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Revolution Defense Stands Tall Against Giovinco, Altidore

You raise us a Giovinco and Altidore? We raise you a Goncalves, Farrell, Hall, and Tierney.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the New England Revolution's 3-1 victory over Toronto FC, a great deal of the conversation surrounded how the back-line would handle the incisiveness of Giovinco and guile of Jozy Altidore.

However, the Designated Player duo was essentially negated on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium. Both played limited minutes - the American received a red card in the 39th minute and the Italian was subbed off at halftime - and posed little danger during their time on the field.

"Our game plan defensively to deal with Giovinco and when you're dealing with him, you have to deal with Altidore as well," Heaps said. "We felt good with how we handled him and I think we limited [Giovinco] to what ended up being 13 touches in the first half, and probably for me 13 too many, but at the same he's so good and you have to deal with him. He's that good and I watched a lot of film on that guy over the last 72 hours, and he's...as good as they get."

The game plan was effective from a visual standpoint, as Bobby Shuttleworth's goal was rarely threatened, but the stats also back up just how defensively sound New England was on the evening. Giovinco and Altidore could only complete nine successful passes, with the former attempting one shot off target.

As a result, Toronto was toothless in attack and struggled to get much going in the offensive third. Outside of a Jonathan Osorio tally in the 75th minute, the Reds' dangerous chances were few and far between.

"We knew exactly what we had to do in our part of the field and we knew also what we had to do when we had the ball," Jose Goncalves said. "Everyone executed his job very well and it makes things easier and that's why we scored two goals in the first half."

While the defense completed their designated job first and foremost, they also played a significant role in the attack. As a result of the red card, Toronto sat deep in defense, trying to lessen the bleeding and keep the scoreline respectable.

That in turn provided players like Goncalves, Andrew Farrell, Jeremy Hall, and Chris Tierney with ample time and space to build the attack from the back. The aforementioned quartet did just that, as they completed a combined 185 passes, allowing the Revs to extend their lead and cruise to a crucial three points in Eastern Conference play.

"We had to keep playing fast, move the ball around, make sure that they cannot put pressure on us because they had one man down," Goncalves said. "We could not relax and just wait and see what happens."