Reis on red card: 'It's harsh ...it changes the game'

Reis on red card: 'It's harsh ...it changes the game'
September 8, 2013, 11:45 pm
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FOXBORO -- It's something they practice. Just not for 90 minutes.

The New England Revolution were forced to play mostly the entire game against the Montreal Impact with only 10 players, thanks to a Matt Reis red-card ejection, just 4:15 into Sunday night's match at Gillette Stadium.

Revs coach Jay Heaps has his team play through different game situations on the practice field, as well as study those same situations on film.

But whenever they play out red-card situations, it's never for 90 minutes.

On Sunday night, New England played shorthanded after Reis came out to make a diving stop on Marco Di Vaio. Reis got tanged up with Di Vaio, and as a result, the referee gave the goalkeeper a red card and awarded Montreal with a penalty kick, which they scored on to take an early 1-0 lead.

"The ball got played through," said Reis as he went over the play after the Revs' 4-2 loss. "He tried to hit it the first time and it got caught up in between his legs. At that point, I made a play for the ball. I touched him, but I didn't touch him very hard. And he went down. Looking at the replay, it looks like he kicked the ball out of bounds. So, for me, if he wants to give the penalty, fine. But I completely disagree with the red card.

"It's the letter of the law, but it's also for interpretation."

Heaps believes the most disappointing aspect of it all was the ref's demeanor towards New England.

But even after that, the Revs went on to tie the score at 1. Because being down a man after a red-card ejection is something they know how to handle.

"We practice these situations," said Heaps. "But you don't practice them for 90 minutes. I thought we did well. We actually practice stuff where, you get a red card, give up a goal, and you've got 30 minutes to get back into the game. So we did, for the first half. And then, obviously it's tough to battle the whole time. But for us, it was a great effort from our guys."

Montreal scored their four goals on two penalty kicks, and two one-on-one situations in the box.

In the grand scheme of things, Heaps believes his team handled the short-handed situation well.

"You just work on who takes what, and where you can press them, and how you can break through," said Heaps. "Just about when there's going to be the numbers advantage. If we sort out, if one guy can take two, then everyone else is man [coverage]. And I think that we did a good job of that. Unfortunately when it was 1-v-1, the guy beat us."

Still, playing almost 90 minutes with one less player takes its physical and mental toll. So the early red card was certainly a difference-maker.

"It's harsh," said Reis. "It changes the game, four minutes, five minutes into the game. It's not that clear cut. If it's a ball that he touches around me and I come through and I clean him out, fine. But it's such a quick bang-bang play, and if you want to reward a penalty for that, then fine."