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Eastern Conference Championship

Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution | MLS Match Preview

TORONTO FC vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
May 3, 2014 (WEEK 9, MLS Game #72)
1 p.m. ET (UDN; TSN2; CSN-NE)

Two clubs looking to make a move up the Eastern Conference standings come together when Toronto FC play host to the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC return to action following their second consecutive loss, falling 2-1 at FC Dallas two weeks ago. The Revolution extended their undefeated streak to three games last weekend, following a late 2-0 home win against Sporting Kansas City.

REFEREE: Mark Geiger. AR1 (bench): Joe Fletcher; AR2 (opposite): Gianni Facchini; 4th: Mathieu Bourdeau
MLS Career: 118 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 30; pens: 40

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NE: Andy Dorman
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NE: A.J. Soares
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (16 meetings): Toronto FC 4 wins, 17 goals … Revolution 5 wins, 25 goals … Ties 7
AT TORONTO (7 meetings): Toronto FC 2 wins, 12 goals … Revolution 0 wins, 9 goals … Ties 5
RETURN MATCHES: 8/30: Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution, 5 p.m. ET; 10/25: New England Revolution vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. ET

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/25: NE 2, TOR 0 (Fagundez 23; Agudelo 93+)
8/4: NE 0, TOR 1 (Laba 2)
8/30: TOR 1, NE 1 (Wiedeman 47+ -- Fagundez 2)

  • The Revolution have never won at BMO Field, with two losses and five draws in seven all-time visits. But the last three meetings in Toronto have ended in draws; the last TFC home win came in 2010.
  • New England’s 2-0 win at Gillette Stadium last May 25 was their first against Toronto FC since 2010, snapping a five-game Revolution winless streak in the series.
  • Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen vs. NE: P3 W1 L1 D1 … Jay Heaps vs. TOR: P5 W1 L2 D2

TORONTO FC
Toronto FC return to action after a weekend, dropping a second consecutive match last time out in a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on April 19. TFC sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, with nine points from six matches.

LAST MATCH

  • TFC took the lead in the 21st minute. Running onto a pass from Jackson, Issey Nakajima-Farran fired a shot that was parried by FCD 'keeper Chris Seitz – except right back at Nakajima-Farran, and he volleyed the rebound to the back of the net.
  • FCD pulled level in the 32nd minute as center back Matt Hedges beat his marker at the near post and headed home off a corner kick by Michel.
  • But the home side grabbed yet another late winner. Defender Stephen Keel headed down a long ball from Michel in the penalty area, and Blas Perez pounced on the loose ball to stab home for the full three points for his team.
  • TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made two changes to the team that fell 2-0 to the Colorado Rapids at BMO Field. Michael Bradley and Jonathan Osorio came back into the team, in place of Jeremy Hall and Dwayne De Rosario.
  • TORONTO FC (4-2-3-1): Julio Cesar - Mark Bloom (Nick Hagglund 90), Bradley Orr, Steven Caldwell, Justin Morrow - Kyle Bekker, Michael Bradley - Jackson, Jonathan Osorio, Issey Nakajima-Farran (Andrew Wiedeman 81) - Gilberto.

TEAM NEWS

  • TFC suffered a second consecutive defeat and have now lost three of their last four matches, after winning their opening two games of the season.
  • “With these six games, I would have taken [nine points] straight away,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said. “With the injury crisis that we’ve had, that we didn’t even think was going to happen, I’d take it.”
  • Issey Nakajima-Farran scored the lone Toronto FC, his second in the last three games since joining the club. Nakajima-Farran has scored each of TFC’s last two goals.
  • “It felt good,” Nakajima-Farran said. “It was my little boy’s birthday that day, too, so for me it was very memorable. It’s always nice to score. It was nice to make my little boy proud.”
  • After missing the Colorado match following being forced out of the Columbus game with an injury, Michael Bradley returned to the TFC lineup, playing the full match in the center of midfield.
  • “We have to be honest with ourselves and just say we weren't good enough,” Bradley said. “ ... Obviously disappointing to concede a late goal, but you certainly hope that now as the season goes on that we are able to have the maturity and come away with a point on these kind of days, but still it doesn't change the main point which is that we weren't good enough.”
  • Jonathan Osorio was also able to feature in a match for the first time since March 22, having missed three games.
  • “[Bradley] hasn’t trained in a while, same with Jonathan Osorio,” Nelsen said. “We’re running on fumes in terms of what we have available for options. It’s great they both got through the game and now we’ve got a couple weeks where we can get a rest, get healthy and move on.”
  • Striker Jermain Defoe and defender Doneil Henry – both of whom have missed the last three matches – have used the off week to pull themselves back into contention for a place in the side after injuries.
  • “I’m 100 percent now. I feel stronger than I was before. My season started in August, so I’ve played a lot of football. I just picked up a little hamstring injury, it was a case of just getting it strong again,” Defoe said. “I’m not one of those players where I worry about, when I get an injury, coming back worried and sort of like not giving it my all. I’ll go out there and do exactly what I did before, I’ll just give everything. I’ve been lucky enough with injuries because it’s the way I’ve conditioned myself and the way I’ve looked after my muscles. I can’t see it happening again because it feels really strong now.”
  • TFC conceded their first two goals of the season from set pieces ñ also allowing 16 corner kicks for the match, tied for fifth most by a single team in a match in MLS history.
  • You obviously don’t want, whoever you’re playing, to concede corner kicks. It’s an opportunity to get the ball in the box. But as the game kind of went in it, we found ourselves defending in furor,” Nelsen said.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution extended their undefeated streak to three matches, scoring a pair of late goals for a 2-0 win against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution are in a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points from eight games.

LAST MATCH

  • The visitors were put in difficulty in the 74th minute when Sporting went down to 10 men after Aurelien Collin earned a red card for a hard tackle on Diego Fagundez.
  • But two minutes into second-half stoppage time, Diego Fagundez whipped in a long pass from out of the right and Teal Bunbury swooped in to redirect it into the goal.
  • Two minutes later, a handball was called on Sporting midfielder Oriol Rosell as the Revs raced into the box on a 2-on-1. Lee Nguyen buried the penalty shot, his second in as many weeks, to seal the victory.
  • Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made two changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Chris Tierney came into the back four for the suspended Kevin Alston, and Jerry Bengtson started in place of Saer Sene.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-4-2): Bobby Shuttleworth - Darrius Barnes, A.J. Soares, Andrew Farrell, Chris Tierney - Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, Andy Dorman (Steve Neumann 79), Daigo Kobayashi (Scott Caldwell 71) - Teal Bunbury, Jerry Bengtson (Charlie Davies 57).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Revolution recorded their third consecutive shutout of the season at Gillette Stadium, and last allowed a goal in a home match last Oct. 19 in a 3-2 win vs. Columbus, a span now of 288 minutes without conceding on their home ground.
  • “I thought both teams really wanted the game and it showed. It was pretty wide open early on. For us, I thought we were pretty good at the end of the first half and created chances. We had a chance to at least get a goal. I think they did, as well,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “Overall, I liked our mentality and I liked how we finished the game.”
  • The Revolution have also allowed just three goal attempts on target over their three matches, as Sporting required goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth to record just one save.
  • “We’ve talked about this a lot this year, how we wanted to improve our home record,” said Shuttleworth. “We wanted to make this place into a fortress. I think we’ve done that so far this year and it’s something that we need to continue to do.”
  • Teal Bunbury scored his first goal since coming to the Revolution from Sporting KC in the offseason. It was Bunbury’s first MLS goal since Aug. 11, 2012 at D.C. United, a span of 21 matches since his last league goal.
  • “I feel like every game I want to score, that’s my job so I wouldn’t say it’s a little more eagerness. But I definitely had some chances and probably should’ve done better with those,” said Bunbury. “But, we get a win, big three points for us and still haven’t lost at home, still haven’t conceded a goal at home, it’s great.”
  • Lee Nguyen scored his third goal of the season, his second in as many matches, both coming from penalty kicks.
  • “We talk about [who takes penalties] every week. They looked over to me, and I always give them the signal. Lee Ngyuen has been taking them all year really well and I think in a different score line, maybe we give it to a different kicker,” said Heaps. “But a 1-0 match in the 90th minute, we’re giving it to our natural PK taker.
  • Jerry Bengtson made his first start of the season, playing 57 minutes, after making four substitute appearances.
  • “He’s dangerous, he always finds one chance a game, no matter if he plays for 30 minutes or 90 minutes. That was something we were hoping for, to get on that first goal right away. I think he worked pretty hard. I want a little bit more from him tactically in shielding,” said Heaps. “Bringing in Charlie (Davies), he did. He really grasped what we did this week and I thought Charlie came in and as did our three subs, changed the game.”