FOXBOROUGH — There were plenty of reasons for the Revolution to resign themselves to defeat against the New York Red Bulls Saturday night. Their playoff hopes ended last week and they had fallen behind in the 91st minute.
But the Revolution maintained their resolve and made a spirited finish, Darrius Barnes’s first professional goal tying the score, 1-1, just before the final whistle.
“We kept fighting,’’ Barnes said. “We came in at halftime and felt like we were outplaying them and outworking them all across the park. And when they got that goal we didn’t let it deflate us — we kept pushing and putting balls into the box, and when you put balls in the box anything can happen.’’
Joel Lindpere headed into an open net for the Red Bulls (14-8-8, 50 points), and the visitors’ veteran midfield and back line seemed poised to protect the advantage.
But the Revolution (7-15-8, 29 points) rallied, sending defenders forward as Ryan Guy curled a cross into the penalty area. Barnes timed his jump and headed past Bill Gaudette in the 95th minute.
The result, before a season-high crowd of 24,364, extended the Revolution’s home unbeaten streak against New York to 18 games (13-0-5) since June 29, 2002.
“You’ve got to pick yourselves up,’’ said Revolution coach Jay Heaps, who plans to continue to alter the lineup to project players for next season. “The game of soccer is cruel and we’ve had a pretty heavy dose of it this season. That said, it doesn’t matter – the game forgets quickly. We have to earn our stripes and tonight there was a way of doing that.
“There is so much to fight for. We are in the process of building something and we took a lot of steps forward, obviously we took steps back – we wanted to be fighting for the playoffs now, but we’re not. That doesn’t mean we’re not pushing the best teams in the league. That’s something we pride ourselves on. Real men go in the locker room and find a way. And we’re trying to build that. We’re trying to get our guys to respond.
“We’re down a goal after the 93d minute, they know they have a minute left, and they pull their socks up and get something out of nothing.’’
Bobby Shuttleworth started in place of Matt Reis in the Revolution goal. The Red Bulls started without leading scorers Kenny Cooper (who played in the reserve game late Saturday night) and Thierry Henry (suspended), then lost Rafa Marquez (hamstring) in the first half.
The Revolution controlled the midfield and dominated the first half before Marquez was replaced by Joel Lindpere in the 35th minute.
The Revolution appeared to take the lead in the fourth minute, but Jerry Bengtson’s goal was disallowed for offside. Bengtson appeared to be in an onside position, the flag indicating Diego Fagundez possibly being offside, though not involved directly in the play.
The Red Bulls began counterattacking effectively, with Lindpere finding forwards Tim Cahill and Sebastien Le Toux as the game opened up in the second half. The Red Bulls also attempted to slow down the Revolution with fouls, and five cautions were issued in a 20-minute span of the second half, defender Connor Lade ejected with a second yellow card in the 74th minute.
Juan Toja and Benny Feilhaber entered in the second half, sparking the Revolution midfield. But New York went ahead in the first minute of added time. The sequence was set up as Dax McCarty touched a pass to Wilman Conde, who floated a cross from the left. Shuttleworth retreated but could not control the cross, which landed between defender A.J. Soares, Cahill, and Lindpere. Stephen McCarthy nearly cleared before Lindpere headed into an open net.
But the Revolution tied it as Barnes converted for the first time in 88 games with the team.
“I was just trying to cause havoc in the box,’’ Barnes said. “And it came to a perfect spot and I was able to get in front of the goalkeeper and put the ball in the back of the net.’’