Let's give the New England Revolution some credit. This time they came out and played some soccer and still didn't get it done at the end of the day. While the comparisons to the Buffalo Bills will no doubt be the order of the day for the next few days, the Revs really were hard done by in regards to their effort.
New England took the lead against the run of play when Steve Ralston chased down a ball into the corner and hit a perfectly weighted cross into the box for Taylor Twellman to head home and send a good portion of 39,000 fans into a frenzy. New England continued to pour on the pressure and went into halftime comfortably ahead at 1-0.
The Revs came out of the locker room firing and not sitting on their lead as Pat Noonan was well saved just seconds into the half. However with the Dynamo applying higher pressure the Revs started to drop into their more familiar defensive posture and two moves from De Rosario made the difference. In the 61st minute De Rosario got loose down the left flank and centered a ball into a thicket of players that Ngwenya initially whiffed but pounced on his mistake and pushed it under an oncoming Matt Reis for the equalizer.
Just thirteen minutes later Houston had the game winning goal as Brad Davis got on the end of a number of well worked passes deep in Revs territory and sent in a lovely chipped cross that De Rosario beat Michael Parkhurst to and sent it past a helpless Reis to send the thousands of Houston Dynamo fans into rapture.
Two items of interest in this game both went in the Revolutions favor as a clear first half penalty against Nate Jaqua was waved off by referee Alex Prus inside the first 15 minutes of the game. Jaqua was bundled over by Revs defender Avery John and TV replays showed the non-call was seemingly incorrect.
Additionally, late in the match Houston defender Craig Waibel and Revs midfielder Khano Smith were nose to nose running upfield after a contentious physical challenge which was waved on by Prus. While they were jawing at each other Smith cleary headbutted Waibel not 10 feet from Prus who chose to only yellow card Smith on the play. Bad call. The intent was clear as was the contact.
A relatively well refereed Cup final was marred by these two poor decisions from a referee who's appointment to the final was a bit of a suprise. Prus let's a lot of stuff go in games and seems unwilling to make a critical call and would rather play on than cause any type of controversy call decide a game. Well, his non-call on a clear penalty and refusal to send Smith off didn't exactly justify his selection.