Toronto FC’s unbeaten run halted in brutal fashion


New England Revolution's Juan Agudelo (17) celebrates his goal with teammate Diego Fagundez (14) in front of Toronto FC's Chris Mavinga. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

• MLS – Toronto FC 0, New England Revolution 3 (Angoua 17’, Fagundez 66’, Agudelo 85’)


A week after thrashing Columbus without two of their designated players, TFC was again minus two DPs on Saturday, but this time their depth players couldn’t bail them out as their franchise-record unbeaten run came to an end.


Well, it had to end sometime, didn’t it?

Toronto’s eight-game unbeaten run in MLS was brutally halted on Saturday in New England, a place where it has only won twice in 13 previous visits. Not even the return of Sebastian Giovinco, making his fist league start since May 3, could help keep the streak alive.

Coach Greg Vanney was forced into making four changes from last week’s win over Columbus due to international absences (Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco), suspension (Marky Delgado) and injury (Tosaint Ricketts). Giovinco also came in for Ben Spencer.

All those changes, the fact this match came at the end of a punishing stretch of the schedule, and uncharacteristic erratic defensive play (and not just from the back three) played a part in the Reds suffering their heaviest defeat and putting in their poorest performance of the season thus far. Except for a lack of finishing by the Revolution in the first half, and a goal by Kelyn Rowe that was incorrectly ruled offside, the damage could have been much worse.

Toronto also compounded its misfortunes in the first half when it failed to capitalize on several scoring chances. Victor Vazquez failed to bury a header off a cross from Raheem Edwards played to the far post, Justin Morrow’s angled shot from in close hit the woodwork, and Armando Cooper’s long-range effort clanged off the crossbar.

It’s a game of small margins sometimes – Toronto was reminded of that in New England.


66’ GOAL! Toronto 0-2 New England: Up a goal and dictating the pace of the game, the Revs doubled their advantage on a great play started by Diego Fagundez in his end of the field. The New England speedster went on a run down the middle, and then slipped Juan Agudelo on goal, before receiving a return pass and beating TFC goalkeeper Alex Bono with a shot from just inside the box. Fagundez’s strike marked the first time the Reds trailed by two goals in a game this season. There was no way back for Toronto after that.


Would things have been any different for Toronto with Altidore and Bradley?
It was suggested to me by a few people on Twitter that one of the main reasons why TFC lost this game was because they released their two DPs to play for the U.S. against Venezuela in a friendly on Saturday night. That’s harsh, and such criticism misses the mark by some distance. No doubt they are key figures for the Reds, who could’ve badly used Bradley’s steely presence in midfield and Altidore partnering Giovinco up front. But the absence of their two American stars was the least of TFC’s problems on this night.

Defensively, this was a poor outing by Toronto, with Chris Mavinga and Drew Moor exposed by New England’s speed on more than one occasion. Benoit Cheyrou and Victor Vazquez had off nights, with the Frenchman unable to properly shield the back three, and Vazquez sloppy in possession at times. The attack was also far too narrow, and lacked width – too many times Toronto tried to go right down the middle, instead of spreading the play out to the flanks.


The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for Toronto, who don’t return to MLS action until June 17 when they host D.C. United. The Reds are coming off a hectic May that saw them play eight games across two competitions, with their roster depth tested and taxed. TFC is facing another gruelling five-games-in-two-weeks stretch after this break, which will allow them to rest up, give guys a chance to heal and recuperate from small niggling injuries. They need this time off to rest and mentally reset after what has been an incredibly busy first three months of the season.


New England is now unbeaten in 11 consecutive home games, a streak that dates back to last August and has seen the Revolution outscore their opponents 29-7.


Juan Agudelo, New England: Talk about being an impact sub! The young forward entered the game in the 61st minute and helped bolster a Revolution attack that was already causing TFC plenty of problems. Five minutes after stepping onto the pitch, Agudelo went on a run down the middle before holding up the ball and setting up Diego Fagundez, who made it 2-0 for the Revs. Then in injury time, Agudelo was in the right place at the right time as he headed home after Fagundez hit the crossbar in consecutive attempts.

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