Top Stories

Revolution rout TFC in Jones debut

LeeNguyen082014 (USA Today Sports)Photo by USA Today Sports Images


The New England Revolution’s record signing Jermaine Jones made his debut in the 65th minute Saturday night against Toronto FC, but, frankly, the Revs did fine without him.

After squeaking out their first ever win at BMO Field back in May, New England was the far superior squad in their second meeting north of the border vs. Toronto this season. Revs catalyst Lee Nguyen got the visitors started just 80 seconds in and Kelyn Rowe and Teal Bunbury followed suit to grab a 3-0 victory in front of an announced crowd of 22,591 in Toronto.

“Lee has been excellent for us all year,” Revs coach Jay Heaps said. “The harder he works and the more plays he breaks up, it gives him the freedom to attack. When he (Nguyen) is at his best he is receiving the ball off of turnovers in between their defense and midfield.”

Nguyen provided the winner for the Revolution for a second consecutive week and he also had the go-ahead penalty kick in the Revs first meeting with Toronto. Nguyen has now scored the winner five times this season, while his 10 goals are the most of any true midfielder in MLS.

The central midfield force turned the tide in New England’s favor from the start, jumping on a giveaway by Jonathan Osorio at the edge of the Revs’ offensive third. Nguyen carried the ball 20 yards before sending a low bouncer inside the far left post past diving TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik.

New England (10-12-3) at least temporarily moves up from the sixth-place spot in the Eastern Conference into third, although Columbus and New York have yet to play this weekend.

After a disheartening nine-game losing streak during the summer the Revs seem to have found their footing again. The early-season win over Toronto was the second in a five-game streak for New England, and a similar run might be in the fold with the addition of Jones and a midweek home fixture up next against Sporting Kansas City, which will be without Dom Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber.

Toronto (9-9-6) was playing without three of its projected starters, including star forward Jermain Defoe, who is out through the end of September with a right adductor strain. Regular back line starters Steven Caldwell and Justin Morrow were also absent as was reserve Warren Creavalle.

TFC has stumbled in their quest for the franchise’s first-ever playoff appearance in recent weeks, managing just two wins in the last nine games. They’ll look to correct that Wednesday against Philadelphia.

“Whenever you play at home against an opponent you want to feel more times than not that you are coming away with points,” said Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley, who was held off by Rowe on the second goal. “We weren’t good enough right from the start so we have nobody to point the finger at, nobody to blame but ourselves.”

After scoring one goal in each of their last three games, the Revs weren’t willing to settle on Saturday, getting a beautiful volley from Kelyn Rowe in the 21st minute to make it 2-0.

Rowe took advantage of another poor pass by TFC, this one by Bradley Orr, and played a one-two with Nguyen to move him into space in the middle of the field past Bradley.

Toronto boss Ryan Nelsen said afterward that “you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that” TFC had some culpability in each of New England’s first two goals.

Unleashing from nearly the same spot as Nguyen, Rowe ripped it from over 25 yards inside the left post, further deflating the hosts.

“That is credit to our defense,” Nguyen said of the early goals. “Charlie (Davies) did well up front closing down space and making it hard for their defense to play the ball out. We played great defensively as a team and we were able to create some chances off that as a result.”

Rowe factored in again on the final goal in the 58th minute. He dribbled the ball from midfield on a counterattack and played a smart through ball to Charlie Davies, who then unselfishly cut it back across the middle to give Bunbury a simple finish.

The goal was Bunbury’s first since May and since being moved out wide with the Revolution.

With the result all but decided, there was little pressure on Jones as he made his anticipated MLS debut in the 65th minute. Jones came on for central midfielder Daigo Kobayashi instead of defensive midfielder Scott Caldwell, who was already on a yellow card.

“Jermaine has been really good all week and for us it’s all about fitness,” Heaps said of the brief debut. “Jermaine has been excellent with our group and we wanted to get him in there.”

