FOXBOROUGH — All week long, the mood over on the Revolution’s training pitch just to the south of Gillette was not to lose a second consecutive match. Losing back-to-back -- and sometimes even back-to-back-to-back-to-back matches -- has been a major bugaboo in New England’s path to the postseason the last couple of seasons.
Not this season.
Lose to Philly in the opener? Beat Colorado the following week.
L ose to Dallas a month ago? Draw with Columbus the following Saturday.
Last weekend, The Boys In Blue had the horrendous showing against Montreal -- “I thought our second-half performance against Montreal was very, very poor; very uncharacteristic of us,” Revs manager Brad Friedel said Saturday, pretty much echoing what he said during Tuesday’s training session -- and that prompted four changes, particularly in the defensive midfield and in the back line: Antonio Delamea got his start in place of Claude Dielna, while Old Faithful Chris Tierney got his first action since the home opener. In addition, Scott Caldwell returned to the XI in place of Wilfried Zahibo.
Friedel has generally gone with an "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it" mentality through the first eight matches in the ’18 season. Changes in the starting XI have only come when the Revs have not necessarily played their best football in the previous weekend’s match. We saw Caldwell have two near-costly giveaways in the first half against Dallas; Friedel dropped him from the XI, only to bring him on as a second-half substitute against Columbus and Sporting Kansas City.
And with the way the defense played a week ago, getting positively shredded by a good attacking team, it was time to do a little switching up. Toronto is, at least in theory right now, a good attacking team, and Friedel made changes -- some by need, some by personal choice -- that he felt would get New England three points.
And how did that work out? Fairly well: the Revs came away with a big three points, a 3-2 win against short-handed Toronto.