Discover more from The Blazing Musket
New England Revolution 2 - Toronto FC 0: 3 Thoughts
New England leaves the six with three points
The New England Revolution headed up to Canada and are coming home with three points.
It was a battle on the pitch and on the sidelines as Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley faced off for the seventh time as MLS head coaches. Arena is now 3-2-2 against Bradley after getting the best of Bradley in the seventh matchup between the coaches.
The Blazing Musket is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Bobby Wood made his return to the starting XI after missing out due to injury. With Dylan Borrero for the rest of the season, Ema Boateng replaced the Colombian and Esmir Bajaraktarevic made his fourth straight appearance for New England this season.
Gustavo Bou was not in the matchday squad after appearing in the 1-1 draw to FC Cincinnati last weekend. On the other end of the spectrum, Giacomo Vrioni did make his return to the squad after not playing against FCC.
Omar Gonzalez and Jozy Altidore both made their return to Toronto after previously playing for the club albeit on the bench with Altidore being the only one to receive playing time.
But what do you need to know about Saturday’s win? Here are three thoughts.
1 - Bobby Wood is good
The addition of Wood was met with some skepticism due to his age and injury history but the veteran striker has been a great addition for New England so far this season.
The 30-year-old has had some superb hold-up play and has been great at using his strength to his advantage. That was on display against Toronto when he wrestled the ball away from Sigurd Rosted and burst toward goal where he would eventually put a shot through Sean Johnson’s legs to give the Revs a 1-0 lead.
Wood has three goals this season and is tied with Vrioni in the club’s golden boot race. He has far exceeded expectations entering the season and will be a great option off the bench or even a member of the starting XI.
With health being an issue for the likes of Bou and Vrioni it will be interesting to see what Wood’s role will look like when New England is completely healthy. For now, Wood is showing that he deserves to be a starter and can help the Revolution win games.
2 - Andrew Farrell = Tony Stark
Andrew Farrell’s New England resume continues to grow and the center back reached another milestone. His appearance against Toronto was the 310th of his MLS career.
While Farrell has the starting spot locked down after Henry Kessler’s injury, that wasn’t the case as his start against Toronto was just the fourth of the 2023 season.
Farrell has been playing well ever since entering the starting XI. Playing against the likes of Mark Anthony-Kaye, Federico Bernardeschi, Lorenzo Insigne, and C.J. Sapong, Farrell along with the rest of the Revolution back line did a quality job.
There were some nervy moments with New England having some turnovers in the back but holding an attack like Toronto’s scoreless means your defensive unit is doing something right. Farrell also deserves kudos for being someone the Revs can rely on as his 310 appearances eloquently displays.
Whenever New England calls on Farrell he does his job. There is nothing more you could ask from a veteran defender.
3 - GO DJ
DeJuan Jones put the game out of reach for Toronto with his first goal of the 2023 season. While scoring is nice, Jones’ defensive effort might have been more impressive.
The left back was going up against Bernardeschi all night and for all intents and purposes shut down the Italian. That is no easy task and Jones deserves to be praised.
While Jones is usually great on the attack, the same can’t be said for his defensive efforts. So a performance like he had against the star-studded Toronto attack is a welcome sight. it shows that Jones is becoming a more complete player and continuing to grow.
With the win, New England continues to stake its claim as the best team in the East and they will look to continue to do so next week when they face Inter Miami in league play.
But it will be a quick turnaround for the Revolution as they have a U.S. Open Cup match against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Tuesday evening.