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Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution | MLS Match Preview

TORONTO FC vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
Aug. 30, 2014 (WEEK 25, MLS Game #234)
5 p.m. ET (SNet One; CSN-NE)

A pair of clubs in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff chase meet in a crucial match when Toronto FC take on the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at BMO Field. Toronto FC are still firmly placed in the hunt for their first-ever postseason berth, coming off a 2-2 home draw with the Chicago Fire. The Revolution are one point out of fifth place and the final playoff placing in the division, after their 1-0 home win against Chivas USA last weekend.

REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. AR1 (bench): Philippe Briere; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Geoff Gamble
MLS Career: 87 games; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 10; pens: 16

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Collen Warner … NE: Scott Caldwell, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Michael Bradley, Steven Caldwell, Jackson, Justin Morrow, Dominic Oduro, Warren Creavalle, Doneil Henry … NE: Lee Nguyen
DISABLED LIST: NE: Andy Dorman
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (17 meetings): Toronto FC 4 wins, 18 goals … Revolution 6 wins, 27 goals … Ties 7
AT TORONTO (8 meetings): Toronto FC 2 wins, 13 goals … Revolution 1 win, 11 goals … Ties 5
FUTURE MATCH: 10/25: New England Revolution vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. ET

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/3: TOR 1, NE 2 (Jackson 6 – Mullins 24; Nguyen 82)
• The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Lee Nguyen’s penalty kick in the 84th minute snapped a late deadlock and gave the Revolution a 2-1 win May 3 at BMO Field.
• It was the Revolution’s first victory ever at BMO Field, with two losses and five draws in their first seven all-time visits. But the Revs have taken points on their last four trips to Toronto; 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: P4 W1 L2 D1 … Jay Heaps vs. TOR: P6 W2 L2 D2

LAST MEETING (MLS)
• Toronto FC struck early, taking the lead in the sixth minute as Jackson drilled an audacious, low shot from 30 yards out that deflected off the foot of Revs defender A.J. Soares and into the back of the net.
• The Revolution were level in the 24th minute. A misplaced pass was intercepted by Daigo Kobayashi, and he fed rookie Patrick Mullins, who then lashed a left-footed missile that beat goalkeeper Julio Cesar with a well-placed shot into the top corner.
• The decisive goal came eight minutes from time. Mullins fired a shot toward goal which was deflected in the box by TFC defender Doneil Henry's raised arm and referee Mark Geiger pointed to the spot. Lee Nguyen easily beat Julio Cesar, who went the wrong way on the penalty attempt.
• TORONTO FC (4-1-3-2): Julio Cesar - Mark Bloom (Dwayne De Rosario 87), Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Justin Morrow - Kyle Bekker (Alvaro Rey 68) - Jackson (Issey Nakajima-Farran 78), Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio - Jermain Defoe, Gilberto.
• NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Bobby Shuttleworth - Darrius Barnes, Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares, Kevin Alston (Chris Tierney 35) - Andy Dorman - Teal Bunbury, Daigo Kobayashi (Scott Caldwell 57), Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez (Steve Neumann 77) - Patrick Mullins.

TORONTO FC

Toronto FC had their home winless streak extended, reaching a 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening at BMO Field. TFC sit in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference, with 33 points from 23 matches.

LAST MATCH

• Toronto FC were ahead after just three minutes of play. Fullback Justin Morrow burst down the left wing and put in a cross which bounced off Chicago center back Bakary Soumare and left goalkeeper Sean Johnson stranded as the ball settled in the back of the net.
• The Fire were level in the 69th minute as Robert Earnshaw netted the equalizer against his former club, heading home Grant Ward's cross past goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
• TFC again nosed in front with with 10 minutes to go when substitute Luke Moore sprung Gilberto clear on goal from midfield with a curling through ball. Gilberto rounded Johnson with a cheeky touch and slotted home coolly from the heart of the box.
• But there was one final answer for the Fire. Lovel Palmer worked free on the right flank and put in a cross which Quincy Amarikwa struck with a sweet volley to give his side another equalizer.
• TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made three changes to the team that fell 4-1 to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Mark Bloom and Steven Caldwell came into the back four for Jackson and Doneil Henry, and Jermain Defoe came back in up top in place of Luke Moore.
• TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Mark Bloom, Nick Hagglund, Steven Caldwell (Doneil Henry 22), Justin Morrow (Jackson 58) - Dominic Oduro, Collen Warner, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio - Gilberto, Jermain Defoe (Luke Moore 77).
TEAM NEWS
• With the late draw, TFC saw their winless streak at BMO Field extended to three matches, their last home win coming July 12. TFC has taken nine of a possible 24 points over their last eight matches.
• “(T)hat second goal was horrendous to tell you the truth.  We’ve got to have a desire when an opposition player gets down to the endline we’ve got to have midfielders right on top of our backline defending our box,” said TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen. “We were spectators … we weren't in the right spots and we had guys just watching in comfortable positions.  When you put yourself out of the arena to affect the game, things like this happen.”
• Gilberto scored a goal in a fourth consecutive match, netting his sixth goal of the season. The TFC club record is five consecutive games with a goal, set by Danny Koevermans (2010) and Dwayne De Rosario (2012).
• “I’m very happy that I scored my first goal at home in my stadium in front of my fans. I feel the team is doing really good work right now but unfortunately we couldn't get the result. But I am really happy with the progress of the team,” Gilberto said.
• Jermain Defoe was able to return to the lineup after missing the last three matches with a groin injury, coming into the attack and playing 77 minutes.
• Luke Moore came off the substitutes’ bench and recorded his fourth assist of the season, all coming over the last seven matches since July 19.
• “We needed some energy and we needed something, a lift, someone to grab the game by the back of the neck.  I thought when Luke (Moore) came on he looked really good and we got ourselves a goal and could have made it three,” Nelsen said.
• Steven Caldwell was able to return to the Toronto FC lineup, starting in central defense for the first time since July 12. But his comeback lasted just 22 minutes before he was forced off with a reaggravation of the same quadriceps injury that had sidelined him.
• There was a second loss in the back line before the hour mark when Justin Morrow had to come off with a hamstring injury. Morrow has started 22 of 23 league games this season for TFC.
• “Losing Steven, your captain, was kind of unsettling for us,” Nelsen said. “We were in control up until then. We had a lot of the ball, we had a lot of the possession – this is why the analytical guys will now see we had the possession but we didn’t really do much with it. We didn’t really punish them. We had a couple of really good chances and we left them in the game. Losing Justin kind of disrupted us. We needed some energy, a lift.”
• Said defender Mark Bloom: “Those two guys are crucial to our team. I mean you take our captain and a guy that has played every single game, that is definitely hard. It takes away the heart of our defense but we have the players to cover them and I thought we did well. Unfortunately we gave up two goals.”
• Nelsen indicated both Caldwell and Morrow are likely to be out for the next few weeks. Warren Creavalle is set to return from his hamstring injury and could feature, as well as young Canadian left back Ashtone Morgan. “Everybody’s got an opportunity now to come in,” Nelsen said. “When one door closes, another one opens.”

