FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England entered Saturday's 2-0 victory over Toronto FC with a rather peculiar stat in tow: it had not held a halftime lead in its first 11 matches of the season.
A bright opening period against the Reds offered the Revolution a chance to erase that particular mark by the halftime whistle. Diego Fagundez scored the opener after 23 minutes to place the Revolution in position to manage the game from there.
“We started well, which is so important,” Revolution midfielder Chris Tierney told MLSsoccer.com. “We always talk about scoring the first goal, which we did. So that was so important. In this league, if you look at results after the team scores the first goal, it's overwhelming in terms of getting results.”
Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth said the players understood the ramifications of their early advantage and the task ahead of them in the second half.
“Jay (Heaps, Revolution coach) just came in and said we needed to stay focused for the full 90 and allow no letdowns,” Shuttleworth said. “He said the next goal was going to be the big one, obviously. Luckily for us, we were able to keep a clean sheet and then get one at the end.”
Although the Revs conceded more of the ball than they did in the first half and failed to reach those early heights, they nursed the game appropriately and prevented TFC from establishing a foothold in the proceedings.
Tierney said the polished second-half display offered promising signs for the future as the Revs notched their second win in a row and saw out their first halftime lead of the season without a hitch.
“You're not going to have your best stuff all through the game,” Tierney said. “That's soccer. There are waves of momentum. They had their little spell where they put us under pressure, but the key is to make enough plays and to be solid enough when you are not at your best. We were tonight. We took two chances when we had ours. On the whole, I think we deserved to win the game.”