Steve Ralston and the Revs lost to the Crew Saturday. (CHRIS ADUAMA/aduama.com)
"In the first half, if not for most of the game, we were just dumb," said Revolution coach Steve Nicol. "If you look at how they played and how we played particularly first half, we tried to make passes in the middle of our own half and they just squeezed us. And that's ok. We know there are times when you have to play the game ugly. But today, there wasn't a need for playing pretty passes and getting through people, because we did that and we tried that and it didn't work but we weren't smart enough to change it."
Frankie Hejduk received a yellow card in just the 6th minute of the game for a poorly timed slide tackle on Kenny Mansally at midfield.
Taylor Twellman had the Revs first real chance of the match in the 14th minute when Mauricio Castro got the ball on the left flank from Mansally. Castro sent in a cross with his right foot towards the six-yard box, where Twellman beat his marker and redirect the ball towards the far post. Goalkeeper Will Hesmer had stepped forward and managed to keep the shot out.
The Crew had their first good chance of the half in the 23rd minute after Alejandro Moreno beat Jay Heaps down the right flank. Moreno sent a cross in towards the penalty spot, where an onrushing Robbie Rogers beat his marker, but could not direct his shot on frame.
The Crew took the lead in the 35th minute off a corner kick. Moreno nearly put the Crew ahead with a run from midfield into the box, but Reis just managed to tip his short from the top of the box wide for a corner. On the ensuing corner kick Chad Marshall got wide open on a Robbie Rogers corner kick and headed it past Reis to make it 1-0.
"They played like the best team in MLS," said Revs midfielder Shalrie Joseph. "We weren't good enough tonight. We tried, we put out an effort, but at the end of the day it was just not good enough."
The Revs had a great chance in the 53rd minute after Shalrie Joseph played Mansally through on goal with a perfectly weighted pass. Mansally rounded the keeper, but Hejduk managed to outpace him to the ball and see it over the endline before Mansally could get off a shot.
Nicol opted to switch things up in the 60th minute, going to a 3-5-2 formation with midfielder Sainey Nyassi subbing in for center back Gabriel Badilla. Forward Kheli Dube also made his return from injury, coming on for Mansally.
The Crew went down a man in the 65th when Hejduk kicked the ball out of Reis' hands for his second yellow card of the game and subsequent ejection. Hejduk had nearly doubled the Crew's lead seconds before, when he sent in a hard shot from the top of the box off a Robbie Rogers cross. Jay Heaps slid in to block the shot and Reis ran out and caught the ball before Hejduk ran back and kicked it away.
The Revs pushed forward through the rest of the match and the four minutes of stoppage time, but the final pass was lacking throughout and the team never managed to truly threaten Hesmer.
"They kind of sat in the box and were strong in clearing the ball out [after losing Hejduk]," said Revs midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. "I don't know if they really neutralized us, we controlled the game from then on. It's 1-0 at that point, so it doesn't matter. It's another example of us not coming out strong enough in the first half and letting an opportunity slip."
In the dying minutes, Hesmer was taken down in what the ref ruled was a fair collision while challenging the ball. Hesmer received a yellow card for arguing the play and Crew Coach Sigi Schmid was ejected for his protests.