New England Soccer Today

Controversial Goal Gives Revs the Edge

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution finished the season on a high note with a controversial 1-0 victory against Toronto FC in front of their largest crowd of the season.

Lee Nguyen strengthened his case for MLS MVP with his 18th goal of the season in the 35th minute, including 12 in his final 14 games.  However, the only goal in the match was marred in controversy as Toronto FC players appeared to stop playing, as the linesman raised his flag signaling for offsides, but referee Ricardo Salazar ruled to play on.

Chris Tierney appeared offside when a chipped pass came to him down the left flank, but the Salazar overruled the linesman.  The pass, which was deflected by Toronto forward Dominic Oduro, was ruled to have been intentionally passed back, which cancelled the offsides ruling.  Tierney crossed the ball low into the box to the feet of Nguyen, who shot past a pair of confused Toronto FC defenders.  After the game, Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney called the ruling “an emotional kick in the groin.”

Prior to the goal, Toronto FC had the better opportunities with Bobby Shuttleworth making a save on Daniel Lovitz and Gilberto hitting the crossbar in his only shot of the match.  However, any momentum Toronto had built early in the match quickly escaped with Nguyen’s goal.

The Revolution also started the second half with an excellent chance when Kelyn Rowe forced a turnover in the Toronto FC box and centered to Nguyen.  Nguyen, standing around the edge of the 18 yard box, curled a shot past Toronto FC keeper Joe Bendik, but just to the left of goal.

With the second seed in the Eastern Conference locked up, the Revolution made scheduled changes, taking out Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones in the 62nd and 67th minute, respectively.  Without their key players, Toronto seemingly gained control of the match, spending most of the final 30 minutes pushing for an equalizer.  Their best opportunity came when substitute Luke Moore found space deep in the box and headed a short-range shot, but Bobby Shuttleworth tipped the ball over the bar, preserving the lead and the clean sheet.

The Revolution controlled the final 10-15 minutes of the match with a number of chances, none bigger than a Rowe breakaway, where Rowe chipped the keeper, but put the ball over the crossbar as well.  Despite chances from both sides and five shots on target combined in the second half, neither team found the net and the Revolution preserved just their second 1-0 victory of the year.

Shuttleworth recorded his eighth shutout on the season and second consecutive shutout in as many games against Toronto FC.  Shuttleworth finishes the regular season second in the MLS with victories in the season with 16, only trailing Seattle’s Stephen Frei (19).

Andy Dorman also made his return as a substitute in the 67th minute, marking his first match since July 12th.  After the match, Revolution coach stated that Dorman appeared to be back in rhythm towards the end of the game, and stated the importance Dorman will play heading into the playoffs, giving the Revolution strong depth at midfield.

Also of note is the first start for winger Diego Fagundez, who played the full 90 minutes and registered two shots, though both were off target.  Fagundez had an excellent chance in the second half when he gathered a loose ball in the box and had a clear path to goal, but a bad angle forced him to slide a shot wide of the far post.  It marked the first start and only second appearance for Fagundez in the last five games.  Despite note being able to find the net, Heaps praised Fagundez’s ability to pressure Toronto’s possession on Saturday night.

The Revolution also played in front of 32,766 fans in attendance, marking the third-largest crowd for a Revolution game at Gillette Stadium and a 36.7 percent increase over their previous season high of 23,950.

The win builds some momentum for the Revolution as their finish the regular season on a 9-1-1 run over their previous eleven matches.  The Revolution will wait to see the results of tomorrow’s match to see where they will travel next weekend for the first leg of the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinals.

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