FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Rookie Zack Schilawski most likely dreamt about making his professional soccer home debut countless times as a youngster growing up in Cary, N.C.
Chances are his dreams never matched the reality which unfolded on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium in front of 12,798 instantly adoring fans.
Schilawski recorded the first goal of his professional career in the 47th minute, then promptly added his second and third in the 51st and 58th minutes, respectively, becoming just the third rookie in MLS history to record a hat trick and guiding the Revolution (2-1-0, 6 pts.) to a 4-1 win over Toronto FC (0-2-0, 0 pts.) in the process.
Not only was Schilawski’s three-goal performance the first by a rookie in almost seven years – since then-Revolution forward Pat Noonan struck three times against the MetroStars on Oct. 25, 2003 – but it was the third-fastest in league history behind Harut Karapetyan (five minutes) and Alejandro Moreno (eight minutes).
Sainey Nyassi – who assisted on Schilawski’s first goal – added the Revolution’s fourth goal in the 66th minute to complete a rampant second-half comeback, while Kheli Dube registered a pair of assists.
Dwayne De Rosario had given TFC a halftime lead with a 28th-minute goal.
Shalrie Joseph returned from a right hip flexor strain to make his 2010 debut, starting alongside Joseph Niouky in central midfield. That was the only change to the Revolution’s starting lineup from the first two games of the season against LA and D.C.
Joseph – who wore the captain’s armband and assisted on Schilawski’s third goal – didn’t take long to thrust himself into the action. He got on the end of Nyassi’s fifth-minute cross and directed a header to Dube at the far post, but Dube couldn’t control and the ball was cleared to safety.
De Rosario – playing in his first game since being named TFC’s captain following the midweek retirement of Jim Brennan – was the catalyst for Toronto in the first half. After setting up Joseph Nane for a close-range header in the 26th minute, De Rosario opened the scoring just two minutes later with a header of his own. Nick Garcia’s lofted cross from the right wing found De Rosario near the penalty spot, and the Canada international guided a looping header inside the right post to register TFC’s first goal of the season.
Toronto’s goal was the result of a rare attacking foray in the opening 45 minutes, which were largely dominated by a battle for possession in midfield. In fact, De Rosario’s 28th-minute strike was the only shot on goal for either team in the first half.
That changed quickly after the halftime break, as Schilawski leveled the score in the 47th minute. A clever one-two between Nyassi and Dube down the right side led Nyassi into the right corner, and the Gambian used his first touch to deliver a driven pass across the face of goal. The cross found Schilawski unmarked at the far post, leaving the rookie with the simple task of tapping the ball into an empty net.
While his first goal was set up by a well-placed cross, Schilawski’s second strike just four minutes later was a result of his own hard work. The Wake Forest product stole the ball off Toronto center back Nick Garcia 40 yards from goal and rushed in alone on net, then calmly slotted a low shot inside the right post to give the Revolution a 2-1 lead.
Schilawski’s dream home debut continued in the 58th minute, when the 22-year-old completed his hat trick with his best finish of the night. Joseph’s long pass from deep in midfield split the Toronto backline and sent Dube into the right side of the box, and Dube whipped a cross to the near post. With the ball coming in at knee height, Schilawski got his right foot out to deftly re-direct a shot past Frei from six yards out.
Nyassi got in on the act in the 66th minute, capitalizing on a giveaway at the back to extend New England’s lead to 4-1. Nane scuffed an attempted pass back to his goalkeeper, and Nyassi pounced to score from just inside the box.
Serbian midfielder Marko Perovic entered the match in the 70th minute to make his Revolution debut, and came inches from scoring his first goal just one minute later after combining well with Chris Tierney. However, his first-time shot from the center of the box drifted wide of the right post.
That didn’t put a damper on the Revs’ night, however, as they comfortably held on for the three-goal triumph.
Next weekend, the Revs will return to the west coast for the second time in less than a month, this time to visit the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, April 17. The match is set to kick off at 10 p.m. ET from Buck Shaw Stadium.
