FOXBORO -- This one stings, for sure.
Saturday night was the physical battle that everyone expected, when the Houston Dynamo came into Gillette Stadium to battle for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
It was the official beginning to New England's "second half" of the regular season, and the Revs entered the match only two points behind the Dynamo for that final playoff berth.
But Houston escaped with a 2-1 win, taking a five point lead over New England in the standings.
"Yeah, it was disappointing," said Revolution coach Jay Heaps after the loss. "And I think we were all disappointed in that we gave up a goal at home, and then we followed it up, we got back into it, and then we gave up another one. They were deep-range shots. And we did everything right on certain points, at that point. But overall, we didn't play well enough when we had the chance."
The Revs knew just how big this game was, and even after a 49th minute deep strike from Adam Moffat that gave the Dynamo a 1-0 lead, New England was able to quickly respond with a Saer Sene goal six minutes later to tie it at 1-1.
At that point, it was still a game the Revolution could win. Or at the very least, it was a game in which they probably should have taken a point out of.
But in the 79th minute, that stinging feeling that Revs players described afterwards came into effect.
Moffat took another deep shot from the middle of the field, only this time, it rang the right post. Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth dove to his left, and as he ht the ground, the ball quickly hit the post and then hit off Shuttleworth's back, causing the ball to roll back and into the net, giving the Dynamo a 2-1 lead.
That proved to be the game-winner, and the difference between one point and no point for the Revolution in such a big game.
"I mean, both of them are good strikes," said Shuttleworth after the loss. "[Moffat] does that really well, especially the first one with his left foot. So credit to him. The second one, he smashes it, and I'm just landing from trying to stretch out to tip it around the post, and it just hits my back and goes right in.
"I don't think you're going to see two goals like that very often, right?" added Shuttleworth. "I think that first one's probably going to most likely be up for goal of the year at the end of the season. And the second one's coming off the post and hitting me in the back. That's never happened to me before. So I think it's unlucky. If those were the chances that we're giving up, there's something to be said for that. But obviously we still lost the game, so it's not good enough from everyone, myself included."
Revolution players said there was nothing Shuttleworth could do on either of the goals. But the second one was more frustrating. It broke a 1-1 tie. And it went in off Shuttleworth.
"Obviously we talked all week that this was a huge game for us," said Shuttleworth. "We were trying to jump them on the table, so, I mean, this one stings for sure. And we've got to get onto the next one. We have a game Wednesday and Saturday, so this is a huge trip for us. We've got to try to go on the road and get points.
"We've got to let it sting for the rest of the night, and then push onwards."
The Revs now have three straight road games, and don't return to Gillette Stadium until August 4. As much as Saturday's loss to Houston hurts, New England realizes there is still plenty of time left to overcome any deficit with the Dynamo in the standings.
"We've got to put this one behind us," said Chris Tierney. "It was a big game. We didn't get the result we wanted, but if we go on the road here and get a couple results, we're right back in the mix. We're just past the halfway point of our season here, and we still don't feel that we're playing at full go. So if we start to play the way we know we're capable of and get on a roll, I'm confident that we'll be in a good position, come season's end."
FOXBORO -- This one stings, for sure.