FOXBORO, MA - JULY 14: Goalkeeper Milos Kocic #30 of Toronto FC has words with Shalrie Joseph #21 of New England Revolution after his goal was disallowed during the second half of Toronto's 1-0 win at Gillette Stadium on July 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
The Revolution lost to Toronto FC for the first time on their home pitch tonight by way of a first half Luis Silva goal that the Revs were unable to answer. Unfortunately, the Revs were unable to conjur any of the magic they've had in recent weeks and could not claw back into the game, though they sure tried, and thus their league-leading unbeaten streak was snapped by the Canadian club. After tonight's result, New England was only able to take 4 points out of a possible 9 from their three-game home stand, and will now head out on the road for their next three games.
The Revs had a first half to forget, which started out on the wrong foot when Stephen McCarthy went down in the second minute after a blow to the head, colliding with forward Ryan Johnson on an aerial ball into the box. Captain Shalrie Joseph, who started the game on the bench after having just come off the injury report at the end of the week, was called up to fill in at center back for the injured McCarthy.
"I think the injury (to Stephen McCarthy) hurt us," said Clyde Simms, who started the game wearing the captain's armband. "We are never ready for a substitution that early in the game, and we have had a lot of continuity with our back four. So I think that threw us off a little bit, and there was a little bit of an adjustment period, switching things around and unfortunately they got the goal in that adjustment period."
Silva's goal came in the 8th minute after the Revolution were unable to clear the ball out of their goal area. The rookie snuck past Shalrie Joseph amidst the panic and put it away with ease. Post-game, defender A.J. Soares pointed to Joseph's unfortunate predicament as a main factor in their first-half woes, saying "t's tough for (Shalrie Joseph) to come in cold, kind of right in the heat of it. Everyone's starting and been warming up super hard and the game always starts fast so it's a really tough situation for him to come in..."
The second half had a much different feel to it, with the Revs playing with markedly more energy and bite, dominating possession (67%) and creating chance after chance (including 11 corners) but all to no avail. New England's newest addition Jerry Bengtson was featured in the second half, replacing an ineffective Blake Brettschneider, but often disappeared and could not seem to find himself at the receiving end of the onslaught of passes from the midfield.
The closest that Bengtson--and the Revs in general--came to scoring an equalizer was in the 84th minute. Chris Tierney played in a corner kick that met the head of the new DP and looked goal-bound but Milos Kocic made an incredible save to deny the header. Benny Feilhaber, however, was able to save the ball from going out of bounds and back-heeled it towards goal. Shalrie Joseph was there to meet it, but unfortunately the only body part he could get to it was his hand and the goal was ultimately disallowed.
"The one thing I do like is that we fight all the way to the last whistle," said Clyde Simms. "We're still creating chances until the last minute, which is a good trait, and we've been fortunate to steal some points back in Toronto and here against Seattle. It's a good trait, but we got to learn as a team how to start off right and play a full 90 minutes."
The Revs will now look ahead to a three-game road trip and hope that they can put together some better performances than tonight's and rack up some much-needed points. The race for the 5th playoff spot in the east should be a fun one to watch as we enter the second half of the season, but if the Revs want to stay in the conversation, they'll need to find some answers to the questions that still remain.