TFC – Dwayne De Rosario (Nick Garcia) 28
NE – Zack Schilawski (Sainey Nyassi, Kheli Dube) 47
NE – Zack Schilawski (unassisted) 51
NE – Zack Schilawski (Kheli Dube, Shalrie Joseph) 58
NE – Sainey Nyassi (unassisted) 66
New England Revolution: Preston Burpo (GK), Cory Gibbs, Emmanuel Osei, Chris Tierney (Khano Smith 71), Seth Sinovic, Sainey Nyassi, Shalrie Joseph © (Pat Phelan 75), Kevin Alston, Joseph, Niouky, Kheli Dube (Marko Perovi? 70), Zack Schilawski
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth (GK), Kenny Mansally, Darrius Barnes, Zak Boggs
STATS: Shots: 17; Shots on Goal: 9; Saves: 2; Corner Kicks: 5; Offside: 6; Fouls Committed: 15
Toronto FC: Stefan Frei (GK), Nana Attakora, Nick Garcia, Raivis Hscanovics (Chad Barrett 58), Dan Gragan, Joseph Nane, Dwayne De Rosario ©, Amadou Sanyang (Julian de Guzman 60), Martin Saric, O’Brian White (Fuad Ibrahim 75), Nick LaBrocca
Substitutes Not Used: Jon Conway (GK), Gabe Gala, Ty Harden, Sam Cronin
STATS: Shots: 9; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 5; Corner Kicks: 2; Offside: 1; Fouls Committed: 15
TFC – Raivis Hscanovics (caution) 11
TFC – Julian de Guzman (caution) 85
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee’s Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry
Fourth Official: Eric Proctor
Weather: Clear, 55 degrees
- The New England Revolution improved to 4-1-3 all-time against Toronto FC, and still have not lost to TFC at home, moving to 4-0-1 since the Reds began MLS play in 2007.
- The Revs improved to 10-5-0 all-time in home openers and are now riding a four-game win streak in home openers, outscoring opponents 13-2 since 2007.
- Rookie Zack Schilawski became the first rookie in MLS history to register a hat trick in his home debut … the last MLS rookie with a hat trick was a Revs player, Pat Noonan against the Metrostars on Oct. 25, 2003 … there's been only one other rookie hat trick in league history: Brian Maisonnueve for Columbus on Sept. 6, 1996.
- Schilawski scored three goals in 11 minutes, a New England record … his trick was the fastest three goals by a player since May 19, 2004 when LA Galaxy’s Alejandro Moreno did it in eight minutes at D.C. United … the MLS record is five minutes by Harut Karapetyan of LA Galaxy on June 4, 1996 at Dallas.
- Steve Nicol became the third head coach in MLS history to register 100 victories, behind Bob Bradley and Sigi Schmid … all three coaches achieved the feat in front of their home crowds: Bradley’s Metrostars beat Chicago at home, 2-1, on July 24, 2004 and Schmid’s Crew defeated Houston Dynamo, 1-0, at home on April 26, 2008
- Nicol is first to amass 100 wins with one team.
- Shalrie Joseph returned to the field for his first game action of 2010 and wore the captain’s arm band … defender Cory Gibbs was skipper for the first two games of the season … Joseph picked up his first point of the season in the process when he assisted on Schilawski’s third goal.
- Marko Perovi? made his MLS debut in the 70th minute debut when he came on for Kheli Dube.
- Kheli Dube tallied the first two-assist game of his career … the two assists were Dube’s first since the Revolution dropped a 2-1 decision at D.C. United on Oct. 16, 2008.
- The Revs wore two different game jerseys on Saturday night … the jerseys worn in the first half carried a commemorative Revolution 15th Anniversary patch on the right chest.
- Revolution legend Joe-Max Moore was a special guest at the game and served as honorary captain on the night, presiding over the pregame coin flip … Moore was a member of the original 1996 Revolution squad, and spent all or parts of six seasons with the Revs … he was a three-time member of U.S. World Cup squads, and retired in 2005 as the Revolution’s all-time leading scorer.