Everything you need to know about the Revolution’s 1-0 loss to Toronto FC Wednesday night in quickie form:
Revs unbeaten streak comes to a close: After four matches where New England has not tasted defeat since the 2-1 loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 12, that streak came to an end during this midweek Eastern Conference clash at Gillette Stadium. The Revs had upward of 60 percent of the ball and had six shots on-target, but for the second straight match fail to put the ball in the back of the net. Even with the loss, New England remains in sixth in the Eastern Conference, as the seventh-place Red Bulls lost to Inter Miami, 2-1, earlier Wednesday.
Buksa misses from the spot: I wish I could say I didn’t see what happened here coming… but I can’t. After Marco Delgado cleared Lee Nguyen out inside the penalty area — and with it being Nguyen’s last action of the night as Cristian Penilla entered — Adam Buksa came to the spot determined to beat Alex Bono. He didn’t, looking to go to the Upper 90 but blazed over into The Fort. It led to plenty of second-guessing on social media, especially when the player removed had converted 16 out of 17 penalties in his career.
Revs trail after 45 for first time in 2020: It finally happened, everyone… New England goes into the locker room trailing, 1-nil, after Ayo Akinola powered through Andrew Farrell and scored Toronto’s lone goal of the first half; Bruce Arena felt there should have been a foul there. The Revs did have a couple of chances, including one where Buksa failed to play in to Diego Fagundez or Nguyen on a counter; instead, his shot was blocked. New England had 61 percent of the ball as it has recently, but only had one shot on-target in the first 45 minutes.
Two changes to Arena’s XI: With the start of a sequence which sees the Revs play five matches in 15 days, Arena made a pair of changes to the starting lineup Wednesday. There was no Gustavo Bou or Teal Bunbury in the XI — Bou wasn’t even in the squad; Jeff Lemieux said he picked up a small knock — with Buksa and Fagundez (appearance No. 256) taking their spots. Alexander Büttner returned to the squad following him hammy tweak against Montreal.
DeJuan Jones: A really solid evening for the second-year player. He had three shots on-target, and tested Bono a couple of times.
Adam Buksa: Obviously, the penalty miss was beyond egregious, no doubts there, and we’ll give him credit for trying to do something early in the second half. But his decision-making in the first half, where he had shifted from defending to offensive-minded on a takeaway, should have found either Fagundez or Nguyen with a pass instead of choosing to shoot. That shot was blocked.
Diego Fagundez: DF14 was painfully invisible this midweek. His free kick into the wall was not necessarily a demerit, but he didn’t influence the first half at all, and when he moved to the No. 10 after Nguyen’s departure, he failed to assert his presence. Not a good advert to have him continue at the 10.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
82 percent passing accuracy, including 77 percent in the final third
13 total shots
WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS RIGHT NOW
That’s now back-to-back shutouts against the Revolution at home. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: the days of Fortress Foxborough are long gone, as New England is now 1-2-5 when playing at home in 2020. There is a touch of good news there, as we now have only two home matches remaining out of their final seven in this compressed regular season. And with the way they are playing at home and where they are in the table, it’s not looking like the Revolution will get a home game… should they advance to the postseason.
While I liked some of the creativity on display Wednesday — and there was some; definitely more than the weekend — the Revs are still having difficulty in breaking down these bunkered-in defensive units. And no, this is not just at home. This happens on the road, too. And with it being such a compressed series of fixtures for the next 11 days, there will be little time to work on breaking down a bunkered-in defense. And where they’re going next isn’t exactly spacious. It may get worse before it gets better, folks.
Seriously, though… Buksa’s just not confident whatsoever, and that miss further fuels the argument against him. Nguyen was coming out — fine. That leaves Fagundez on the pitch; he could have taken the penalty (although his last penalty take was against FC Cincinnati here on Mar. 24, 2019, and it wasn’t a good one). Tajon Buchanan, he’s feeling pretty confident; he could have taken the penalty. Jones looked peckish to find the net tonight… he could have taken the penalty — and probably would have come closer than Buksa did. Penilla, Scott Caldwell, Tommy McNamara… anyone but Buksa right now.
It’s a trip to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium to take on New York City FC for the third time in 40 days. Kick-off on East 161st Street is set for 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. See you on the 4 train.