Preview: Revs pay visit to TFC as both teams fight for pride
TORONTO FC vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
October 22, 2011
12:30 p.m. ET (TSN, CSN-NE, watch LIVE online)
Toronto FC and the New England Revolution conclude their 2011 campaigns against each other on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. While out of the MLS Cup Playoffs for another season, Toronto FC gained a huge leap forward at midweek by qualifying for the knockout round of the CONCACAF Champions League with a 3-0 win at FC Dallas. The Revolution finish off their difficult road trying to end a five-game losing run, lengthened in a 3-0 loss to Columbus.
REFEREE: Michael Kennedy. SAR (bench): Paul Scott; JAR (opposite): Adam Garner; 4th: Geoff Gamble. MLS Career: 144 games; FC/gm: 28.7; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 27; pens: 48
- TORONTO FC - OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); DF Adrian Cann (R knee surgery recovery); DF Dicoy Williams (R knee surgery recovery); QUESTIONABLE: DF Richard Eckersley (R hamstring strain); DF Demitrius Omphroy (R knee swelling); MF Joao Plata (L hamstring strain); MF Oscar Cordon (R hip flexor); PROBABLE: FW Danny Koevermans (R knee contusion)
- NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: FW Diego Fagundez (concussion); MF Stephen McCarthy (L shoulder surgery); MF Sainey Nyassi (R hamstring strain); GK Matt Reis (R hamstring strain); DF A.J. Soares (L ankle surgery)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
- ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Toronto FC 2 wins, 10 goals...Revolution 4 wins, 18 goals...Ties 4
- AT TORONTO (4 meetings): Toronto FC 2 wins, 7 goals...Revolution 0 wins, 4 goals...Ties 2
- In their first meeting this season, the teams played to a scoreless draw on June 15 at Gillette Stadium.
- The Revolution have never lost to Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium. In six meetings all-time, the Revs have won four, including a 4-1 win last year, with two draws.
- Toronto FC has won the last two games at BMO Field vs. New England, after the first two meetings there finished in draws.
- Coaches record: Steve Nicol v TOR: P10 W4 L2 D4...Aron Winter vs. NE: P1 W0 L0 D1
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- 6/15: NE 0, TOR 0
- Both teams created their share of chances, but could not break the stalemate. TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei was forced into a season-high seven games, from 16 total Revolution attempts at goal. New England goalkeeper Matt Reis made three saves, while TFC's Alan Gordon saw his goalbound header cleared off the line by Kevin Alston after 36 minutes.
- TFC survived Gianluca Zavarise's red card in second-half stoppage time to hold out for the draw.
- NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-4-2): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane (Franco Coria 69), A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes - Zak Boggs (Sainey Nyassi 46), Shalrie Joseph, Pat Phelan, Chris Tierney (Zack Schilawski 68) - Rajko Lekic, Kenny Mansally.
- TORONTO FC (4-1-2-3): Stefan Frei - Richard Eckersley, Ty Harden, Doneil Henry, Danleigh Borman - Nathan Sturgis - Mikael Yourassowsky, Maicon Santos (Oscar Cordon 56) - Nick Soolsma (Gianluca Zavarise 67; sent off 92+), Alan Gordon, Joao Plata (Javier Martina 73)
Toronto FC recorded a second consecutive 1-1 draw, this time with Philadelphia Union, on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. TFC has 32 points from 32 games on the season, sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
- Union took the lead just before halftime. A poor clearance fell to midfielder Justin Mapp in the offensive third, and he slipped the ball to Sebastien Le Toux. After a touch to his right outside the area, Le Toux curled a shot past a diving Milos Kocic and inside the TFC goalkeeper's left-hand post.
- But TFC pulled even in the 57th minute. After a juking run on the right flank, Nick Soolsma sent in a low square ball that Ryan Johnson got to the end of first, turning home a first-time shot past Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon.
- TFC head coach Aron Winter made three changes to the team that played the New York Red Bulls to a 1-1 draw at BMO Field. Doneil Henry came into the team in place of Terry Dunfield, and Nick Soolsma and Joao Plata started up top instead of Peri Marosevic and Danny Koevermans.
- TORONTO FC (3-3-1-3): Milos Kocic - Ty Harden, Torsten Frings (Nathan Sturgis 54), Andy Iro - Doneil Henry (Kyle Davies 69), Matt Stinson, Ashtone Morgan - Eric Avila - Nick Soolsma, Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata (Gianluca Zavarise 59).
- With an eye to the all-important CONCACAF Champions League game three days later, TFC head coach Aron Winter took a chance to rest some players. Midfielders Julian de Guzman and Terry Dunfield did not make the trip after playing twice for Canada the week before; strikers Danny Koevermans and Peri Marosevic were unused substitutes; Torsten Frings featured for just 54 minutes; and Joao Plata played an hour in his first appearance since Sept. 10.
- “Of course we lost 6-2 against them some months ago. It was not nice,” said Winter. “After all, the traits were there three months ago. You can watch each game and for every game we are playing the team is making very good improvement. There’s a good basis there for the upcoming season.”
