August 30, the New England Revolution hammered out a tie with lowly Toronto FC at BMO Field in Ontario, Canada, for a crowd of 18,623. Toronto's play was thuggish from early on, but referee Fotis Bazakas did little to rein them in.
"We came out and played really good soccer in the first 5 minutes and we wanted to continue, but they did a good job of preventing us from playing our soccer and they played very well," said defender A.J. Soares. "They are a professional team and they are going to come at us."
With the draw, New England (10-9-7, 37 pts.) remain in the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and Toronto (4-12-10, 22 pts.) remain ninth in the East and 17th overall.
Revolution head coach Jay Heaps started the same line-up as in the two previous games.
New England started brightly with Kelyn Rowe breaking through multiple defenders to attack the net and Diego Fagundez tapping in the ball for a 1-0 lead in just the second minute. It was the team-leading ninth goal for Fagundez, who also has six assists, and the team-leading seventh assist for Rowe, who also has five goals.
But things fell to pieces quickly for New England, as Toronto responded by taking down players with unpunished fouls and the Revolution fell short in achieving any kind of constructive possession. In first half stoppage time, New England's defense repeatedly froze like a herd of deer in headlights and Andrew Wiedeman, assisted by Doneil Henry, provided the equalizing goal.
"We were very disappointed we did not win the game but we are happy we are now at a level where we are disappointed about not winning games on the road," said Soares. "We have taken seven points out of our last three games, so if you were to offer that beforehand we would have taken it. It wasn’t the way we wanted to play the game but we defended well, had some good moments, but sometimes that is what you got to do."
The Revs return to action next Sunday when they host No. 1 in the East, the Montreal Impact, at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and Comcast SportsNet will televise the game.
NE – Diego Fagundez (Kelyn Rowe) 2
TOR – Andrew Wiedeman (Doneil Henry) 47+
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, Andrew Farrell, Chad Barrett (Dimitry Imbongo 59) Lee Nguyen Scott Caldwell, Kelyn Rowe, Diego Fagundez (Charlie Davies 89), Juan Agudelo (Saer Sene 78)
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Andy Dorman, Stephen McCarthy, Darrius Barnes
STATS: Shots 7, Shots on Target 2, Corner Kicks 2, Saves 0, Fouls 16, Offsides 1, Passes 369 (77.0%), Possession 48.9%
Toronto FC: Joseph Bendik, Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Richard Eckersley, Reggie Lambe (Alvaro Rey 87), Jonathan Osorio, Jeremy Hall, Bobby Convey, Andrew Wiedeman, Robert Earnshaw (Maximiliano Urruti 78)
Substitutes Not Used: Stefan Frei, Jonas Elmer, Gale Agbossoumonde, Darel Russell, Justin Braun
STATS: Shots 11, Shots on Target 1, Corner Kicks 6, Saves 1, Fouls 12, Offsides 3, Passes 375 (76.8%), Possession 51.1%
NE – Lee Nguyen (caution) 31
NE – Diego Fagundez (caution) 54
TOR – Steve Caldwell (caution) 68
NE – Scott Caldwell (caution) 74
TOR – Ashtone Morgan (caution) 75
TOR – Doneil Henry (caution) 86
NE – Dimitry Imbongo (caution) 87
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistant Referees: Philippe Briere (AR1), Scott Kachmarik (AR2)
Fourth Official: Ted Unkel
New England Revolution – 10-9-7 (37 pts.)
Toronto FC – (4-12-10, 22 pts)
· With the tie, the Revs moved into sole possession of the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference
· Friday’s game in Toronto marked the first time Jay Heaps has sent out the same starting lineup in three consecutive games. The last time the Revs sent out the same lineup in three consecutive games was from May 14-28, 2011
· Diego Fagundez scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season against Toronto on Friday
· Fagundez now has nine goals and six assists on the season
· Kelyn Rowe recorded his team-leading seventh assist on Friday … Rowe now has five goals and seven assists on the season
· Friday also marked three straight games where Rowe has recorded at least one point
· Matt Reis made his third consecutive start on Friday against Toronto