PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico - With an uncharacteristic amount of physical play for an exhibition match, the New England Revolution were bruised and beaten 1-0 by Atlante Futbol Club yesterday.
The Revolution, which had two players – Jeff Larentowicz and Chris Albright - ejected for fighting in the waning minutes. Atlante also had a player ejected during the same scuffle. Pursuant to a managerial stipulation, the match ended with eleven players (Atlante) versus ten (New England).
The lone goal of the match came in the 38th minute when a scramble occurred in front of the Revolution net and Atlante’s Jose Munoz Mustafa pushed the ball past the grasp of keeper Matt Reis.
The match kicked off under humid conditions, as the Revolution faced its first true test of the preseason. Atlante, the Champions of La Primera Division (Mexico), announced its intentions at the half-hour mark, when Revolution striker Kenny Mansally was clipped from behind. Incidentally, Mansally was yellow carded for a questionable foul on the perpetrator in the 31st minute.
It would be first of a succession of yellow cards accumulated by Revolution players. Before the hour mark, Shalrie Joseph, Khano Smith, Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson all collected yellow cards, while Atlante failed to acquire one.
By the hour mark, with only one goal on the scoreboard, the proceedings took a turn for the worse. At minute 61, Jay Heaps was shown the yellow card as well. Less than twenty minutes after that, a scuffle ensued between the players, which resulted in three ejections, including two Revolution players (Larentowicz and Albright).
Amid the fights and fisticuffs, New England tried to find the equalizer. Their final chance on goal was a 35-yard Gary Flood free kick that Joseph headed wide of the far post in the 90th minute, as the Revolution fell 1-0.
The next Revolution preseason match is scheduled for March 14th against Club Deportivo Marathon (Honduras) in New Orleans, LA.