By JUSTIN FERGUSON
The New England Revolution are winners of back-to-back matches for the first time in 2013, and they owe both victories to their two bright young forwards.
After scoring in last week’s 2-0 win over Houston, Diego Fagundez and Juan Agudelo got on the scoreboard again on Saturday night as New England defeated struggling Toronto FC 2-0.
Saturday night’s win at a rain-soaked Gillette Stadium was only the second home win of the season for the Revolution, whose last set of back-to-back wins came in the final two matches of 2012. Toronto, on the other hand, have now lost five straight games in league play.
Fagundez, who has now scored in three straight games, opened the scoring for New England in the 23rd minute with an unstoppable volley from a well-placed Chris Tierney cross. The 18-year-old academy product caused headaches all night for the Toronto defense, getting two more chances on goal before the halftime whistle.
The Toronto offense struggled to create quality chances as the New England defense kept most of the visitors’ efforts from reaching Bobby Shuttleworth. Saturday night’s win was New England’s seventh shutout in 12 games—remarkable improvement from a side that only had nine shutouts in 2012.
The Revolution looked closer to a goal throughout the second half than their opponents. Lee Nguyen was inches away from a Goal of the Year candidate as his 40-yard effort cracked the bottom side of the crossbar at the hour mark. Tierney then fired a rebound effort, but Joe Bednik was able to keep Toronto alive.
New England finally found an insurance goal in stoppage time as substitute striker Saer Sene slipped through the Toronto defense with some fancy footwork, and cut the ball back to Agudelo, who finished near post with a first-time strike.
Toronto pushed for a late consolation goal, but the Revolution kept their clean sheet as Jeremy Hall’s effort flew wide of Shuttleworth’s goal.
New England (4-4-4) will look to continue their modest winning streak next Sunday when they host defending MLS Cup champions Los Angeles. Toronto (1-7-4) returns to BMO Field in a week to face Eastern Conference foe Philadelphia.
Here are the match highlights: