One game, 100 words (or less): Through Jermaine Jones made his Major League Soccer debut, the drama of Saturday’s match was resolved before the U.S. international was subbed on.
With two goals in the first 21 minutes, the visiting Revolution took advantage of a lackadaisical Toronto defense, scoring twice from distance to build an early lead. Seeing little resistance from their hosts, the Revs added a third near the hour, completing an easy 3-0 win at BMO Field.
Toronto FC: None.
New England: Lee Nguyen 2′, Kelyn Rowe 21′, Teal Bunbury 58′
Three moments that mattered:
21′ – More at Bradley’s expense – After opening the scoring through Lee Nguyen in the second minute, New England doubled their lead via Kelyn Rowe, who dribbled past Michael Bradley to create an open shot just outside the Toronto penalty area. Just as on the opener, where Bradley failed to show any urgency to get to a pass from Mark Bloom, Toronto’s biggest star was caught in first gear, with two long shots swaying the match toward New England.
58′ – The final word – It was another play that started with Bradley, though a number of errors occurred after the U.S. star’s contribution to this one. Attempting to switch play just inside New England’s half, Bradley put his pass off Nguyen, with the rebound sparking a New England counter. Moments later, Charlie Davies was playing across the Toronto area to Teal Bunbury, who finished into an empty net to make it 3-0.
65′ – Wasting no time – He’s only been training with New England for four days, but with his team leading 3-0, Jermaine Jones was given room for an extended run out. By the time he stepped onto the field, the game may have been over, but the near-half-hour of playing time will come in handy mid-week. With Scott Caldwell picking up his fifth yellow card, Jones is likely to get his first MLS start on Wednesday against Sporting.
Toronto FC: Joe Bendik; Nick Hagglund, Bradley Orr, Daniel Haber, Mark Bloom; Dominic Oduro (Jackson 68′), Collen Warner, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio (Daniel Lovitz 62′); Luke Moore (Dwayne De Rosario 80′), Gilberto
New England: Bobby Shuttleworth; Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares, José Gonçalves, Darius Barnes; Scott Caldwell; Teal Bunbury (Steve Neumann 65′), Lee Nguyen (Diego Fagundez 76′), Daigo Kobayashi (Jermaine Jones 65′), Kelyn Rowe; Charlie Davies
Three lessons going forward:
1. Michael Bradley is not “best player in CONCACAF, Michael Bradley” right now – At his best, Bradley is in that discussion. Right now, he’s clearly not. Typically so active in all phases, Bradley looked worn out, almost injured at points on Saturday. Unfortunately for Toronto, those points included the day’s first two goals.
2. Kelyn Rowe wide. Again. – Lee Nguyen’s partnership with Daigo Kobayashi has had the benefit of settling which midfielder’s Maverick and which one is Goose. Last year, when Rowe was healthy, it wasn’t as clear. Now, with Rowe back healthy, it’s been difficult to fit him into the team, though Jay Heaps may have found a solution.
Leaving Kobayashi in the middle (as the team’s done over the last two games) preserves Nguyen’s comfort zone, while starting Rowe wide allows New England to leverage his skill as needed. Rather than be a second focal point, Rowe can pick his moments to come in and take advantage of space created by his central partners.
On Saturday, that skill produced the game’s second goal, one that permanently put the match in New England’s control. While other teams could probably use those talents through the middle, for New England, a wide-to-in Rowe can complement what already works.
3. Life without Defoe – We’ve looked at Toronto’s attack sans the former England international before. Today, this absence was glaring. The starting duo of Gilberto and Luke Moore combined for zero shots on target.
Where this leaves them:
- Toronto’s now in the three-way tie for third in the East, one that could be broken if Columbus gets a result at Monday. A New York win (tomorrow) and a Crew result leaves Toronto in sixth place come Monday morning.
- New England is back in the East’s top five. One of three teams with 33 points, the Revs technically sit third thanks to their 10 wins (one more than Toronto; two more than Columbus).