10-man New York City FC drop three precious points with loss to New England
NYCFC fall to the New England Revolution. | Photo: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Gillette Stadium was host to a strong New York City FC side as the New England Revolution welcomed the club hoping for a playoff bye. Heading into the match, NYCFC were just three points ahead of successful expansion side, Atlanta United FC.

This is important because the team who finishes second place in the Eastern Conference will earn a bye in the first round of the playoffs alongside Supporters' Shield winners, Toronto FC. The New York club earned the right to a bye in the 2016 MLS playoffs before crashing out when they came up against an MLS Cup bound Toronto FC.

Jack sent off

Jack Harrison, who was recently given his first term of international duty with England's U21's, was shown a straight red card after a challenge on New England's Teal Bunbury in the 26th minute. Jack appeared to be NYCFC's danger man prior to his sending off. This is the first red card the young winger has received in his professional career.

You could hear NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira shout "That's unbelievable" on the sideline when referee Nima Saghafi pulled out his red card. Vieira was not alone in shock as the red card proved to be controversial.

Scoreless first half

Neither side could find the back of the net in the first half despite both teams having a few chances. New York City was the better of the two clubs prior to Jack Harrison's red card. Jack Harrison found himself in space in the 16th minute after a good set-piece routine from the corner kick. His dribbling allowed him to slip past a defender before blasting a shot just wide of the goal.

The home side began possessing the ball more following the sending off of the English winger. Despite the possession, New England could not create one clear-cut chance. In the final moments of the half, Krisztián Németh forced a save out of Sean Johnson which he handled comfortably. Lee Nguyen's strike from distance also forced a save out of the keeper which didn't trouble him too much.

Opening goal

New England took the lead through a Diego Fagundez goal which found the top corner of Sean Johnson's goal through traffic in the 51st minute. This was Diego's fifth MLS goal of the season. Some slow buildup play led to Fagundez open at the top of the box with ample time to find the goal.

About ten minutes later, Lee Nguyen found Fagundez again in space. Frederic Brillant stepped up to win the ball with little success leaving Alexander Callens alone in his own half to defend a 2 on 1 as Fagundez lead the break. With Callens closing in, it seemed the obvious play was to give Németh the ball for a tap-in but Fagundez who was looking for a brace curled one just wide of the goal.

Fagundez brace

New England continued to dominate following the opening goal. With substitute Kei Kamara getting a lot of opportunities, Sean Johnson was forced to show off his ability some more. Johnson looked like a man who couldn't be beaten until a counter-attack in the 90th minute wrapped up the game. Alex Ring slowed down the 3 on 1 enough for Callens to get back. Nguyen played Fagundez, who had his shot blocked by Callens which fell right back into Fagundez's path and he made no mistake this time around as he pounced on it and made it 2-0.

Diego Fagundez celebrating his second goal of the game. Photo: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Diego Fagundez celebrating his second goal of the game. Photo: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Khiry Shelton scored seconds after the kickoff which resulted from Fagundez's second goal but it was too little, too late.

What's next?

Following their win on Sunday, New England will begin preparing for their final match of the season as they head over to Saputo Stadium as they take on the Montreal Impact. The two clubs will be fighting for nothing but pride as they are both out of playoff contention.

On the other hand, there is still a lot on the line for NYCFC. Following the loss in New England, NYCFC will finish off the season by hosting Columbus Crew SC. With Atlanta United FC and Chicago Fire right on their tails, NYCFC will have to win in their season finale to ensure a first-round bye. New York has spent a majority of the season in either of the top two slots in MLS, but a loss on Decision Day could see them fall to fifth place in the Eastern Conference.