New England Revolution

Toronto FC has been terrible, but a coaching shakeup has Revolution wary of midweek matchup

Phelan M. Ebenhack
Toronto FC fired coach Chris Armas, who was in his first season with the team, on Sunday.


On paper, the Revolution should have a distinct edge over Wednesday’s opponent, Toronto FC.

New England sits atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 7-2-3 record and a plus-five goal differential. Toronto is in last place and has just one win, and coach Chris Armas was fired on Sunday after Toronto dropped its sixth consecutive game on Saturday, a 7-1 beatdown from DC United.

Armas was in his first season as Toronto’s coach. Despite the disparity, the Revolution are not expecting an easy match when the two teams square off under the lights at Gillette Stadium.

“They’re going to come out swinging I think,” said forward Teal Bunbury. “Usually when a team suffers a big loss and a big shakeup with a manager leaving, I think that’s when teams essentially have nothing to lose. They’re going to want to come in here and play to win. Don’t let the results fool you.”

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The Revolution will be happy to return to the friendly confines of Gillette, where they are 5-0. The club is coming off a difficult two-game road trip that began with a 2-1 setback to FC Dallas and finished with a 2-2 draw at Columbus.

New England is outscoring opponents 10-4 at home and midfielder Tommy McNamara said the success at Gillette is a byproduct of the mindset the team has adopted each time they lace up in Foxborough.

“It’s very important at home that we win our games, so our mindset’s been that we’re at home, we have our supporters with us, they’ve been critical for us and we need to come away with three points,” said McNamara. “We need to be ready to prepare from the first minute, to really be aggressive, to assert ourselves and if we do that, we’ll put ourselves in a good position.”

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The Revolution will play without goalkeeper Matt Turner, who left the club after Saturday’s game to join the US men’s national team in the Concacaf Gold Cup. Midfielder Tajon Buchanan will also be unavailable because he is playing in the tournament for Canada.

Revolution coach Bruce Arena did not disclose Tuesday whether Brad Knighton or Earl Edwards will start in goal. Bunbury is confident both keepers will be mentally prepared to fill in for Turner.

“It’s almost like a quarterback, where you usually have QB1, and then the other guys – it’s tough to get reps here and there,” said Bunbury. “But when your name is called, you need to be mentally ready. I think with Brad and Earl, I think they’re both mentally ready for whoever’s names is going to be called.”

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The match concludes a stretch of five games in 19 days and the Revolution will have 10 days off before they play next on June 17 in Atlanta.

Arena said Toronto FC is bringing players back from the national team for Wednesday’s game. On the heels of Armas’ release, he expects a strong response from Toronto.

“Well, I think when there’s a coaching change, there’s an initial injection of energy and commitment into a team,” said Arena. “So, I think we’ll see a team really ready to play.”

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