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."