New England Soccer Today

Missed Opportunities Lead to Draw

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Juan Agudelo gave the New England Revolution a 32nd minute lead, but Michael Bradley equalized in the 53rd minute for Toronto FC forcing  the Revolution to settle for1-1 draw in front of its largest home crowd of the season, 24,269, on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.

The Revolution outshot Toronto 16 to 9 (9 to 7 in shots on target) and out-possessed the visitors with 58.6% of the possession, but weren’t able to turn those advantages into a victory against a star-studded Toronto team featuring two U.S. National team stars in striker Jozy Altidore and midfielder Bradley, as well as Italian International attacker Giovinco.

“Obviously we’re disappointed with the final result,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “We thought we had enough there and did enough to get through, but you credit a good team and the ‘keeper made some greats. I thought we could’ve done a little bit better to get a goal before half and then there was about 10 minutes there where we were not good enough to start the second half, but after that I thought we reassumed control and ad chances to win.”

New England (5-2-4, 19 points) remains in second place in the Eastern Conference with the tie, while Toronto FC (3-5-1, 10 points) move to fifth. The draw extends the Revolution’s MLS-leading unbeaten run to nine games (5-0-4), while also keeping the team unbeaten in its last 16 home games, including playoffs (11-0-5).

The draw, however, marks the second straight game the Revolution failed to win a match after leading at half time, as the side settled for a 2-2 draw with Orlando City last weekend.

“Our second halves definitely are hurting us,” said Agudelo. “We’ve just got to come out and focus on our second halves, work harder, maybe defend a little bit better, maybe run a little bit more.”

Head coach Jay Heaps made just one change to the line-up that tied 2-2 in Orlando last weekend with Jose Goncalves returning from injury to start at center back allowing Jermaine Jones to move back into the midfield and Andy Dorman going to the bench.

New England first threatened in the third minute after earning a free kick on the left flank. Chris Tierney sent in a cross that was headed out, but only as far as Goncalves, whose volley from outside of the box was tipped by Chris Konopka and still only denied by the post.

Just over a minute later Toronto sliced through the Revolution defense and teed up Michael Bradley for a shot from inside the box. The ball took an odd bounce and Bradley scuffed a shot right at Bobby Shuttleworth, who easily made the save.

Toronto threatened again in the sixth minute when a perfect ball from Damien Perquis near midfield found Giovinco behind the defense. The Italian International cut back and hit a shot towards the near post from just inside the box that beat Shuttleworth but hit the post and stayed out.

Toronto suffered a blow in the 18th minute when Jozy Altidore went down with an injury. Altidore went to the sidelines and was substituted out for Luke Moore in the 21st minute.

A goal kick from Shuttleworth sparked an attack for New England in the 25th minute when Teal Bunbury flicked it on past midfield to Charlie Davies. Davies beat his defender and hit a shot from the right side of the box on frame that Konopka could only push wide with a diving save.

Agudelo finally had the breakthrough for the Revolution in the 32nd minute when London Woodberry played in a perfect cross from the right flank. Agudelo beat his man to the ball and headed past Konopka from close range to make it 1-0.

“It’s a similar play to when Charlie [Davies] scored off a header off London,” said Agudelo, referencing Davies goal against the New York Red Bulls on May 2. “[This time] Charlie made a great run, London played a better ball that went over his head and I was able to be there for my team.”

“Charlie and Juan both made good runs,” said Woodberry. “It was just the type of play where I had a lot of space, got to pick my head up, and got to serve in a good ball with a lot of time on my hands. Kudos to Juan for getting his head on the end of it and notch another assist.”

Searching for an equalizer, Giovinco got in behind to threaten the Revolution net again in the 41st minute, but Shuttleworth denied his effort to keep New England in the lead.

Both sides exchanged early chances in the second half, but the Revolution came closest to scoring in the 50th minute when after some nice passing combinations ended when Lee Nguyen played the ball to Teal Bunbury in the box, who found Charlie Davies making a run into the right side. Davies shot was well saved by Konopka, who pushed it out for a corner. The Revolution couldn’t convert the first corner, but earned a second that Nguyen took and was headed on frame by Agudelo, only to be denied by Konopka.

Three minutes later Toronto would equalize through Bradley after the U.S. international midfielder dribbled through the Revolution defense and into the right side of the box before finishing past Shuttleworth to make it 1-1.

Seconds later New England came close to retaking the lead when Agudelo dribbled behind the defense and got a shot on frame that Konopka again saved.

The back and forth play continued in the 55th minute with Bradley getting in behind the backline  again. This time his shot was saved by Shuttleworth. The rebound fell to Moore for an easy tap-in, but the English striker was ruled offside.

Giovinco continued to cause New England problems in the 66th minute when he got through the Revolution defense and hit a shot on frame that was too close to Shuttleworth, who made the save.

The Revolution had a fantastic opportunity to take the lead in the 85th minute when Nguyen played a perfect defense splitting pass to substitute Andy Dorman making a run into the box. Behind the defense, Dorman tried to slot a shot past Konopka, but was denied by the keeper.

Less than a minute later Bunbury teed up Nguyen with a chance after a Toronto turnover, but Nguyen’s shot to the far post was just wide. Nguyen threatened again in the 91st minute with a shot from outside the box, but Konopka made another diving save and substitute Diego Fagundez headed the rebound high.

A minute later Fagundez had a close range header attempt, but missed just wide as New England was forced to settle for a draw.

The Revolution has a quick turnaround as they head to Kansas City to face Sporting on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

“Forget about this game very fast because the game is coming on Wednesday,” said Goncalves. “It’s coming very fast and it’s a tough one, you know, playing away at Kansas City. It’s a team who are also looking for points. We play at their home and after that we have to turn around very fast [again], so we must make sure that we forget about this game.

“Of course everyone is a little bit unhappy to not be able to score that second goal and win that game, but we must move on, that’s how a great team reacts,” Goncalves continued. “Having a good reaction on Wednesday is going to make everything better.”

Leave a Reply