If the New England Revolution want to lift a trophy at the end of the 2021 MLS season they needed to beat Toronto FC.
Toronto just fired their head coach and has been having a very underwhelming season. Even with Matt Turner and Tajon Buchanan away with their national teams New England should beat a team of this caliber.
The Revolution looked a little different on Wednesday night as instead of a 4-2-3-1, New England brought back the 4-4-2. This meant that Adam Buksa would make his long awaited return to the starting XI.
Also of note is the fact that with Turner away, Brad Knighton got the start in net while Teal Bunbury also replaced Tommy McNamara.
While the weather prior to the game was looking nice, clouds descended on Gillette Stadium and would be a factor as the night progressed. The game was delayed for nearly an hour and a half due to lightning and rain in the area.
So what do you need to know about Wednesday’s performance against Toronto FC? Here are three thoughts.
1 - We miss Matt Turner
Every Revolution fan knew that life without Matt Turner was going to be much different but Wednesday’s game got off to a rough start.
Once again direct balls over the top continued to be a problem for New England. In the 9th minute a long ball was headed towards Brad Knighton and it appeared like he was going to clear the ball or simply secure the ball in the box.
But Knighton misjudged the trajectory of the ball and Yeferson Soteldo was able to get past Knighton and score the first goal of the game.
While it might be one game, it will be interesting to see if the Revs give Earl Edwards Jr. a shot or try riding things out with Knighton.
But it’s clear that life without Turner is going to be much more difficult than Revolution fans are used to and the team as a whole will need to step up their play.
2 - 4-2-2 ain’t for you
While the first goal might have been on Knighton, the same can’t be said for all of them. Particularly the second goal in the 15th minute was a defensive breakdown.
Some might say that Knighton could have done better but when you allow an odd-man advantage it’s hard to blame the keeper. Toronto took advantage of a 3-on-2 and all of a sudden they were up 2-0.
Revolutions noticed before the game that the team was in the 4-4-2 and it seemed like that might have played a role in the goal. Brandon Bye and Gil were pressing forward and this left the two center backs all alone.
Wednesday night seemed to be the final straw for the 4-4-2. New England switched to a 4-2-3-1 and was able to get much more going on the attack.
If the formation can’t succeed against Toronto, it’s hard to think that it will work on any other team.
3 - Just hand Carles Gil the MVP Award
Probably the only highlight on the night came from Carles Gil. He was making magic once again and it eventually paid off.
Gil was able to earn a free kick from a dangerous spot and would eventually slot home a beautiful goal. It’s Gil’s second goal of the season and his first non-pk goal since 2019.
Once again Gil showed how valuable he is to New England. When everyone else is struggling he is still able to create a spark and get the attack going.
Wednesday was a grim reminder that the Revolution need to be much better with Buchanan and Turner with their national teams. If they don’t, New England could start to fall in the standings.