Toronto FC end losing streak with victory over Revs

Toronto FC midfielder Ralph Priso, left, controls a pass past FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano Acosta during the second half of an MLS football game on Saturday June 26, 2021 at Orlando, Florida. Toronto FC kick off the post-Chris Armas era against the New England Revolution on Wednesday, seeking to end a six-game losing streak that resulted in a change of coach at the weekend. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS / AP / Phelan M. Ebenhack

FOXBOROUGH, Mass .– Yeferson Soteldo and Kemar Lawrence scored their first goals for Toronto FC, helping the waning MLS team end a six-game losing streak with a relentless 3-2 win over New England Revolution Wednesday.

Tsubasa Endoh also scored for Toronto (2-8-2), scoring his first goal of the season. Carles Gil and Adam Buksa answered for New England (7-3-3), Buksa’s 78th-minute header creating a tense final as the Revs recovered from an early 3-0 deficit.

New England put the pressure on with a series of late corners, but TFC held on for six minutes of added time. Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono retained the victory with a save in the 95th minute.

Assistant coach Javier Perez was in charge of Toronto, who fired first-year coach Chris Armas following Saturday’s 7-1 loss to DC United. It is the heaviest defeat in club history.

New England dominated Toronto 21-11, although TFC had a 7-6 lead in shots on target.

Wednesday’s big game featured two teams at different ends of the Eastern Conference. Toronto entered the contest mired in the league’s basement and winless in Sept. They were 19 points behind New England at kick-off and placed last in the 27-team league in defense, conceding 2.45 goals per game.

Toronto’s only other league win this season came on May 12, a 2-0 victory over defending champion Columbus.

New England, who entered the game as the only MLS team to drop points at home this season, were looking to tie a club record with an eighth straight home win. The Revs hadn’t lost at home since their 2-1 loss to Philadelphia on October 19.

But it was the TFC who took the lead in a game delayed by almost 90 minutes due to lightning near Gillette Stadium. With captain Michael Bradley, Alejandro Pozuelo and Soteldo pulling the strings and moving the ball quickly, Toronto has opened New England on several occasions.

Spain’s TFC playmaker Pozuelo and Venezuelan international winger Soteldo started together for the first time after a season put on hold due to injury.

Down 3-0 after 21 minutes on Saturday, Toronto led by the same score after 24 minutes on Wednesday.

With New England number 1 goaltender Matt Turner with the United States in the Gold Cup, Brad Knighton, 36, made his first league appearance since March 7, 2020. Nine minutes into the game, l ex-Vancouver Whitecap picked the ball out of its goal.

Brazilian full-back Auro sent a long ball to New England’s penalty area targeting Soteldo. Knighton waited for the ball to enter the box before he could handle it, with defender Brandon Bye getting out of his way. But the ball died on the artificial turf and never reached Knighton, who was rooted just inside the box. Soteldo got there first, dribbled past Knighton and tucked him into the empty net to open his MLS account.

Six minutes later, the Revs’ defense was nowhere to be found. Pozuelo found an unmarked Lawrence and the Jamaica international hammered a left-footed shot past Knighton at close range.

Knighton didn’t stand a chance in the 24th minute when Endoh, after a pass from Soteldo, made room for a nice left-footed shot just outside the penalty area in the corner of the goal.

The Revs moved closer as the first half progressed with Buksa and Gustavo Bou, who had scored in their previous five games, both hitting the post. Bye, alone in front of goal, skied his shot late in the half.

Pozuelo scored in stoppage time but the goal was called off due to an offside. The Revs walked into the locker room with a chorus of boos.

Gil gave the crowd to cheer in the 56th minute, beating Bono with a superb free kick from outside the box. It was the second goal of the season for the Spaniard, who leads the league with 10 assists.

Pozuelo had a chance in the 68th minute after Soteldo dribbled past several defenders, but the Spaniard’s shot went straight to Knighton

Perez, a 44-year-old Spaniard who joined the Toronto staff in February, has made six changes to the team defeated by DC United, several out of necessity.

Toronto missed injured goalie Quentin Westberg (finger) and fullback Justin Morrow (back). Center-back Eriq Zavaleta has been suspended after being sent off during the DC debacle. Midfielder Jonathan Osorio and full-back / winger Richie Laryea are absent with Canada preparing for the Gold Cup.

Defender Chris Mavinga, normally a center-back, did not dress. A spokesperson for the club said it was a “precautionary” measure.

Star striker Jozy Altidore, who hasn’t played since May 22, remains behind with the club.

New England was also without Canadian midfielder Tajon Buchanan, also absent in the Gold Cup where Canada starts Sunday against Martinique.

Toronto are now undefeated in their last six meetings (3-0-3) with New England dating back to September 2018. The Revs still hold a 10-4-5 lead over TFC at Foxborough.

Toronto won’t play again until July 17th. Club management has not specified who will then be in charge.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 7, 2021.

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