TORONTO – The New England Revolution got off to exactly the kind of start it desired on Friday night.
Diego Fagundez notched his team-leading ninth goal of the season less than two minutes into the match and nearly doubled the Revolution’s advantage a few minutes later as the visitors picked up where they left off in Sunday night’s 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Union.
But the bright start soon faded as Toronto FC worked its way into the game, finding an equalizer through Andrew Wiedeman in first-half stoppage time en route to a scrappy 1-1 draw.
“I thought we started really well,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “Then all of a sudden the game kind of slipped away from us and it became more about energy, fight and passion rather than a football game, and we let it get that way.”
With heavy rain falling throughout the night, the second half became a battle in which the teams combined for 19 fouls and six yellow cards (three apiece). Scoring chances were limited as neither side managed a shot on target through the final 45 minutes.
It was in stark contrast to the opening period, when Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe combined for two quality chances inside six minutes.
“We came out and we played really good soccer in the first five minutes and we wanted to continue doing that,” said center back A.J. Soares. “But they did a good job of getting into the game and actually preventing us from playing, pressing us and playing some good soccer of their own.”
Despite claiming a valuable road point and stretching their unbeaten run to three games (2-0-1), disappointment was the overriding sentiment in the Revolution’s locker room postgame; which, according to Soares, might well be a sign of progression.
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t win, really,” he said. “We didn’t play our best stuff, but it’s good that we’re at a level now where getting one point on the road isn’t what we want.”