New England Soccer Today

Reds Shock Revs

Shalrie Joseph was forced into emergency duty at center back eight minutes into the match on Saturday. (Photo: Kari Heistad)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Rookie Luis Silva scored in the eighth minute for the visiting Toronto FC and the Reds held on to win 1-0 over the New England Revolution on Saturday night in front of 12,180 at Gillette Stadium.

The Revs (6-8-4, 22 points) were riding a five game unbeaten streak and entered as favorites heading into the match against Toronto FC (4-11-4, 16 points), but an early collision forced Stephen McCarthy out of the match with concussion-like symptoms in just the 6th minute, pushing captain Shalrie Joseph, who started the match on the bench, into emergency duty at center back.

“It’s a tough one getting hit like that,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “Hit with an early sub early really changes what you need to do the rest of the game and how you utilize your subs. The shape at the end got too narrow. They packed it in and we couldn’t break them down wide. Credit them: they defended all their set pieces well and we had a lot of them. They did a nice job on all the crosses.”

Toronto took advantage of the confusion the defensive switch caused and grabbed the lead in the 8th minute through Silva. After a nice build-up through Danny Koevermans, Silva, a 23-year-old rookie found a seam in the Revs defense and slotted a shot past Bobby Shuttleworth to put the visitors ahead.

“(Losing Stephen McCarthy) hurt us,” said left back Chris Tierney. “We kind of lost our rhythm after that. To start the game, I thought we were OK and then he went down and it took us a little while to get (Shalrie Joseph) on. He’s obviously a fantastic player, and credit to him for coming in cold, but it threw our rhythm off and we had to adjust from there. We should have been able to get the job done and we didn’t.”

Toronto then had a pair of chances to add to their lead. First Koevermans came close for the visitors in the 14th minute after getting a step on Joseph and being played behind the defense by Ashtone Morgan. Koevermans ran in on goal, but sent his shot wide of the far post.

Sixteen minutes later it was Jamaican International and Melrose (Mass.) High School alumni Ryan Johnson with a good opportunity to add to the Reds advantage. The former Cape Cod Crusader forward got behind the defense after Kevin Alston missed an interception, but Johnson couldn’t direct his shot on frame.

“Obviously we want to be better in the first half,” said center back A.J. Soares. “Over the 90 minutes we’re confident that we’re going to score more goals than them but tonight it just didn’t happen.”

Toronto suffered a blow when their leading scorer, Koevermans was forced to leave the match in the 41st minute with an injury and the Canadian club moved into even more of a defensive shell to compensate.

The Revs came out in the second half with renewed energy and had a great chance in the 51st minute when Saer Sene sent Lee Nguyen down the left flank with a pass from near midfield. Nguyen ran in on goal, but Toronto defender Richard Eckersley slid in at the last second to block his shot.

Despite the extra effort to get forward in the second period, the Revs attacks were disrupted by Toronto’s tactical fouls. The Reds out-fouled the Revs 15 to five in the match.

“They’re at the bottom of the table trying to make their way up and we’re fighting to get into playoff position,” said Revs midfielder Clyde Simms. “It’s the last half of the season; the games are going to get tight and chippy. I think it’s good, and if we can somehow make our way into the playoffs we’ll be used to those types of games and we’ll have an advantage.”

And, Toronto was still dangerous on counterattacks. Johnson wasted another gilt-edged chance on the in the 74th minute. This time the speedy forward got behind the defense after the Revs failed to deal with a cross and Silva nodded the ball forward. Johnson attempted to volley a shot on frame, but sent it high of the net.

The Revs would have a pair of late opportunities, but couldn’t beat goalkeeper Milos Kocic. Clyde Simms nearly scored a fluke equalizer in the 82nd minute with a cross into the box from the left flank. Simms effort eluded all the Revs attackers, but nearly snuck in the near post with goalkeeper Milos Kocic tipping it just wide.

New England put the pressure on once more with an 84th minute corner kick and halftime substitute Jerry Bengtson’s header off a Tierney corner kick was saved by Kocic. The rebound found to Benny Feilhaber, who back heeled the ball back towards goal. Joseph jumped up and missed the ball with his head, but knocked it in with his hand, earning a yellow card for his efforts.

“I think it was Chris (Tierney) that whipped in a great set piece… Bengtson did well to get a flick on, I thought it went if for sure,” said Joseph. “I think we all were celebrating, it was such a great header. The keeper made and unbelievable save and then Benny (Feilhaber) did so well to get to the ball. He back heeled it.

“I thought it was going in, but when he back heeled it, it was a little bit high,” continued Joseph. “I was just trying to get a body part on it. It was a little bit too high for and the only thing I could get on it was my hand, so I tried to sneak one in, but it didn’t work out for me.”

Despite seven minutes of stoppage time, 11 second half corner kicks and eight second half free kicks, the Revs were unable to take advantage.

“The set pieces were not good enough all the way around,” said Heaps. “It was very disappointing. Corner kicks I thought were OK, but when we’re talking about free kicks, the chances we had were short, they were over. That to me is disappointing.”

The Revs return to action on Wednesday, traveling to face the Montreal Impact at 8 p.m.

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