FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Of all the possible scenarios to play out in Sunday night’s game against Toronto FC, conceding a goal in the second minute was probably at the bottom of the New England Revolution’s list.
An uncharacteristic turnover from Jose Goncalves near midfield sprang an early Toronto FC counterattack which finished with Matias Laba’s first MLS goal, and the visitors successfully defended that lead for the next 88 minutes to claim a 1-0 victory and snap the Revolution’s brief two-game winning streak.
“They were going to bunker in and they were happy to come out with 1-0,” said Lee Nguyen. “It’s just unfortunate that we gave a goal up early. That fell right into their game plan. It’s always tough to break down a team that plays 11 men behind the ball like that.”
With Toronto content to sit back and absorb pressure, the Revs cobbled together significant advantages in both possession (63 percent) and shots (10-3) in the first half, but were held at bay as chances from Nguyen and Saer Sene went by the board and a pair of Diego Fagundez efforts were cleared off the line.
New England continued to press throughout the second half – holding 65 percent of the possession and outshooting TFC 7-3 – but when an acrobatic late side volley from Fagundez flashed wide, the final whistle blew to lock in the Revolution’s first offensive shutout since June 8.
“We created plenty of chances in the first half and none of them were able to fall,” said Nguyen. “We just kept putting ourselves in a deeper hole in the second half by continuing to not be able to finish. It was a frustrating night, but now we have to focus on next week.”
Next week is a road trip to visit Eastern Conference power Sporting Kansas City. And after conceding inside 10 minutes in each of their last two matches, the Revs know things must change at Sporting Park.
“We’ve just got to get together and refocus,” said Nguyen. “We started slow in D.C., we started slow today. We can’t afford to start slow in K.C.”