Revolution season ended with physical 1-0 loss to Philadelphia

FOXBORO – The New England Revolution’s season started with great promise, devolved into a catastrophe, and ended with a calamity.

The Philadelphia Union swept the best-of-three Round One MLS Cup playoff series with a 1-0 victory over the Revolution before 15,214 on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.

The Revolution finished the season 16-11-10 overall and 2-6-1 under interim head coach Clint Peay, who inherited a messy situation following the resignation of Bruce Arena and the dismissal of first interim head coach Richie Williams. The Revolution are likely to have already started their search for a new sporting director and head coach.

“As I reflect, it was a great experience for me in terms of being able to work with the group and learn a little bit more what that means,” said Peay. “In terms of my future, that is not for me to decide.”

Referee Drew Fischer changed the complexion of the match in the 45th minute when he issued a red card to Revolution midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye for stomping on Daniel Gazdag while contesting a loose ball.

“It was ruled he stomped on the player so he got a red card,” said Peay. “I don’t have a take, I didn’t see the replay live and I think by law if you stomp on someone you are liable to get a red card and it was unfortunate.”

The Revolution stubbornly hang on with a man down and created a few scoring chances in the second half. But the Union shifted to full aggression mode with two strategic substitutions in the 67th minute.

Philly went up 1-0 in the 79th minute on a play that originated with a free kick from the right side of the penalty area. Midfielder Jack McGlynn lofted the ball into the box and attacker Chris Donovan kicked it home for his second of the season.

“We weren’t losing and we didn’t have to push to score, but we just had to not concede and for the most part, we did a decent job in that regard,” said Peay. “It was an unfortunate foul there to give them the free kick to score.”

The biggest change Peay made from the Starting XI that fell 3-1 to the Union in the opener on Oct. 28 was in goal. Peay benched Jacob Jackson, who had started the last three games, and went back to veteran Earl Edwards Jr., who was 3-4-3 with 1.50 goals against average in 10 regular season games. The only other change was on the back end where center back Henry Kessler started in place of Ryan Spaulding.

“We certainly feel that Jacob Jackson has potential and be a bright spot for the future of this organization,” said Peay. “But we just felt he made a few mistakes in game that cost up a bit so we went back to Earl in hopes of steadying the ship.”

The Revolution opened with a precise passing game that created a few openings and looked a lot cleaner in terms of possession than it did in the opener.

Philly found its traction after 20 minutes and had two quality chances off a corner kick in the 27th minute. Right back Nathan Harriel had a short kick that hit the post.

The simmering bad blood from the first match boiled over in the 33rd minute when Union center back Danion Lowe drew a yellow card for elbowing Gustavo Bou in the left eye.

Philadelphia Union defender Damion Lowe, left, shoves New England Revolution forward Gustavo Bou to the ground Wednesday night in Foxboro. (Staff Photo/Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

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