The New England Revolution have owned Toronto FC at home through the years, a run the club looks to continue against the reigning MLS Cup champion Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
The Revolution return to New England after a 4-2 loss to Montreal on May 5 in a match New England (4-3-2) trailed 4-0 after 68 minutes. It got a late brace from Wilfried Zahibo to make the final score a bit more respectable.
New England coach Brad Friedel went with the same starting lineup from the side that defeated Sporting Kansas City at home the previous week while altering the shape with a 4-4-1-1 formation.
The Revolution will seek to stretch their unbeaten streak at home against Toronto FC to seven matches (4-0-2). New England has won 10 of its past 13 home matches overall (10-1-2) and has conceded multiple goals just twice while keeping seven clean sheets over that span.
“Coach harps on not losing two games in a row, especially not losing games at home so it’s going to be a big test,” Revolution forward Teal Bunbury said. “Toronto’s a great team, an Eastern Conference team, and these games mean a lot. Getting three points at home is our mindset every game and I believe we’re going to be up for the challenge.”
New England will be without striker Juan Agudelo, who was forced from the Montreal match in the first half with a hamstring injury.
Friedel said that Agudelo is still being evaluated, and there’s hope that the 25-year-old could be back in the mix in the near future.
“It is really early — we’re hoping it’s not too serious,” Friedel about Agudelo. “He’s going to have a couple further tests, so I don’t really have a timeframe, but I’m hoping it’s on the couple of weeks as opposed to over the month, but we’ll have to wait and see on that.
“We never want to have one injury, of course, but when we do, we have a very good squad to be able to cope with it.”
Toronto FC (2-5-1) heads to Foxborough after dropping a 2-1 home match to Seattle on Wednesday. Saturday’s contest will be the third in nine days for the injury-depleted Reds.
That run of injuries and the effects of a busy start to the season have factored into Toronto FC’s ragged start to the MLS season, but so, too, has the target the defending champions carry on their back into each match.
“Every team will have their plan, how they think they can get a result against us,” Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney told MLS.com on Thursday. “That’s what happens when you have a good team, a team that has won a championship, a team with the types of players that can score goals, create.
“What is important for us is to recognize what the game is going to look like and have our solutions.”
Toronto FC has lost all three of its road games this season, scoring just one goal. It lost just three road matches in the entire 2017 regular season.
New England enjoys a 12-6-9 advantage over the Reds all-time. The Revolution has nine wins in 15 home matches against Toronto FC (with four draws); those wins include a 2-1 decision in the most recent game in New England between the two teams on Sept. 23, 2017.
—Field Level Media