Talk about snatch and grab at Gillette Stadium last night. Toronto FC rode a second minute goal from Matias Laba and some terrific goalkeeping from Joe Bendik to pick up an unlikely three points last night.
New England coach Jay Heaps must still be wondering how his side did not win this game. In the opening 30 minutes, New England alone had two shots cleared off the line and Saër Sène missed a chance that he has to bury.
Overall the Revolution, who had almost 64% of the possession in the game, out-shot Toronto 17-6 but they could not find a way past a packed TFC defense.
In the last 15 minutes Heaps even went to a 3-4-3 formation in an attempt to find the tying goal, bringing on Chad Barrett for McCarthy, but for all the possession the Revs lacked that bit of class to unlock the Toronto defense.
Jay Heaps spoke about the tactical change after the game saying:
We made a few changes positionally—pushed Saer (Sene) a little higher, tried to talk about where we could get him the ball more dangerously. As the half went on, we were talking more about what we would need to do to go to a 3-5-2 – it was more like a 3-4-3 – but to try to get more guys around the box for opportunities. We had chances. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t our night.
[The goal of the formation change was] To get a goal. We practice these things – game situations. It’s all semantics, the starting points. It was just a matter of taking [Stephen McCarthy] off, getting another player on the field that can score. Chad Barrett, we thought was going to give us a good opportunity. I thought that Chad went in and fought well. Unfortunately, our final pass was – I thought in the first half our final balls were good. I think they had two balls they threw off the line. I credit their defenders because their defenders made a couple good plays and their goalkeeper made a couple good saves. That’s not easy to do, and they did it and we didn’t.”
When you play a team that just sits back and defends it is really difficult to break them down through the middle. You have to use the width of the pitch to get behind the defense but New England did not get enough good crosses in to really trouble the Toronto defense.
The defeat keeps New England 3 points back of Houston for the final playoff spot in the east, and you just get the felling that is how the final standings will look. New England has had some chances in the last month to move ahead of Houston, but have been unable to do so, despite this being the easiest stretch of their season, at least on paper.