution fell to seventh place in the Eastern Conference, the lowest possible playoff spot. With five games remaining, New England continues its pursuit of a playoff bid next Saturday in Orlando at 7:30 p.m.

Arena, despite his complaints about the VAR red card, still has his eyes on the big picture.

“We don’t need this officiating to motivate us for the next game.”