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The New England Revolution put an end to their brief two-game winless run, getting the game’s only goal for a victory against Chivas USA on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution are in a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 30 points from 24 games.

LAST MATCH

• The game's lone goal came in the 56th minute. Kelyn Rowe and Daigo Kobayashi worked a textbook one-two on the right side, with Rowe charging towards the goal to make a touch pass to Nguyen atop the box where he fired with his right foot, bending his shot high left into the back of the net.
• Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth wasn't greatly troubled in making four saves for the clean sheet, stopping Chivas USA newcomer Felix Borja once in each half on the best chances of the game for the visitors.
• Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made two changes to the team that gained a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers at Gillette Stadium. Darrius Barnes came into the back four for Kevin Alston, and Daigo Kobayashi started in midfield in place of Teal Bunbury.
• NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Bobby Shuttleworth - Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes - Scott Caldwell - Kelyn Rowe (Teal Bunbury 59), Daigo Kobayashi, Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez (Steve Neumann 68) - Charlie Davies (Tony Taylor 81).

TEAM NEWS

• The victory extended the Revolution’s current home undefeated streak to three matches, taking seven of a possible nine points in that time. They hit the road for Toronto FC riding a five-game away losing streak.
• “We went through a tough little stretch but we knew we had the quality here to turn it around. We had that little spell last season but it was more towards earlier in the season. We did well at the beginning to give us a little cushion and now I think we know it’s getting a little tight, close to playoffs. Every game’s going to count going here on forward,” said midfielder Lee Nguyen.
• Nguyen scored his ninth goal of the season as the Revolution took the win against Chivas. Nguyen had scored nine goals total over his first two MLS seasons.
• “To me, he’s just playing great,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “I think tonight he found good pockets. When he gets it off his foot the first time and he finds a second ball … When he does that, the game is his.”
• Added Kelyn Rowe: “People think that Lee wasn’t as good last year. I think he’s just as good. He’s just gotten more chances and I think he’s taken his chances very well this year.”
• Daigo Kobayashi made his first start since July 19, after making four consecutive substitute appearances, and recorded his fourth assist of the season, his first since May 17.
• “I thought Daigo was excellent. He brings an excellent calming presence, and it allows Lee to have an outlet at all times. I thought that was a good combination. I thought Scottie had a really good game, so the three of them worked well,” said Heaps. “Pulling Kelyn wide gives him some opportunities to go one on one, and we really like when he can get one-on-one. It gives us another look and we were happy with the way those three played in the middle.”
• With Kevin Alston out of the side with hamstring tightness, Darrius Barnes made his first start since July 19, his first this season at left back.
• The Revolution recorded a second defensive shutout in the last four games, their first clean sheets since May 11, when they had three in a five-game span.
• “It’s been a tough stretch for us the past couple months. Those are the types of games where, especially at home, we got to grind it out, get three points,” said goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. “I And you know, we did enough. It definitely wasn’t our best stuff but, its three points in the bank and we can look forward to Toronto.”
• The day after the match, the Revolution won the rights to U.S. international midfielder Jermaine Jones, who joined the club for full training in the week leading up to the TFC match.
• “He’s a good player,” midfielder Kelyn Rowe said. “He’s doesn’t lose the ball very often. You see that right away. Obviously, it’s his first training with us and he has to get used to it a little bit, but come next week, come maybe even tomorrow, he’s going to be the best player on the field.”