If the New England Revolution do not make the playoffs in the East this season, they will look back as Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 loss at home to Toronto FC as one of the reasons why.
To be a playoff team you have to beat the poorer teams in your conference, especially at home, and the Revs could not do that despite a significant edge in possession throughout the match and registered 15 shots in the second half alone.
TFC, who are looking a much better side under Paul Mariner, took the lead in the eight minute when
clever footwork from Lambe opened up the Revolution’s backline and a one-two with Koevermans sent Luis Silva into the box where he finished low inside the right post.
After taking the lead, Toronto continued to press for a second and threatened on a pair of occasions in the following minutes. Koevermans had only Shuttleworth to beat in the 14th minute but pushed his shot wide, while Ryan Johnson forced Shuttleworth into a smart save at the near post in the 31st minute.
Despite maintaining 64 percent of the possession in the first half, the Revs managed just one shot on target and responded by bringing on new signing Jerry Bengtson at half-time for an ineffective Blake Brettschneider as Jay Heaps went in search of an equalizer.
The move seemed to spark the Revs, who had Lee Nguyen through on goal in the 51st minute only for TFC defender Richard Eckersley to recover late to block the shot.
Nguyen then turned provider in the 64th minute when he slipped Benny Feilhaber into the left side of the box, but Kocic got down well at his near post to stop Feilhaber’s low drive. Kocic came up big twice more in the closing stages, diving to his left to palm away Clyde Simms’ free kick which bounced through the box in the 82nd minute and going to his right to save Bengtson’s powerful header from a Chris Tierney corner kick two minutes later.
The Revs had one final chance during the seven allotted minutes of stoppage time, but Nguyen’s curling free kick from 25 yards bent harmlessly wide of the near post.
The loss ended New England’s five-game unbeaten streak (2-0-3), dating back to June 2 against Chicago. But only two of those five games ended up as wins. New England are drawing games that they should be winning and with three consecutive road games coming up, Heaps and the Revs need to start turning ties into wins if they want to play in the playoffs this season.