New England returned home after a three game stretch on the road. Sitting in 10th place prior to the start of the match, the Revs were in need of some points.
The Revolution were still dealing with some injuries as Gustavo Bou was still out of the lineup. That meant that Justin Rennicks got the start as Giacomo Vrioni is still building fitness after his arrival and Jozy Altidore was loaned out. Wilfrid Kaptoum also got the start in place of Arnor Traustason.
Also missing the match was Dylan Borrero who now has missed the last two games. This meant that New England trotted out a more defensive lineup featuring Tommy McNamara, Matt Polster, and Kaptoum. Carles Gil and Sebastian Lletget would be tasked with breaking down Toronto’s defense.
Also all eyes were on Italian stars Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne who started for Toronto.
So what do you need to know about Saturday night’s primetime match? Here are three thoughts.
1 - High Press
It was noticeable from the start of the match that New England was going to employ a high press and to their credit it seemed to be working. While Toronto had some chances, the Revs were able to create turnovers.
It was interesting to see the Revs use this tactic going up against top tier talent like Insigne and Berna with New England being susceptible to allowing goals on the counter.
Part of this also could be due to the Revolution being without Borrero and Bou. Borrero’s speed makes him a weapon on the counter and New England hasn’t been afraid to use his speed to its advantage.
Along with the high press, the Revs were trying to send long balls behind Toronto to get in behind the Canadian team’s backline and hopefully find a goal.
2 - Petro Stays Petroing
Once again Djordje Petrovic had a great performance in net. It can’t be overstated how great of a shot-stopper that he is.
Toronto had a chance to turn the match in their favor with a goal late in the first half but Petrovic knew when to come off of his line and made a point-blank save. In the second half, Petrovic took his performance to another level.
First, he made another quality save in the second half on Insigne that showed off his athleticism. The cherry on top for Petrovic was a superb penalty kick stop on the Italian.
The Serbian goalkeeper recorded his third clean sheet in what has already been an impressive MLS career. While only 22 years old, Petrovic has been a key player for New England ever since he joined the team. He has kept the Revolution in games and salvaged points for his new club.
3 - Center back showing
New England’s center backs had a quality showing. The fact that they were able to hold a high-powered attack like Toronto’s to no goals is quite impressive.
Farrell and Kessler did a good job of putting out fires. They made sure that balls didn’t go into the box and headed them away and Kessler continued to show that he has some pace to close down on balls and gain possession.
Kessler and Farrell are finally starting to string games together and they are improving with every match. If these two can continue to play well, New England will be a much tougher team to beat.
But while three points would have been preferred, the Revs will be holding their heads high after salvaging a point on Saturday night and all the credit goes to Petrovic.