Toronto FC Spoil New England Revolution’s Home Opener with 1-0 Win

Toronto FC spoiled New England Revolution’s home opener as they earned a hard fought 1-0 win and secured the full three points on the road following a spectacular goal by Lorenzo Insigne and an incredible performance by goalkeeper Sean Johnson. 

Toronto head coach John Herdman went with the same 3-4-2-1 formation as he did in last week’s season opener. Johnson started in-goal; Shane O’Neill, Kevin Long, and Nicksoen Gomis on the backline; Raoul Petretta and Federico Bernardeschi as wing-backs, Deiby Flores and Alfonso Coello in the central midfield; Insigne and captain Jonathan Osorio on the wing; and Prince Owusu as the lone striker. 

Insigne’s quality was on full display as he created scoring opportunities and was aggressive with his shot selection. The Italian winger had a moment of brilliance in the 27th minute as he received the ball inside New England’s box and struck a perfectly placed chip over into the back of the net for his first goal of the 2024 MLS season.  This is a  great sign for the TFC faithful as the former Euro Cup winner proved to be a constant threat in the attack and playing as advertised. 

As expected, Herdman subbed off Insigne at halftime in order to manage his minutes and ensure that he remains healthy for the full season. During his post-match press conference, he calmed any fears of the substitution being a result of an injury by mentioning that the plan was always for the Italian winger to play 45-minutes. He said:

Lorenzo [Insigne] and turf, they don’t go too well. So, we were well aware of that. He had a reaction to the turf in January when we came back from our first phase of preseason…That was his mission, to put us in a strong situation, and he did that. And his efforts there.”

Toronto FC head coach John Herdman on Lorenzo Insigne being subbed off at halftime

TFC saw a familiar face on the opposite end of the pitch as midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye subbed into the match in the 61st minute. Kaye was traded from his hometown club to New England last July after TFC had underperformed, which resulted in the team going through an overhaul of sorts that saw management relieve then head coach Bob Bradley of his duties and make a number of roster moves.  

The second half saw both teams exchanging goal scoring opportunities as New England were searching for the equalizer, while Toronto looked to both maintain and extend their lead. Osorio had a great opportunity in the 76th minute as he struck a powerful shot on goal that rang off the crossbar. It was a close call for the Revolution as the TFC captain would have scored an incredible goal had the ball went in the back of the net. 

Moments later, Johnson came up big for Toronto as he made a huge save to keep the game 1-0. Johnson once again came up big in crucial moments as he made another fantastic save in stoppage time to secure the win. 

“It’s just one of those where you rely on your instincts and the amount of games and amount of hours in front of the training pitch”, Johnson said post-match. He added, “It’s one of those up-and-over and you’re thankful the ball ended up where it does. More importantly, I think the defensive effort tonight was second-to-none. I haven’t seen a defensive effort like that in a long time.”

Herdman praised the TFC goalkeeper for his performance and mentioned that all successful teams have a great goalkeeper that show up in big moments. He said:

“Saves like that from Sean Johnson are going to keep us there, and he made some good saves last week, and he will continue to make good saves. That’s what teams that win championships do. They have goalkeepers that can keep them in games, in games where it’s going to be tight.”

Toronto FC head coach John Herdman on goalkeeper Sean Johnson

With the win, Toronto have now come away with 4 points of a possible 6, and kick off the 2024 MLS season on a positive note. The recent performances will certainly excite their fanbase as they return to BMO Field for their home opener against Charlotte FC on Saturday. 

Photo credit: Toronto FC (@TorontoFC – X)

Check out the full match highlights of Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution below:

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