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Saturday 18 June 2011

MLS Weekly Review - Midweek Round 14 – Of the Lesser Canada-Boston Showdown of the Night

The lone midweek match of this MLS week took place on Wednesday night as Toronto FC visited Gillette Stadium to take on New England Revolution.

     New England entered the match on a run of 4 straight losses; their goal scoring woes - only 11 on the season - have prompted Coach Steve Nicol to switch from playing a lone striker - 4-2-3-1 recently or 4-1-4-1 when Benny Feilhaber was fit - to fielding both Rajko Lekić and Kenny Mansally up top.

    Toronto FC was coming off the back of two straight draws - a nil-nil at home versus Sporting KC and the 2-2 draw at Los Angeles – though they remain winless in 6 matches. Injuries at the back have meant that academy graduate Doneil Henry got his second straight start, while Alan Gordon’s 2-goal return to the squad at LA ensured his place in the starting eleven.

    The match overshadowed by Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins was played in front of a minimal crowd 6,680. The largest cheers of the match came when the score of the hockey game flashed up on the scoreboard.

    The first chance of the match came from a long ball up to Gordon, who laid it off to Joao Plata for a low shot that was neatly saved by Matt Reis in the New England goal. New England left-sided midfielder Chris Tierney let loose a long distance shot that looked troublesome though Stefan Frei had it covered. A Lekić lay-off for Shalrie Joseph drew a fine save from Frei, while a cross that landed on the foot of Lekić was sent just wide of the far post.

    Henry was dominant in the back for such an inexperienced player, cutting out crosses and dealing well with aerial attacks. 

    The best chance of the match came in the 36th minute when a header from TFC’s Gordon was cleared off the line by Kevin Alston.

    Toronto was reduced to 10 men in the 91st minute when second half substitute Gianluca Zavarise was sent off for a second yellow card in 5 minutes for encroachment and a needless tackle from behind.

      Neither side could find the net as the match ended 0-0. New England is now winless in 5 matches having been shutout for the 7th time in the last 11 matches. Toronto, winless in 7, collected their 5th draw in the last 6 matches and 3rd straight since that destruction at the hands of Philadelphia.

    Both teams are back in action of Saturday night. New England renews their rivalry with Chicago at Gillette Stadium looking for their first win in league play over the Fire since 2007. Toronto returns home to avenge their humiliating 3-0 loss at Seattle on April 30th.

New England v Toronto 0-0.

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