BOSTON (CBS) — Leading up to Wednesday’s match with Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium, Revolution players cautioned that it could be a “trap game.” Toronto was reeling after a 7-1 defeat, which prompted the firing of their head coach, while the first-place Revs looked to remain undefeated at home.
It was a massive mismatch on paper, but when the two teams finally took the pitch after a 90-minute weather delay, the script was quickly flipped. Toronto took advantage of a handful of New England miscues, highlighted (or rather, lowlighted) by goalkeeper Brad Knighton’s ninth-minute blunder that led to Yeferson Soteldo giving Toronto an early 1-0 lead. Knighton misjudged a long ball and Soteldo was able to get past the Revs replacement keeper to put Toronto on top.READ MORE: Richard Seymour Officially Inducted Into Patriots Hall Of Fame
It just got worse from there, as Kemar Lawrence scored six minutes later, and Tsubasah Endoh put the Revs in a 3-0 hole in the 24th minute. The Revs unraveled quickly in the first half, leading to the boo birds to come out at Gillette, and the club was unable to overcome yet another slow start.
Though phrasing it as a “slow start” was somewhat comical to New England head coach Bruce Arena after the 3-2 defeat.
“That’s fast to go down three goals,” he said with a smirk following the Revs first home loss of the season. “Bad mistake that led to the first goal, and brought a team that’s been struggling into the game and gave them confidence. You can’t concede goals like that. That gave them a lot of confidence.”
Knighton was in net in place of Matt Turner, who is off with Team USA for some Gold Cup action. Turner has been playing at an All World level for the Revolution, and he was sorely missed Wednesday night. Knighton hasn’t played much over the last two years and was clearly knocking off some rust, but Arena did not hold back in his criticism of the veteran keeper’s play in net.READ MORE: Revolution Win Supporters' Shield For First Time In Franchise History
“Mediocre, to be honest with you. Nothing special,” he said of Knighton. “He’s an experienced goalkeeper. We shouldn’t be conceding that first goal.”
To the Revs’ credit, they came out for the second half looking a lot more like the Eastern Conference’s best team. Carles Gil continues to play at an MVP level, scoring a beautiful goal in the 56th minute to get New England on the board. Adam Buksa’s 78th minute tally gave the Revs a shot at stealing a point after their sluggish start, but Toronto held on and won for just the second time this season.
“We made some mistakes, for sure. Our last 60 minutes, I thought we played pretty well and we were positioned at the end to actually get a point,” said Arena. “There were some good things, but the first 30 minutes is inexcusable.”
The Revs may be 7-3-3 on the season, but slow starts have not been unusual for the club this season. They’ve been able to weather the storm and ultimately walk away with wins or draws, but that was not the case Wednesday night.MORE NEWS: BC Falls To 0-3 In ACC Play With 28-14 Loss To Louisville
New England will look to bounce back — and get off to a much better start — next Saturday when the club pays a visit to Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.