June 22, 2012
By Adam Burrows
REELING IN THE REDS
Can Revs break BMO curse on Saturday?
New England Soccer News Contributor
Can things get any worse for Toronto FC (1-10-1, 4 points), who host the New England Revolution (5-7-1, 16 points) at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon (5:30 ET, FSC)?
|If the Revolution are to defeat Toronto FC on Saturday, they’ll have to do it without Shalrie Joseph, who was a late addition to the injured list with an adductor strain.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Early Monday morning, TFC players Miguel Aceval, Luis Silva, and Nick Soolsma were arrested for public intoxication following a brawl outside of a Houston nightclub soon after the team arrived for their midweek game against the Dynamo.
Toronto Head Coach Paul Mariner, who took over from embattled Aron Winter before the team’s weekend 2-0 loss in Kansas City, sent the disgraced trio packing back to Canada while the events remained under investigation.
"I think it doesn't matter whether it's basketball, ice hockey or whatever sport," said Mariner, a former England international and Revolution assistant coach for six years under Steve Nicol. "I've been a professional athlete myself and you're held to a higher level of order because you're in the spotlight and you're living in a privileged position of being a so-called elite athlete.”
On Wednesday, with TFC on the verge of achieving only its second victory of the season and its first on the road, Will Bruin scored two late goals for Houston, and the Dynamo managed to salvage a 3-3 draw.
Things looked rosier at the start of the season for the Reds, who have never qualified for the playoffs since joining MLS in 2007.
TFC had added a pair of European designated players the previous summer, German midfielder Torsten Frings and Dutch striker Danny Koevermans, to go along with hometown DP Julian de Guzman. As 2011 Canadian Cup winners, Toronto had qualified for CONCACAF Champions League and then advanced unexpectedly to the final four, disposing of MLS Cup holders LA Galaxy in the quarterfinals just prior to the start of the 2012 MLS season.
After drawing 1-1 with Santos Laguna at home on March 28th and only one victory away from qualifying for the FIFA Club World Cup, TFC was trounced 6-2 in the return leg in Torreon on April 4th, ending their international dreams.
Having already lost their first three league matches, TFC then went on to lose their next six, setting an MLS record for season-opening futility, before earning a 1-0 home victory over Philadelphia in Winter’s last match at the helm.
The Revolution will look to spoil Mariner’s home debut and extend their modest two-game shutout streak, but they’ll need to overcome their road woes to gain points across the border.
New England has never won in Toronto (0-4-2) and they are 1-6 away from Gillette Stadium in 2012.
The Revolution disabled list lengthened over the week, as an adductor strain will sideline Captain Shalrie Joseph and Jose Moreno will miss the Toronto game with an ankle sprain suffered just before halftime against Columbus.
Ryan Guy remains unavailable for midfield service, but Clyde Simms, who started and played 23 minutes in the Revolution reserve game on Sunday, is expected to suit up.
The Revolution backline, which has benefited from a stable lineup and the leadership of second-year center back A. J. Soares, will need to contain Koevermans. The big Dutchman scored twice against Houston to raise his team-leading tally to five and may be regaining the form that produced eight goals in only ten league appearances in 2011.