It was the first competitive action for Jones — who signed for the Revs six days ago — since starring for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the World Cup.

“It’s a lot of fun with New England,” Jones said. “There is a lot of talent on this team and today was a perfect game. The first 20 minutes was amazing and I would say there was only one team who were going to win this match and we showed it.”

New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth made three saves en route to his seventh shutout of the season, although it was clear that Toronto dearly missed the presence of Defoe.

“Unfortunately, when you have a few key pieces missing, they are influential when you are salary capped,” Nelsen said. “You wish you had cover at every single position.”

New England had five shots on goal to TFC’s three, but the hosts led in nearly every other major statistical category, including possession (60 percent), total passes (432 to 285), passing accuracy (76 percent to the Revs’ 65 percent), and duels won (55 to 41).

Here are the match highlights:

What did you think of the match? Surprised by the Revs’ dominance before Jones came on? Think Lee Nguyen should be entered into the MVP discussion?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. It’s Bradley’s first year back in the league. He hasn’t had a real break in the last two years with WCQ, Roma’s Fall-Spring season, MLS’s Spring-Fall Season and the WC. Does no one remember everyone prematurely writing off Dempsey last season when he was out of form after rejoining MLS?

  2. a Few weeks ago i heard pundits saying Jermaine Jones cannot demand michael bradley money to come to MLS lol. DUMB, Jones played at the highest level for a longer period than Michael did and even played for Germany. Michael as good as HE CAN BE is not better than Jones and the World cup proved it. I wonder if Michael is going to allow Jones to come to the league and play with more heart and pride than him as well ? Bradley looked terrible in this game and is embarrassing himself.

    • I think Bradley is more known than Jones. Thus he can demand more $. Its really opaque how MLS decides what a DP is worth. With that being said Jones is a beast and I know he will play harder than anyone on the field.

  3. Bradley needs a rest, not hard to see

    Nguyen has kind of elusive USMNT skill set who might help USMNT, still might get a chance, it’s not like we know or not whether he can do it at the international level or not. he’s playing well

    • I’d love to see Nguyen play USMNT ball just to know how it’d go. I rarely get to see him play as it is, but I’m usually impressed. “Elusive” is a good term for his skill set—and style.

      I’d add him to the USMNT World Cup What-Might-Have-Been roster. Nguyen, Chad Marshall, LD, Terrence Boyd, … hmm, who else? (Not making a list of players who necessarily would have taken us further, mind you.)

      • What would the 2014 WC team been like if these guys did not have such bad luck with injuries :

        Charlie Davies, Gooch, Holden, Gatt,Gomez, Eric Lichaj

        Healthy, they would have added to the competition for places and depth though for me it would have been enough if Holden and Gomez had been healthy, in form and available.

        In fact I’d have settled for just Holden.

      • Ah man, GW, good point. I dunno who’d I’d take first off that list though. Probably Gomez or Davies, given what we know about Altidore’s bad luck. Then Gooch. Holden would have replaced an area we did pretty well filling.

  4. Nguyen is part of the best NE Rev talent pool since the Dempsey era. Heaps is doing a good job. I definitely respect what he has done so far. Adding Jones should get them into the playoffs. At that point, anything can happen.

    But I think Nguyen deserves at least a peak during Jan. camp. And it is not inconceivable that more than one NE player gets invited.

  5. Lee is 27 I believe and was easily the best player on the field last night, Yes he scored but also assisted on goal two too. What does it matter if he went to Vietnam? He can flat out play and tracks back…box to box. He’s deadly scorer and a good passer. JK would rather cap the likes of Brek or Mix or Bacon and he is totally better then all of them. Lee is more than good enough and deserves a shot

    Bradley – MB is done in my opinion. He had a poor WC but now its even worse. Watched the game last night and he basically jogs around just taking passes, dumping the ball off. Useless and not worth the money. Toronto should see if theres a team dumb enough to take him in trade. If I could could get 2 solid starters for him, I’d send him packing in a heartbeat.

    Jones – short minutes and no real effect on the game. Not a cause for alarm at this point though as he’s trying to figure things out. The Rev’s next game will be interesting though. Caldwell picked up a yellow and is now suspended on Wed. That means the DM spot has no clear replacement. Will Heaps throw JJ into the fire for 90 minutes against KC? I have to think he will be forced to. The only other choice would be to shuffle the back line and move one into DM but if youre paying a name 5M, I think you have to play him. At the pace he played last night, he could go 180 minutes

    • Buck,

      Many players are subject to what can be termed World Cup hangover.

      In Mikey’s case he also has to adjust to MLS and having a crappy team around him. Deuce had similar issues except the Sounders were better than TFC

      The USMNT is not in the equation because JK long ago said he isn’t planning on bringing in too many regulars for a while.

      It is way too early to write off Mikey.

  6. Bradley has not advanced at all. It’s a hard truth, but MLS cannot advance the best USMNT players. Leaving Roma for TFC won’t make him better. That said, in the USMNT jersey he is still one of the best. I would bet on more players passing him in the near future.

    • Bradley hasnt advanced because he KNOWs hes going to start and there is no incentive for him to bust his butt. I disagree with your statement about him being “one of the best” I would say he WAS one of the best but I dont believe he should be in the starting 11 at his present form.

      For me, the most interesting part will be to see if JK uses the same standard he used to drop Donovan on Bradley or is there yet another double standard? If he doesnt apply the standard to Bradley then it becomes even more obvious that the issue with Donovan was personal

      I also dont believe for a minute that JK wants Donovan on the field for the Ecuador friendly. I would bet big money that that came straight from Sunil and US Soccer

      • Comments like these are just sooo stu pid.

        He is either a competitor that wants to win or he is not.

        MLS is VERY competitive and he is coming up short. No big deal…there are plenty of other great players in MLS that will hand it to you 3-0 if you don’t want it bad enough. And a lot of them could and will succeed on the Nat team too.

    • More players will pass him in the future ?

      HE JUST LOST 3-0. Completely outplayed by New England talented and young midfield.

      • Easily the worst game I have ever seen him play. And to be honest I have really seen him do much this year at tfc.

        Dempsey was struggling real bad his first (half) season here. So not panic time yet. But its painful to see him playing like this

      • He just kind of jogs around filling space, without ever really closing anyone down. I wonder if there was more to that little surgery before the World Cup, then was told. I don’t know.

      • he has worn down and looked beat tired yesterday. I think all his work has caught up to him and his closing burst, which is a big part of his game defensively, was not there yesterday. worn out and needs a break but it’s the home stretch and he’s SOL so has to suck it up

    • Not really. He’s not a wide player which is where we’re really lacking, and in the system we’re playing the only place he can really fit in is behind the striker, where he’s behind Dempsey. He’s already 28, so by the next World Cup he’ll be 32, and at this point in the cycle we’re trying to find younger contributors.

      Do I think he would look out of place if he was called in? Not necessarily. But he’s not good enough to demand a spot.

      • Dumb comment. We don’t have a second striker in the USMNT formation. It’s a lone forward with 3 midfielders behind him and 2 wingers to his side. If you knew what you were talking about you would know Nguyen is a midfielder who plays both ways for the Revs. He tracks back constantly. Who do we have in midfield now that’s better and younger than him? Michael Bradley? Joe Corona? PLEASE. He’s good enough to demand a spot because he’s better than everyone we have right now. He’s quick, skilled and has incredible ball control and passing. The kid is a stud and should’ve been on the World Cup roster. Please don’t comment if you’re clueless. Save us all the trouble.

      • Lighten up, Francis, I mean, Jon. Jeez, Jovins is just sharing his opinion and you call him dumb? And clueless? You must be fun at parties….

      • I don’t appreciate stupidity and misinformed comments. Jovins is clearly talking out of his behind here. He has no idea who Nguyen is it what he’s capable of. He’s probably an SKC who thinks Grandma Zusi is a world class winger.

