FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution lost their home-field edge, sustaining a 3-2 defeat against Toronto FC Wednesday night, but remained in first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Revolution (7-3-3, 24 points) had a five-game home winning streak (seven games over two seasons) snapped as last-place Toronto (2-8-2, 8 points) capitalized on a goalkeeping error in setting the tone early.
Following a 1-hour-19-minute lightning delay, the game began with the one of the worst collapses of the Bruce Arena era, the first time the Revolution have fallen behind by three goals since Arena arrived in May 2019. Goals by Yeferson Soteldo, Kemar Lawrence, and Tsubasa Endoh gave Toronto a 3-0 lead in the first 24 minutes.
The Revolution, who next visit Atlanta United July 17, recovered, assaulting the Toronto goal for the rest of the half, but failed to finish, hitting the crossbar and post.
Carles Gil sparked a second-half rally, converting a spectacular free kick (56th minute), and Adam Buksa cut the deficit in the 78th minute. But Buksa’s last-gasp right-footer was saved by Alex Bono as Toronto held on in its first game under interim coach Javi Perez. Coach Chris Armas was fired Sunday.
Toronto opened the scoring as Soteldo ran onto a long ball from Auro Jr., touching past Brad Knighton and finishing into an open net in the ninth minute. Goalkeeper Brad Knighton, making his first appearance since March 7, 2020, appeared to hesitate as he advanced to the top of the penalty area, right back Brandon Bye holding up while expecting Knighton to clear.
Left back Lawrence upped the edge, roofing a left-footer off a 2-on-2 breakaway, Bye caught upfield on the play. Endoh gave Toronto a 3-0 lead with a left-footer from just inside the penalty area in 24th minute.
Gil converted a free kick from just beyond the penalty arc, the shot sailing inside the left post and just under the bar in the 56th minute. The sequence began with a Teal interception, Gil then going down while shooting after being fouled from behind by Marky Delgado. Buksa headed in a cross from left winger Emmanuel Boateng, making his Revolution debut.
“A bad mistake led to the first goal and brought a team that’s been struggling into the game and giving them confidence,” Arena said. “You can’t concede goals like that, and that gave them a lot of confidence and then certainly, to their credit, the third goal was a great goal. We made some mistakes, for sure. The last 60 minutes I thought we played pretty well and we were positioned at the end to actually get a point there. There were some good things but the first 30 minutes is inexcusable.”
Other observations from Wednesday’s game:
▪ There have been questions about the Revolution’s defending after they surrendered two goals in four successive games before Wednesday, plus the quality of the team’s reserve goalkeepers. Knighton, who played twice for the Revolution II team this year, appeared rusty in the early going and his performance was described as “mediocre” by Arena. “He’s an experienced goalkeeper, we shouldn’t be conceding that first goal,” Arena said. The Revolution’s attacking style often leaves the back line exposed, but the central defenders usually display sufficient recovery ability, and regular starting keeper Matt Turner has compensated for errors. The Revolution will miss Turner, who is with the US national team, for as many as three more games.
▪ Toronto’s record could not be much more deceptive. The team contended for the Supporters Shield last season but failed to adjust under Armas, who replaced Greg Vanney and was dismissed after a sixth successive loss. Former national team forward Jozy Altidore clashed with Armas and has not played since May 23.
▪ The Revolution’s three Designated Players went the distance together for the second time this season, the first since April 24. The Gustavo Bou-Buksa-Gil combination was effective, but the team’s slow start allowed Toronto to focus on defending. “This is not the first time,” Gil said of the Revolution’s early struggles. “In New York it was the same, Red Bull, Dallas, Columbus. I don’t know why because we know what happened — we needed to score goals and today we cannot.”
▪ Boateng provided a left-side threat after replacing Bunbury in the 64th minute. The Revolution have been missing an effective left-wing threat, usually using right-footed players on that side. Boateng, a left-footer who played for Arena with the Los Angeles Galaxy, provides a crossing threat the Revolution have been missing.
“Halftime, you saw the way they came out in the second half, they tried to get back in the game,” Arena said. “They were obviously not happy but knew that if we got the first goal before the 60-minute mark we had a chance to get a point out of the game, maybe 3 points.”
REVOLUTION-TORONTO FC LINEUPS
REVOLUTION: Brad Knighton; Brandon Bye, Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler, DeJuan Jones (Arnor Traustason 72d); Carles Gil, Matt Polster (Tommy McNamara 46th, Edward Kizza 86th), Maciel, Teal Bunbury (Emmanuel Boateng 64th); Gustavo Bou, Adam Buksa.
TORONTO FC: Alex Bono; Auro Jr., Omar Gonzalez, Luke Singh, Kemar Lawrence; Tsubasa Endoh (Nick Deleon 73d), Michael Bradley, Yeferson Soteldo (Dom Dwyer 84th), Marky Delgado, Alejandro Pozuelo; Ayo Akinola (Patrick Mullins 77th).
Referee: Rosendo Mendoza. Goals: Soteldo 9th, Lawrence 15th, Endoh 24th, Gil 56th, Buksa 78th.