April 12, 2007 Toronto FC vs New England Revolution pre-game (from MLSnet.com)

04/12/2007 4:36PM
Toronto FC pay visit to Revolution
MLSnet.com Staff

GILLETTE STADIUM, Foxborough, Mass.
7:30 p.m. CT (TV-38)
April 14, 2007 (WEEK 2) / MLS Game #9

A pair of teams looking for first victories this season come together in Foxborough, as the New England Revolution make their home debut for 2007, taking on expansion Toronto FC. The injury-hit Revolution opened their season last weekend in a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Semifinal Series, falling 1-0 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Meanwhile, Toronto FC began their history last weekend, playing the club's first game ever, falling 2-0 to Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center.

REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Nate Clement; JAR (opposite): Michael Salyers; 4th: Alex Prus
MLS Career: 21 games; FC/gm: 31.2; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 3; pens: 9
Games involving Revolution: P3 W2 L1 T0; FC/gm: 35.0; Y/gm: 6.0; R: 0; pens: 3
Games involving Toronto FC: first game 

INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: MF Daniel Hernandez (groin strain); DF Michael Parkhurst (L dislocated shoulder); DOUBTFUL: DF Marshall Leonard (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Shalrie Joseph (R calf strain), MF Khano Smith (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: FW Pat Noonan (sports hernia) ... TORONTO FC - OUT: MF Ronnie O'Brien (knee), DF Chris Pozniak (hamstring), MF Maurice Edu (groin); QUESTIONABLE: FW Andrea Lombardo (chest)


ALL-TIME: first meeting
This is the first-ever meeting between the clubs, and the first of three meetings between the teams in the inaugural season for Toronto FC They next meet again in Foxborough on June 23, then conclude the regular season against each other at BMO Field on Oct. 20.
Coaches record: Steve Nicol vs. TOR: first game ... Mo Johnston v NE: P1 W0 L0 D1

The New England Revolution began their bid to reach the MLS Cup Final for a third consecutive season on a down note, allowing an early goal in an eventual 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. The Revolution are sitting at the foot of the Eastern Conference, pointless along with D.C. United, Toronto FC and the Kansas City Wizards.


The Fire and Revolution were resuming their rivalry that has taken on a fever pitch in recent years, with the Revolution knocking the Fire out of the MLS Cup Playoffs each of the last two seasons on their way to the final.

It took the Fire just four minutes to jump into the lead. Justin Mapp collected a long pass on the right touchline before curling in a low cross to the near post. Fire midfielder Logan Pause and Revolution defender James Riley both challenged for it before the ball deflected past 'keeper Matt Reis inside the far post.

Chicago goalkeeper Matt Pickens did his part in the second half to make sure the lone goal would stand up, twice denying Taylor Twellman -- who also saw a shot come crashing off the crossbar -- and on three occasions denying Andy Dorman, two of those saves coming in the dying minutes of the contest.

Steve Nicol's team was hit with a number of injuries in the preseason and days leading up to the opener. With both Michael Parkhurst and Daniel Hernandez unavailable, James Riley filled the center of the back three. Wells Thompson and Gary Flood were both given their MLS debuts with Shalrie Joseph and Khano Smith out injured, while Adam Cristman started in attack with Pat Noonan still returning from sports hernia surgery, though Noonan came on as a late substitute.

Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, James Riley, Avery John - Steve Ralston, Jeff Larentowicz, Gary Flood (Arsene Oka 80), Wells Thompson - Andy Dorman - Adam Cristman (Pat Noonan 71), Taylor Twellman. Substitutes Not Used: Amaechi Igwe, Tony Lochhead, Chris Loftus, Ryan Solle, Doug Warren

"You know we can't be disappointed by the way we played. We come away from home and we've have taken the game to the home team. So we can't be disappointed with that," Nicol said. "We're disappointed with the result. We've been robbed, we should have got something out of the game."


A big key to the match for the Revolution were the three rookies making their MLS debut in the season opener - Adam Cristman, Gary Flood and Wells Thompson. In addition to the four injuries to starters Nicol had to deal with, Joe Franchino is also on an indefinite leave of absence.

"Adam Cristman did a well, he works hard, he holds the ball. Him and Taylor [Twellman] connected well. Gary Flood was in there to do a job. I thought he did it very well, letting Andy Dorman get forward, mopping things up. He did a good job. Wells [Thompson] had flashes. Once he gets some more games under him, a little more experience he'll get better and better," Nicol said.

Joseph and Smith could be available this week, while Parkhurst and Hernandez are still considered out for the weekend.

''We knew at the beginning of [last] week,'' Nicol said. ''So we did a couple of things during the week, put guys at a couple different positions. Ideally, you want to start with your experienced guys but that's not possible. Down the line, this will benefit us because it gives a couple guys some experience.''