      • Wow. Decaf, Jon. Decaf. If it turns out Jovins is not, in fact, a SKC fan, does that make YOU stupid and misinformed? That would be kind of funny, actually.

      • I’m guessing he doesn’t think Zusi is a world class winger considering he just said that’s where the US is lacking the most.

      • “Jovins is clearly talking out of his behind here.”

        As opposed to you, Jon, who are apparently speaking out of every natural orifice and then some.

      • Nguyen screwed himself by going to Vietnam. Should of had confidence in himself taken the cheap contract at Dallas as played himself into a bigger one. Shot himself in the foot, if he’d come to MLS earlier he’d be in the mix but at 28 it’ll be harder to break in.

      • just another gifted attacking player who lost his USMNT way in Southeast Asia….seen it happen before

      • MLS was offering him a five year deal for $40k a year. That’s a joke. I wouold have gone to Vietnam too. He was the highest paid player in the league and probably made alot more in endorsement deals, not to mention that he was hugely popular and living in an area where the cost of living was extremely low. There’s more to the decision of where to play than just making the USMNT, which doesn’t really put money on the table anyway.

      • I’ve heard Nguyen talk about his Viet Nam years. He was like a rock star there. Couldn’t have been all bad.

      • Well we all know Ngyuen’s mother posts on here.. I’ve been a big fan of his since his Dutch days. But likeany of his generation, he screwed himself over. He chose fake fame and wealth in Vietnam.

        And we do play with a striker in the hole who’s allowed to wander. We changed it up when Jozy got injured but Klinsi prefers a formation with Jozy and Dempsey through the middle.

        At his age, he’ll earn a call up in October but in four years time I’d trust a younger Mix or Corona any day.

      • What’s the difference between fake fame and real fame? You seriously think Lee Nguyen is more of a household name in the USA than he was in Vietnam?

      • Klinsi wants the team to play out of the back with possession and not look to counter so directly when possession is won, and squeezing the midfield is one tactical way to make your team play that way as it leaves the flanks open for overlaps later in the possessions but mitigates those spaces on the counter. we’ll see how the team and this aspect develop in this cycle in adding the counter element back into the mix since we play defensively against the good teams still, and rightly so imo, so that ability is more vital then

      • Define “fake fame”.

        The man became an instant national celebrity in Vietnam and to the best of my knowledge remains so.

        Being a big deal for FC Dallas is one thing , being a national icon is another thing.

        The Vietnam move was probably for money and at the time I doubt that anyone seriously had him as a probable 2014 WC hopeful.

        Regardless he may yet get more US caps and might even make Russia. You never know.

        Every player has to take their own path not the one you lay out for them.

      • I think it’s sad, frankly, that everyone thinks purely personal gain motives from every soccer player’s every decision. It reflects poorly on this audience’s priorities.

        Maybe Nguyen chose to go to Vietnam because he wanted to start/bolster a fledgling domestic league in the country of his family’s ancestors. He might even have done it knowing that it would hurt his chances with the national team, but believing that helping the new league in Vietnam was more important in the long run, or that the USMNT wouldn’t be so anti-experience to believe that 32-year-olds are washed up (Klose – 36, Lahm – 30, Demichelis – 33, Maxi Rodriguez – 33, Palacio – 32, just to mention those folks that were part of the two teams in this year’s final).

      • Barrett,

        JK was 24 when he got his first cap. He also played in his last World Cup at the age of 33-34 and scored three goals.

      • So everyone over at Vancouver knows nothing of talent at all then since they waived him? Up until about 3 weeks ago Lee had 4 goals (not including pks) in like 19 games. Is 4 goals in 19 games really USMNT worthy as an attacking player no less? There are many midfielder out there that had better numbers at that point including defensive mids . How many big playoff type matches has he won? One I believe so I’m not surprised he hasn’t made the cut to be honest.

Leave a Comment