- On Tuesday, Toronto FC qualified for the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Champions League with a 3-0 win at FC Dallas. Danny Koevermans put the Reds into a first-half lead before Joao Plata scored 12 minutes apart in the second half to seal the win.
- “This is the best, we couldn’t make the playoffs but we have played well and tonight was a big game,” said Koevermans. “This makes the season, especially the second part a positive and what would be even better is if we get a win on Saturday against New England.”
- Here’s the TFC team: Milos Kocic, Andy Iro, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Julian De Guzman (Terry Dunfield 80), Joao Plata (Peri Marosevic 85), Ryan Johnston, Danny Koevermans (Nathan Sturgis 90+), Nick Soolsma, Ty Harden, Torsten Frings.
- Kyle Davies’ debut for Toronto FC last weekend meant he was the 38th player used by the club this season. That’s an MLS record for most players in a season; the previous high was 36, by the MetroStars in 1996. In all competitions, TFC has fielded 40 players.
- “When we started off in January, our goal was to qualify for the playoffs. When I came, that was very difficult because we did not have a good roster. About three months ago we traded a lot of players to get better quality guys and get guys who really wanted to be a part of it,” Winter said. “From that moment on you could see, even in training, the improvement of the players. Another goal of ours was to win the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, and by doing that we qualified for CONCACAF Champions League. If you watch all of the games we have played in CONCACAF, I think we have earned it and fought for it.”
- Winter was given a vote of confidence for the 2012 season by club CEO Tom Anselmi.
- “It’s been kind of a tale of two seasons. ... It took about five or six months [for Winter, Mariner and assistant coach Bob de Klerk] to really put their fingerprints on the team,” said Anselmi. “I think we started to see that in early July when there was a bit of a roster makeover. Since then we’ve been playing decent football with nice wins in Columbus and against Salt Lake. Clearly we’re playing a lot better than we were last year.”
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution lost a fifth consecutive games, this time a 3-0 defeat by the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution have 27 points from 33 matches, in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
- The Crew opened the scoring on 31 minutes. Emilio Renteria served as the provider, flicking the ball over the top and into the Revolution penalty area. Mendoza waited out the bounce and a retreating Revolution defender before slotting home a left-footed shot.
- Dilly Duka then doubled the Crew lead after 59 minutes. New England defender Darrius Barnes failed to clear and the ball fell to Duka on the left side of the penalty area. Duka created a yard of space and fired home inside the far post.
- Mendoza sealed the points by finishing off a tidy piece of direct play four minutes later. Sebastian Miranda sent a long ball down the right flank for Renteria, and he then drove a cross to the back post for Mendoza to thump home in style.
- Revolution head coach Steve Nicol made two changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Gillette Stadium. Franco Coria returned to central defense for Ryan Cochrane.
- NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-4-2): Bobby Shuttleworth - Kevin Alston, Franco Coria, Darrius Barnes, Chris Tierney - Ryan Guy, Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber, Monsef Zerka (Rajko Lekic 68) - Diego Fagundez (Kheli Dube 80), Milton Caraglio (Zack Schilawski 68).
- The Revolution have lost five games in a row, their longest losing streak in MLS play in a decade. The club record is nine consecutive losses, set both in 1997 and 1998. The streak started with a 3-0 loss at Portland on Sept. 16; the Revs have been outscored 13-4 in those five games.
- “We’ve tried to be positive in every game we’ve played. We’ve tried to do that. We want to do all those things,” said Revolution head coach Steve Nicol. “We haven’t done it, that’s the facts of the matter. And on the occasions we have made chances and scored some goals, we’ve let them in at the other end. And vice versa. We’ve had a tough time here; there’s no hiding from that fact.”
- The Revolution will set a club record for fewest losses in a season; the previous mark was seven wins in a 27-game season in 2001.
- The MLS record for fewest wins in a season is four, set by the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2001 (4-21-2) and Chivas USA in 2005 (4-22-6).
- “We want to win the game (against Toronto FC) of course, and score some goals and end on a positive,” said defender Chris Tierney. “There’s nothing to play for either team. Whenever you wear the Revs jersey, you want to play well and represent the club and we’ll look to do that in Toronto.”
- The Revolution won just four games at Gillette Stadium over the season, the first time since 1998-99 the team has finished with a winning percentage below .500 in its home campaign.
- “We at least wanted to give the fans something to cheer about. It’s been a tough one for them, as well. We appreciate them coming every home game to watch us and support us, which they have done fantastically all season,” Nicol said. “So it’s disappointing we couldn’t finish up by giving them something to go home with a smile on their face.”
- Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth made his second consecutive start in place of the injured Matt Reis, and his sixth of the season. The Revs have suffered four losses and two draws in his league games.
- “Every time I can play, it’s good experience for me. I’ve got 12 games under my belt now, so I am getting to the point where I am getting that experience and it’s good for me to get a run of games like this, and to just go from there,” Shuttleworth said.
- Nicol was ready to make no predictions for the team he will put out in the season finale. “At this present time, I haven’t any idea,” Nicol said. “The fact of the matter is the guys who’ve been playing are the best guys we have available. That’s the bottom line.”