FOXBORO, MA - JUNE 15: Nathan Sturgis #11 of the Toronto FC keeps the ball away from Shalrie Joseph #21 of the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on June 15, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Gail Oskin/Getty Images)
The New England Revolution managed to break their losing streak but were unable to find a victory against Toronto FC tonight as the two sides battled to a scoreless draw. There were chances on both sides but the game was truly characterized by haphazard play and poor decision-making in the final third.
Shalrie Joseph had several chances to get the home team a goal and Rajko Lekic passed up at least one very good opportunity, but Toronto had great difficulty generating offense, with most of their chances coming through Alan Gordon off of corner kicks. Gianluca Savarise was ejected for a second yellow card as well after only 23 minutes of pitch time.
The Revolution had the match's first clear chance just moments into the game. A Chris Tierney corner floated out to the far post about ten yards away where Rajko Lekic was lurking. His free header was accurate, but unfortunately easy for Stefan Frei to catch as he fell to his left.
Kevin Alston nearly scored by accident in the 12th minute when he was sprung on the right by Zak Boggs, but his cross-turned-shot drifted out ahead of an open Lekic and wide of the far post. Three minutes later, Alan Gordon and Joao Plata combined to create Toronto's first real scoring chance. Gordon chested down a good Danleigh Borman long ball and laid it back to Plata, who fired it on goal to the near post, but Matt Reis dropped to his right and parried it away. Two minutes after that, Doneil Henry headed just over from a Nathan Sturgis corner, and the Reds appeared to be applying consistent pressure.
Tierney nearly stole a goal for the Revs in the 20th minute from a ways out. A Reis long ball reached Rajko Lekic, who played it back to the left winger. The Wellesley native wasted no time drilling a knuckling shot from over thirty yards that bent back wickedly toward the near post, forcing Frei to be at his best to knock it wide.
Alston was forced to play the part of a goalkeeper in the 36th minute when Toronto had the chance of the match to that point. Another excellent Sturgis delivery found the head of Gordon, who knocked it down and on frame but it was cleared away by the feet of Alston, who was guarding the post. Gordon then nearly put the Reds ahead one more time in the 39th when he cut across the top of the area and took an angled shot on goal that was caught easily by Reis.
Coach Nicol elected to bring on the pace of Sainey Nyassi at the half in place of Boggs, and the Gambian nearly made something happen in the 50th minute. After receiving the ball out wide, he drilled a hard low ball into Lekic in the area. The Dane controlled it and then laid it back just beyond the top of the area to Shalrie Joseph, who crushed a low drive on frame. Unfortunately, it was also straight at Stefan Frei, and the keeper parried it away before gobbling the rebound.
Rajko Lekic then missed his requisite sitter in the 58th minute. Kevin Alston bamboozled his man on the right side and fought to the byline, where he lofted a high cross to the far post. Lekic waited unmarked and twisted his body to put a side-foot volley on goal, but instead he managed to push it wide of the far post, leaving Revs fans wondering when the goals will come from the goal-poaching striker.
Shalrie Joseph almost set up Lekic again two minutes later, but his header off a long Tierney free-kick was grabbed by Frei just ahead of the striker. Oscar Cordon had a chance for Toronto in the 62nd minute, but after collecting Joao Plata's layoff he just rolled it to Matt Reis instead of putting power on his shot.
In the 70th minute, a Toronto giveaway resulted in a chance for Kenny Mansally, who streaked down the left side toward the area. He squared a ball to the far post for Lekic but it was ahead of his target. Lekic then appeared to show up Mansally a bit in frustration, which was probably unwarranted if indeed that was what he was doing. The striker looped a header over the bar two minutes later after a good cross from Nyassi.
Mickael Yourassowsky saw yellow in the 75th minute for simulation after he dropped as though his foot had been torn off despite there being no real contact from A.J. Soares. Five minutes later, Nyassi found himself flying down the right side but was stonewalled by Danleigh Borman. He regained his feet and the ball, though, cutting into the area and drilling a low shot on goal that was held by Frei.
Alan Gordon headed wide from another Sturgis corner in the 85th minute, and then things got dicey for the Reds. Substitute Gianluca Savarise received two yellow cards in a span of four minutes, one for time-wasting and one for coming in from behind on Shalrie Joseph, resulting in his ejection in the 90th minute.
In added time, Shalrie Joseph met a Kenny Mansally corner and put it on frame but it was deflected away. Two minutes later, the captain found himself teed up by substitute Zack Schilawski and took another crack from distance. This one was high and hard but went over the bar. Referee Ricardo Salazar ruled it a corner, but it didn't appear that Frei touched it and the ensuing foul call on the corner may have been a make-up call.