FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – An emotional week required an emotional response, and the New England Revolution delivered bigtime on Saturday night with a dramatic 2-1 win over Toronto FC.
Playing for the first time under interim head coach Tom Soehn – who took the reins on Tuesday morning when the club parted ways with Jay Heaps after almost six seasons – the Revs scored a pair of late goals, including a last-gasp winner from Kei Kamara, to take down the runaway league leaders.
“It was a really emotional week for everybody,” Soehn said. “I didn’t think it could be topped, but it was topped tonight. I’m really proud of the guys. When I look at how they competed tonight, and supported each other, and played for each other, and defended. That’s what games are made of and teams are made of. Tonight, I saw that.”
New England’s resolve was tested throughout the week, but also in the late stages on Saturday night. Lee Nguyen came off the bench to score what looked to be a late winner in the 82nd minute, his deflected shot finding the back of the net for the 50th goal of his MLS career, all with the Revolution.
But their celebration was short-lived, as Nicolas Hasler responded to draw TFC level just two minutes later, finishing off a brilliant cross-field pass from Michael Bradley.
“You know as players that you score one, you’ve got to be ready for the next five minutes, and we fell asleep for just a little bit and we paid for it,” said Kamara. “But it was a good way to bounce back.”
The response came in the form of Kamara’s 12th goal of the season, as he rose highest to nod home Nguyen’s floated cross after Chris Tierney had played a short corner.
“It would’ve been easy for us to kind of deflate with everything that’s happened,” said Tierney, who assisted on both of New England’s goals. “But credit to the boys. I think our energy was great tonight. Good response. Good win.”
The victory was the Revolution’s 11th of the season at Gillette Stadium, tied for both the most home wins in MLS this year and the most home wins in a season in club history.
But as has been the story all year, the task now is to replicate that success away from home, as the Revs will visit Orlando City SC on Wednesday night still in search of that elusive first road win.
“We can’t rest on it,” Soehn said of the Revs’ second win over TFC, who’ve lost just five games this year. “We’ve got to turn around and do something we haven’t done all year in Orlando. We’re going to enjoy tonight, but we’ve got to turn around immediately and keep that kind of mentality going on the road.”