A chance of eight games unbeaten was there for the taking for the New England Revolution but they came up just short. A lot of the post-match talk in New England is regarding the decision-making of the match officials. Amongst all of that, Latif Blessing was sent off in New York as his Revs career goes from bad to worse…
Latif Blessing is Sent Off in the Big Apple
Coping Without Carles
The biggest questions coming into this game were regarding the absence of Revs captain Carles Gil. As well as Ben Sweat replacing Ryan Spaulding, there of course had to be another change to the XI that drew with FC Cincinnati last weekend. 18-year-old Esmir Bajraktarevic was the man to take Gil’s spot and a system change ensued too.
Bruce Arena was rather blasé pre-match when discussing the Gil suspension and he kept up a similarly straight-talking vibe post-match. “Your team is better when your best player is on the field, in any sport. So, we’re not going to have the same quality when Carles isn’t on the field.”
He may not have started but Ian Harkes made his keenly awaited debut for the Revolution after joining from SPFL side Dundee United last week. The former D.C. United man certainly looked up to speed with it all but his performance will sadly be remembered for the Red Bulls’ second goal.
After Matt Polster gave the ball away, Wikelman Carmona saw his effort deflect off of Harkes on the way beyond the reaches of Djordje Petrovic. Here is Bruce Arena’s reaction to what he saw from his latest signing, Ian “did real well. Unfortunately, he deflected that ball for their second goal, but he played really well. It was really encouraging to see.” Harkes entered the game with 68 minutes on the clock, shortly after Latif Blessing saw red.
A Tough Night for Referees- was the Latif Blessing Dismissal Correct?
Arena isn’t one to pull any punches and that was evident after the full-time whistle when he spoke with the media. One quote of his went as follows, “that’s the third time this year we’ve had a goal taken away on a VAR interpretation.”
It looked for intents and purposes that Andrew Farrell had equalised for the Revolution once again at the death. His low effort from range hit the far post on its’ way in to send the defender and his teammates into jubilation. This ecstasy was short-lived though as VAR intervened.
Over to Coach Arena once again for his interpretation of it all. “The ball was deflected by a Red Bull player, so the goal should have been good. That’s my opinion of it. They said Vrioni was interfering with the goalkeeper. I think with the Red Bull player deflecting the ball, the goal should be allowed.”
I mean, Latif Blessing isn’t a dirty player. But he did just get his boot up to the guy’s pelvic bone studs showing. I can live with that as red https://t.co/fVbGqwrixf
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) July 9, 2023
This wasn’t the only decision of note by any means as, just moments after Frankie Amaya headed the hosts into the lead, midfielder Latif Blessing was given a straight red for a high boot on the goal scorer. Arena didn’t agree with this one either but he was in the minority and there can be very few complaints about the Ghanaian’s dismissal. “Latif’s red was pretty soft. Obviously, when you see the game that referee had, nothing should surprise you.”
From one suspension to another as Gil’s questionable yellow for diving is followed up by a very understandable red card being shown the way of Latif Blessing. It was a poor performance from the Revs so whilst there are debates to be had about the officiating, it just wasn’t good enough either way.
Featured image credit: Syndication- The Enquirer, July 1, 2023.
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