The post Jay Heaps era of the New England Revolution got off to a great start as they beat the top team in the Eastern Conference, Toronto FC 2-1, Saturday.
Both teams came out of the gate slow and defensive. The first half was mostly dominated by Toronto, who had a goal called back in the 23rd minute when Tosaint Ricketts slotted the ball into the Revolution net, but was called offside.
The tides flipped for the second half, and the Revolution went out on the front foot, producing more offensive chances. A goal was beckoning, but Toronto FC’s keeper Clint Irwin held strong. In the 64th minute, Lee Nyguen replaced Teal Bunbury, a change that would prove to be decisive.
After showing few signs of life, the game opened up in the 82nd minute. Chris Tierney played a long through ball into the box that scooped up by Lee Nguyen, who slotted it in near the post to give the Revolution the 1-0 lead. Toronto FC’s Irwin dove the wrong way on the shot as it was deflected by defender Drew Moor.
The celebrations were short-lived however, as Toronto FC pulled even just two minutes later. Michael Bradley played a looping long ball into the box that was found by Nicolas Hasler. Hasler volleyed it into the far post side netting past a stunned Cody Cropper to make it 1-1 in the 84th minute.
However, the Revolution did not have to hold their heads down for long. They continued to press Toronto, eventually earning a corner in the 87th minute. The corner when short, and Lee Nguyen crossed the ball into the box. His cross was met by a leaping Kei Kamara, who over powered Toronto’s Moor to fire home a header to make it 2-1 Revolution.
There were many questions floating in the air as the Revolution went into this game. With a new interim coach, coming off of an atrocious road trip, not many knew what to expect from this game. However, the Revolution came out strong and battled out a great three points against the best team in the MLS this season. With Antonio Mlinar Delamea and Cropper back, the Revolution looked much better in defence. Diego Fagundez also had a great game, creating many chances and running the attack up until he was taken off in the 85th minute.
The Revolution remained in eight place after this victory, and sit six points off the final playoff spot. The New York Red Bulls, who occupy that final spot, have two games in hand on the Revolution.
The Revolution’s next game is on Wednesday Sept. 27th at 7:30 pm in Orlando against Orlando City.