The Revolution felt they had contributed more to the goal than the Fire's Logan Pause. "We hadn't gotten ourselves settled yet. It took us the 10 minutes to get ourselves settled down. When you're putting a team on the field for the first time, it takes some time to get things sorted. Again, it was us who scored the goal, it wasn't them. [James Riley] was unfortunate and it sliced off his foot and it's in the back of the net," said Nicol.

Said Riley to The Boston Globe: ''I got a foot on it and it took a bad deflection. The ball bounced one way and looked like it was going wide, then it spun back and hit the post and went in. It was the one place where Matt [Reis] couldn't get to it. I thought for the most part we neutralized their attack and had the run of play. Anyone who saw the game knows we didn't deserve to lose."

The Revolution also felt they certainly created enough to get a goal. "It was the season-opener and we were away but we had most of the run of play," said Taylor Twellman to The Globe. "Pickens played well and he has been man of the match three times against us now. When you hit the underside of the crossbar and it doesn't go in, it's unlucky. On the free kick, if I hit it six inches either way, it's a goal. It's encouraging. You don't want to lose but if we keep playing like that, we'll be fine."

Toronto FC began their history with the club's first-ever game, a 2-0 loss to Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on Saturday evening. Toronto is sitting at the foot of the Eastern Conference, pointless along with D.C. United, New England Revolution and the Kansas City Wizards.


Toronto FC were making their bow as the league's newest team, facing a team in Chivas USA opening just its third season. There was also the intriguing matchup of the head coaches -- Chivas USA's Preki and TFC's Mo Johnston both broke into the league together in the inaugural season of 1996 as teammates with the Kansas City Wizards.

While Toronto had the best of the early exchanges, Chivas USA opened the scoring in the 35th minute by perfectly springing the TFC offside trap. Cuban striker Maykel Galindo got free in behind the defense and raced alone into the penalty area, before sliding a pass for the easiest of tap-ins for Ante Razov. It was the 99th league goal for Razov.

Then two minutes from the end, Sacha Kljestan put the result beyond all doubt, collecting the ball well outside the area and hammering a long-range drive that sailed past TFC goalkeeper Greg Sutton inside his right-hand post.

Two players who had not been with the club much during the preseason, Carl Robinson and Andy Welsh, both were given starts in the midfield by Mo Johnston. Conor Casey also made his MLS debut, coming on as a second-half substitute.

Here's Johnston's team (4-4-2): Greg Sutton - Miguel Canizalez, Andrew Boyens, Jim Brennan, Marco Reda (Adam Braz 76) - Carl Robinson, Richard Mulrooney, Paulo Nagamura, Andy Welsh (Conor Casey 65) - Alecko Eskandarian, Edson Buddle. Substitutes Not Used: Rich Asante, Tomer Chencinski, Abbe Ibrahim, Andrea Lombardo, Stephen Lumley

"I felt that in the first 10 to 15 minutes we were a bit nervous but we settled down a little bit. We created a bunch of chances and couldn't score," Johnston said. "Once Chivas scored we were on the backs of our heels. I didn't feel we did enough in the second half. I felt five or six who underachieved could have played better."


Toronto FC was pleased with how they started, getting a few early chances, until the Razov goal on the counter put them behind. The starting XI had not been together as a group once during the entire preseason.

"We're disappointed, obviously. We created chances in the first half and didn't finish them, which I think could have made a difference. They had their chances and scored, which I think was the difference between the two halves today," said TFC captain Jim Brennan. "... At times we played well, we moved the ball well and we created problems for them. We had five chances in the first half, they had two chances and two goals."

But his team ran out of steam, Johnston said. "In the second half, we didn't get anything going and the momentum was flipped over to Chivas," said Johnston. "We sat back too deep and went to the long ball too much, which I didn't want ... and we gave the ball away too much in the midfield and normally that's our strength." Added Brennan: "We lost our shape in the second half and they had more possession which we found difficult" to overcome.

Given all the changes in personnel with injury and late arrivals, it was a creditable performance for TFC for a first game in club history. "We're still growing as a team and we have a few players out but when they get back we'll be better," said Johnston. "Obviously getting off to a good start, we'd have liked it to have been better but tonight it wasn't to be."

Despite having a combined 74 MLS league and playoff goals between them coming in, the Alecko Eskandarian and Edson Buddle strike partnership weren't able to convert the early opportunities.

"I just had a bad game and I expect more of myself. Tonight was just one of those days where things didn't go right," Eskandarian said. "No matter what I tried or shots, sometimes things just don't go your way. You just have to suck up your pride and move on."

TFC is intent on not playing like an expansion team. "We have good character here and we're going to progress as a team, gel and get better and better," said Brennan. "We're not coming here to lose games and come next week in New England, we're going to be looking to win." Said goalkeeper Greg Sutton: "It's going to take growing pains but hopefully there won't be a lot of them."

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