By RYAN TOLMICH
Patrick Mullins posted the first breakout match of his rookie season on Saturday, and did so at the expense of young Canadian defender Doneil Henry.
Mullins scored a stunning first-half equalizer, then drew a second-half penalty, to help lead the New England Revolution to a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC at BMO Field on Saturday. Lee Nguyen converted the 82nd-minute penalty to seal the victory, New England’s third in four matches.
It was TFC that came out of the gates strong with a cohesive attack that saw the hosts create three quality chances in the game’s opening 10 minutes. The scoring was opened in the sixth minute on a long-range effort by Jackson that took a deflection and rolled past a helpless Bobby Shuttleworth. Jackson’s goal came just minutes after offseason acquisition Gilberto squandered a pair of chances in the games opening five minutes.
The Revs found their equalizer just 18 minutes later on a spectacular long-range effort from Mullins. The Revs first round pick out of Maryland was fed the ball at the top of the box by Daigo Kobayashi off of a bad Henry turnover. Mullins blasted a left-footed shot past Julio Cesar for his first professional goal.
Both sides failed to take advantage throughout the rest of the game, as the two team combined for 29 shots with just eight actually coming on frame.
That is, until the 82nd minute, when Henry was whistled for a handball in the penalty area after blocking a Mullins shot with his raised arm. Nguyen stepped up and calmly slid the penalty to Cesar’s right to give the visitors the lead.
TFC provided one last scare in the 86th, but the Revs were bailed out by a spectacular save from Shuttleworth. The 26-year-old goalkeeper parried away a perfectly hit header from Gilberto, knocking the ball off the bar before collecting in front of a swarm of TFC attackers, effectively sealing the three points for his side.
With the win, the Revs now jump to the top of the Eastern Conference standings with 14 points from their opening nine games, while Toronto slip to sixth in the conference with nine points.
TFC will look to bounce back on May 17 when they host the New York Red Bulls, while the victors will look to build on the momentum of back-to-back wins when the host Seattle next Sunday.
Here are the match highlights: