Saturday, 1 p.m. - Toronto FC (3W 4L 1D, 10PTS 3rd Eastern Conference) vs. New England Revolution (2W 2D 5L, 8PTS tied for 4th place, Eastern Conference) at BMO Field.
All time record: New England have won half the teams' eight meetings, while Toronto have won once; they've tied three times.
What’s at Stake?
Toronto can solidify their hold on third place and create some distance with a win in this important Eastern Conference matchup. The Reds will be glad to see some home cooking after coming off of a tiring yet successful three-game seven-day road trip. TFC followed up a 1-0 win at Montreal in a Nutrilite Canadian Championship match on May 12 with an impressive scoreless draw at Los Angeles last weekend and another scoreless draw Wednesday night in NCC action in Vancouver. Following the game, leading scorer Dwayne De Rosario headed to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to join Canada before its friendly vs. No. 7-ranked Argentina on May 24. He and his six MLS goals will be missed, so it will be up to Chad Barrett and O’Brian White to pick up the scoring slack. Also out will be DP Julian de Guzman, who’s still ailing from a hamstring injury.
New England, meanwhile are on a six-game winless streak and need a win to stop a slide down the conference standings. Their last win, ironically, came against Toronto way back on April 10 in a memorable game at Gillette Stadium that saw Zack Schilawski score his first career hat trick. Since then, the club has gone 0-4-2 scoring only twice, while conceding 12 goals. On Wednesday, the Revs lost 4-0 to Portugal’s Benfica in an international friendly at Gillette Stadium. The Toronto game is the first of two against teams above them in the conference, so New England will have an opportunity gain some ground. First, they will have to overcome a more solid Toronto defense that has come together over the last few games and conceded no goals in its last three games.
The last meeting between the two was a match Toronto would like to forget. Arguably one of the lowest points in TFC’s four-year history, the Reds gave up three goals in 19 minutes in a horrendous second half to turn a lead into a 4-1 blowout loss. Toronto’s defense completely fell apart with giveaways, bad decisions and mistakes, helping Schilawski record his hat trick. Toronto played well in the opening half and were rewarded when De Rosario opened the scoring in the 28th minute to give TFC a lead which they held heading into halftime. Then, everything collapsed – Schilawski capitalized on the first of many mistakes to score in the 47th, 51st and 58th minutes and give the Revolution the lead. Sainey Nyassi then added an insurance marker in the 66th minute to complete the crazy comeback.
Heroes and Villains
Toronto’s offense vs. Preston Burpo: Without De Rosario, Toronto FC will be in tough to score. Striker Chad Barrett has played well of late and will be the go-to guy in DeRo’s absence. It’ll be up to the midfield, minus an injured de Guzman, to give Barrett and O’Brian White the service they need, otherwise it will be an easy afternoon for the New England 'keeper.
New England’s offense vs. Toronto FC’s defense: The pressure is squarely on the Revs offense to pick it up. Since his hat trick against Toronto, Schilawski has only scored once for an offense that has gone missing of late. The task will be even tougher against a Toronto defense that has come together well since that April debacle, led by the strong play of Canadian international Nana Attakora. It’s highly unlikely the defense will make the mistakes that led to the Revs’ four goals, so Steve Nicol’s side will have to find some other way to breakdown Toronto’s defense if it hopes to stop its skid.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm”
De Rosario has figured into TFC’s nine of 11 goals with six goals and three assists
He said it
“I think all we’ve got to do is just continue what we’ve been doing the last game [a 0-0 draw to San Jose]. Last two games, I think we’ve really stepped up our game. We’ve got to be so loose and play as a team. And hopefully if we get that, we might get something.” – Revs’ midfielder Sainey Nyassi on the pivotal matchup against Toronto.