Tale of Two Halves: Tierney goal caps stirring comeback

Sloppy first half leads way to dramatic second-half fight-back

TORONTO – Jay Heaps summed up the New England Revolution’s performance in his side’s 2-2 draw with Toronto FC in seven simple words.

“The second half was obviously much better.”

The Revs trailed by two goals at the halftime break, conceding a pair of headers from Danny Koevermans in the fourth minute and Ryan Johnson in the 42nd minute. But they turned the tables after the interval, sparked in large part by the entrance of Blake Brettschneider and the resulting switch to a 4-3-3 formation.

Brettschneider scored his second goal of the season in the 71st minute, cutting the deficit in half and setting the stage for Chris Tierney’s dramatic equalizer deep into second-half stoppage time.

“Obviously we were down 2-0 on the road, but we were trying to go at them as hard as we could,” said Brettschneider, who buried a rebound after Benny Feilhaber’s long-range shot was saved. “I thought the substitutes came in and brought a good spark to the game. Benny hit a great shot and the ‘keeper made a good save, he just happened to push it right to where I thought it might go and I was able to pounce on it.”

Brettschneider’s goal brought the Revs to life and only TFC goalkeeper Milos Kocic prevented the visitors from equalizing sooner, making several key stops before adding a bit of luck when Feilhaber’s 88th-minute drive struck the woodwork. But the Revs kept pushing and eventually broke Toronto’s resolve in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Tierney buried a header from Flo Lechner’s right-wing cross.

“I knew it would be the last kick of the ball,” said Tierney. “Fernando (Cardenas) played Flo in with a good ball down the line. I think Flo just recognized that everyone was crashing on top of the goal and cut it back a little bit. I just knew he’d put it back there. It was a great ball, credit to him. I just tried to make sure I got it on frame. It took a deflection or two, but I’ll take it and we’ll take the point.”

The emotional ending capped a stirring second-half performance, but the Revs will be careful not to let the shine of the end result mask the disappointing first-half showing. Although the Revs will move forward confident in their resolve – not to mention their ability – they’ll also take the necessary lessons from the opening 45 minutes.

“It’s a really disappointing first half,” said Tierney. “We gave up two really, really soft goals. That’s basically the two chances they had and they scored on them. We’re happy to fight back and we’ll take the point, but these are the games we want to start to be able to win consistently.”

“There are negatives,” added Heaps. “We have to take the sloppy performance in the first half, but then, in the second half, you have to take that resolve and that belief that there are games we have to get back into and we have the ability to come back.”