It wasn't a sensational performance by any stretch of the imagination, but Revolution defender-turned-holding midfielder AJ Soares felt his team deserved more from Friday's 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake.
True, the Revolution were outshot 14-9, and only one of those efforts was deemed on target. And yes, Salt Lake connected on 82 more passes in the attacking half.
But the fact that it took not one but two penalty kicks to send the Revolution to their fourth straight league loss suggests the guests could've earned a result against Real Salt Lake had referee Allen Chapman called the match differently.
"I thought we played well enough to get at least a point," Soares told revolutionsoccer.net after the match. "We defended really well and had plenty of chances going forward. To get no points is super disappointing."
In some respects, the Revolution were lucky the match was decided by only a single goal. After all, goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was called upon to make no fewer than three acrobatic saves just to keep Salt Lake at bay before the half-hour mark.
The Revolution might have been living dangerously in the first half, but it took a curious call from Chapman to tilt the match in Salt Lake's favor. No one in a navy blue uniform was happy about it.
In the 34th minute, Joao Plata sent a dangerous corner kick into the mix, where Chris Schuler had put himself in position to possibly head it through. But as he rose to meet it, Darrius Barnes ducked down behind Schuler, who quickly tumbled to the ground.
Chapman pointed to the spot, which opened the door for Salt Lake to grab the goal that had eluded them in the early stages of Friday's match. Despite protests from a number of Revolution players, Javier Morales stepped up and sent it through moments later.
"I didn't get an explanation," Soares said of Chapman's call on the penalty. "But I didn't ask for one, so I can't tell you. He saw something, called it, and it's fair enough -- he's the ref, and he can make whatever call he wants, I guess."
Instead of smarting over their misfortune, the Revolution quickly sought out the equalizer and found it two minutes after Morales opened the account.
On an expertly guided free kick from Chris Tierney, Barnes escaped his defender and nodded it through to put the match back on level terms in the 37th minute.
"[The goal] kind of woke everybody up a little bit," Barnes told revolutionsoccer.net after the match. "Obviously we feel like that's a tough [penalty kick]. I don't agree with it, but that was the call, and fortunately we responded. We tied it up, it's 1-1 at halftime, and we felt good going into the half."
Those positive vibes were effectively chased off the pitch after Chapman awarded a second penalty to Salt Lake after Tierney brought down John Stertzer in the box in the 63rd minute. Plata took the penalty and scored to reclaim the lead for the hosts.
Nevertheless, Tierney nearly added his second assist of the game by sending a perfect ball for Patrick Mullins deep in the 18, but the rookie striker couldn't push it through in the 68th minute.
"We knew we were going to come out and play better -- we had to play better in the second half, and I thought we did," Barnes said. "We created tons of chances, and we should have finished a couple of those."
But in the end, the two penalties were all that separated the Revolution from the result Soares believes his side should've grabbed on the Fourth of July.
"I'm disappointed with both calls on the penalty kicks," Soares said. "It's a hard one to swallow because we didn't deserve to get no points."