New England Revolution lose to Toronto FC, 1-0, in conference showdown

NE Revolution vs. Toronto

The New England Revolution fell to Toronto FC ,1–0, at damp and empty Gillette Stadium on Wednesday night.

Adam Buksa missed from the penalty spot in the 69th minute to seal the Revolution’s fate as Ayo Akinola’s eighth goal of the season held up as the game-winner for Toronto. The result snaps New England’s four-game unbeaten run and marks only its third-ever home loss to Toronto, which hadn’t won at Gillette Stadium since 2013.

New England (5–4–7, 21 points) remains sixth in the Eastern Conference, while Toronto FC (10–2–4, 34 points) jumps into first place.

Like many visiting teams this season at Gillette Stadium, Toronto succeeded in absorbing pressure from the Revolution, who held a 13–8 edge in shots and controlled nearly 60 percent of possession.

Toronto FC takes lead on controversial goal

Wednesday’s match wasn’t without controversy, though.

Akinola appeared to shove Andrew Farrell as he chased down a breakaway on the play that led to the game’s only goal in the 29th minute. Referee Nima Saghafi allowed play to continue even though Akinola used his arm to push away Farrell, then Akinola quickly deposited past Matt Turner to make it 1–0.

“On the goal, maybe it’s a foul, most liekky it is,” Dejuan Jones said. “It’s tough to go down 1–0 like that. It allows a team to sit in more and make it more difficult for us. We need to perform better, but it doesn’t help when it feels like the referees helped them get a goal.”

The Revolution played an up-tempo second half, threatening on the flanks through Jones and Tajon Buchanan with leading scorer Gustavo Bou out with an undisclosed minor injury.

Nguyen, who has converted 16 of 17 career penalties, jogged off the field to be substituted for Cristian Penilla as Adam Buksa stepped up to take the ensuing spot kick.

Costly miss dooms Revolution

But Buksa shot over the bar in the 69th minute, a miss that raised questions after the game about whether Nguyen would have been better-suited to take the penalty.

“Yesterday we talked about this on the field: Penilla was going to take the penalty, but he was being in subbed in for Lee, so Adam was the other choice,” Arena explained. “Both Adam and Penilla took penalties yesterday, and Adam knew he would take a penalty kick if he had one and Penilla was not on the field.

“Penilla was coming on the field and it’s a little unusual to be subbed on and immediately take a penalty, so we let Adam take it and obviously he wasn’t successful.”

The result leaves the Revolution with just one home win this season through eight games. The team next visits New York City FC on Sunday.

“Our guys have been motivated all year, we continue to motivate each other,” Scott Caldwell said. “…As of late, we’re not pleased with ties and losses. We’ll continue working hard in training. getting on each other. Moving forward, if we continue to do that, and we’ll get results.”


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