Revolution will try to rally behind Tom Soehn
A new chapter begins for the Revolution on Saturday as Tom Soehn takes the reins as interim coach in the wake of Jay Heaps’s termination.
Soehn will act as a head coach in MLS for the first time since 2011, when he held the interim position for Vancouver.
His first challenge in New England is a lofty one, as Toronto FC — with the most points in the league — pays its second visit to Gillette Stadium this season.
With only five games remaining, a trip to the playoffs for the Revolution, though still possible, is looking more improbable each week. They are 7 points back of the sixth-place New York Red Bulls and have played one more game than their I-95 rivals.
“All you can ask of everybody now is that for five games, we pull together as a group and kind of use that hard feeling we have in our hearts to bond and come together as a group,” Soehn said.
“All we can control is how we perform, and we’ve got five games to do it.”
The Revolution are coming off a forgettable week in which they were outscored, 10-1, and had issues staying disciplined. Three players were given red-card ejections.
The most recent loss came at Kansas City last Saturday. After an early goal from Teal Bunbury, Krisztian Nemeth was sent off only 10 minutes into his first start for New England. The Revolution’s all-out defensive approach failed as the hosts won, 3-1, to extend their unbeaten streak at home to 23 games.
Toronto is looking to rebound quickly from a midweek 5-3 loss at home to Montreal. The Impact scored three times inside 25 minutes and finished off Toronto with two quick strikes early in the second half.
Toronto was without leading scorer Sebastian Giovinco (muscle soreness) and assist leader Victor Vazquez (illness). Though Vazquez is expected to play Saturday, Giovinco’s status remains questionable, especially with the playoffs looming.
The Revolution will be meeting Toronto for the third time this season. They won at Gillette in early June, 3-0, before suffering a frustrating loss in Canada two weeks later, 2-0.
The loss in Foxborough was one of just four this season for Toronto (18-4-8) and one of its most decisive.
“They’ve been rotating their team successfully all year,” said Revolution defender Chris Tierney. “So it’s hard to get an idea of what they’re going to bring, but this game is going to be completely about us.
“We’re playing the best opposition in the league, but if we approach this game properly and give a response that’s deserving of this situation, then we should be able to get a result.”
New England is looking to notch its 11th home win of the year, which would tie the club record set in 1997 and matched in 2014.
Revolution vs. Toronto FC
■ When, where: Saturday, 5 p.m., at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough.
■ TV, radio: CSN, WBZ-FM (98.5).
■ Coaches: Revolution — Tom Soehn; Toronto — Greg Vanney.
■ Formations: Revolution — 4-4-2; Toronto — 5-3-2.
■ Goalkeepers: Revolution — Cody Cropper; Toronto — Alex Bono.
■ Referee: Alan Kelly.
■ Out: Revolution — M Kelyn Rowe (knee), F Krisztian Nemeth (red card); Toronto — D Nick Hagglund (knee), M Benoit Cheyrou (calf), F Jozy Altidore (hamstring).
■ Miscellany: New England is 11-6-9 vs. Toronto all-time . . . The Revolution have four straight shutouts at home, one shy of tying the club record set in 2005 . . . Soehn has a head coaching record of 60-57-35 in all competitions, including a 41-43-28 in MLS.