Revs blow first half lead to Red Bulls, 2-2

Revs blow first half lead to Red Bulls, 2-2
August 21, 2011, 3:49 am
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. New England Revolution forward Milton Caraglio scored his first two MLS goals to stake the home side to a 2-0 halftime lead, but New York Red Bulls forward Dane Richards answered with a pair of strikes in the second half as the sides played to a 2-2 draw on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.

Caraglio the Revolutions first-ever Designated Player struck in the 15th and 37th minutes to open his MLS account and give the Revs (4-11-11, 23 pts.) a precious two-goal lead, only for Richards to convert his fourth and fifth goals of the season in the 53rd and 87th minutes to make sure the Red Bulls (6-6-14, 32 pts.) claimed a share of the spoils.

It was the second straight game in which the Revolution conceded a late equalizer, as the Revs were pegged back by Bobby Boswells 90th-minute goal in a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo this past Wednesday night.

Both teams had players sent off for two bookable offenses in the second half, as New Englands Kenny Mansally was ejected in the 55th minute and New Yorks Teemu Tainio was issued his marching orders in the 69th minute.

Rajko Lekic returned to the Revolutions starting lineup after missing three games with a fractured toe, forming a strike partnership with Caraglio for the first time. At the other end of the field, third-year goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth made his fourth start of the season, filling in for the suspended Matt Reis.

The Revs began the match on the front foot and came inches from opening the scoring in the fifth minute. Mansallys looping cross from the left wing found Caraglio free at the back post, where the 22-year-old angled a header into the ground past New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul. Although the effort beat Coundoul and was directed on target, it bounced over the crossbar.

It took Caraglio just 10 more minutes to make the breakthrough, however, as the Argentine striker put the home side ahead 1-0 in the 15th minute. After fighting through a trio of Red Bulls defenders, Caraglio broke in alone on goal and saw his first effort denied by Coundoul before corralling his own rebound, eluding another defender and finishing inside the left post.

Caraglio doubled his haul in the 37th minute, finishing off Mansallys set-piece service to give the Revs a 2-0 lead. From a free kick in the right channel, Mansally delivered an in-swinging cross into the box where Caraglio escaped his marker and sent a glancing header past the outstretched right arm of Coundoul.

It appeared as if the Red Bulls would have a chance to pull one back before the halftime break when Dax McCarty went down under the challenge of Shuttleworth inside the box, but rather than point to the spot, referee Juan Guzman issued McCarty a yellow card for simulation.

Although the Revs took their 2-0 lead into the break, the Red Bulls cut the deficit to 2-1 shortly after the restart in the 53rd minute. Tim Reams long pass over the top of the Revolutions backline sent Richards on a clear breakaway, and the Jamaican speedster made no mistake with an emphatic finish past Shuttleworth.

New Yorks comeback effort received a further boost in the 55th minute when Mansally was issued his second yellow card for an errant elbow and was subsequently ejected, reducing the Revolution to 10 men. That advantage lasted only 14 minutes, however, as Tainio was sent off after receiving his second caution for a tackle from behind on Shalrie Joseph in the 69th minute.

The Revs almost extended their lead just one minute later when Benny Feilhabers blistering 20-yard drive flashed just wide of the upper left corner, but it was ultimately the Red Bulls who took advantage of the extra space in the 87th minute. Joel Lindpere worked free down the left wing and drilled a sharp cross into the box for Richards, who converted from close range to pull the visitors level and provide the final 2-2 score line.

The Revs will close out their August slate next weekend when they travel to Pennsylvania for a showdown with the Philadelphia Union on Sunday. Aug. 28. Kickoff from PPL Park is set for 7 p.m.