The New England Revolution climbed to the second spot in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win over Toronto FC at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, on Saturday. It was the Revolution's first-ever victory at BMO Field and extended New England's unbeaten streak to four games.
New England (4-3-2, 14 pts.) now stand sixth in MLS. Toronto (3-4-0, 9 pts.), who invested heavily in players Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe in the off season, fell to seventh in the East and 12th overall.
Kevin Alston returned from suspension to start at left back, but was subbed out with a left hamstring injury in the 36th minute and replaced by Chris Tierney. In just his second start, rookie Patrick Mullins, who scored the equalizer, started on top in place of Jerry Bengtson. Unavailable due to injury were Jose Goncalves (R quadriceps strain), Shalrie Joseph (L calf strain), Kelyn Rowe (L hamstring strain) and Saer Sene (L quadriceps strain).
Jackson put Toronto ahead 1-0 early in the sixth minute, but Mullins scored his first professional goal in the 24th minute, assisted by Daigo Kobayashi. Mullins' left-footed 20-yard shot confounded TFC and Brazil national team starting goalkeeper Julio Cesar and leveled the score 1-1. In the 82nd minute, midfielder Lee Nguyen converted his third penalty kick in as many games after Doneil Henry handled Mullins’ shot to give New England the 2-1 win.
"We wanted [Mullins'] tactical sense and his hold up play up front, those were two things that really stood out for us up front today," said head coach Jay Heaps. "We have played him out on the wing a bit and up top and his hold up play has really helped us dictate the games. He also had a great strike of the ball today, very pleased."
Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth recorded two saves in his fourth win this season and the 17th of his career.
"I think we have a good group of guys that can adapt as we go along," said Shuttleworth. "We’ve got guys who can play football and guys who can battle."
The Revolution will next host U.S. National Team captain and former Revolution star Clint Dempsey and Seattle Sounders on Sunday, May 11, at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet.
TFC – Jackson (Gilberto) 6
NE – Patrick Mullins (Daigo Kobayashi) 24
NE – Lee Nguyen (penalty) 82
New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth, Kevin Alston (Chris Tierney 35), A.J. Soares, Andrew Farrell, Darrius Barnes, Diego Fagundez (Steve Neumann 77), Lee Nguyen, Andy Dorman ©, Daigo Kobayashi (Scott Caldwell 57), Teal Bunbury, Patrick Mullins
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton, Charlie Davies, Stephen McCarthy, Jerry Bengtson
STATS: Shots 14, Shots on target 5, Saves 2, Corner kicks 1, Offsides 0, Fouls 13, Possession 39.9%, Passes 342 (74.6%)
Toronto FC: Julio Cesar, Justin Morrow, Doneil Henry, Mark Bloom (Dwayne De Rosario 87), Steven Caldwell ©, Jonathan Osorio, Jackson (Issey Nakajima-Farran 78), Kyle Bekker (Alvaro Rey 68), Michael Bradley, Gilberto, Jermain Defoe
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Bendik, Nick Hagglund, Bradley Orr, Andrew Wiedeman
STATS: Shots 15, Shots on target 3, Saves 3, Corner kicks 4, Offsides 0, Fouls 18, Possession 60.1%, Passes 529 (82.0%)
TFC – Jackson (caution) 43
TFC – Michael Bradley (caution) 58
NE – Diego Fagundez (caution) 75
NE – Scot Caldwell (caution) 92+
Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referees: Joe Fletcher (AR1), Gianni Facchini (AR2)
Fourth Official: Mathieu Bourdeau
New England Revolution: 4-3-2, 14 pts.
Toronto FC: 3-4-0, 9 pts.