New England Revolution – Toronto FC: Coach Greg Vanney Destabilizes Toronto With Multiple Formation Changes (1-1)

The game at the Gillette Stadium grew from a Toronto-dominated affair to an end-to-end tussle that resulted in split points. It was a true spectacle, involving 29 shots in total, controversy, constant changes of formation and a last minute goalkeeping error.

Tactical analysis and match report by Tom Quartly.

The MLS season is coming to a close and, yet, ten of twelve Eastern Conference sides are vying for a playoff place. The New England Revolution are one of those teams and a Saturday evening in Boston saw them go head-to-head with one of their rivals: Toronto FC. A heated affair was expected; not due to geographical location but rather their position in the league table. New England was in 6th and Toronto was in 8th. 

New England’s change in formation and a controversial referee decision

The New England Revolution’s head coach, Bruce Arena, set up his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation, a slight change from the 4-3-2-1 that he used in their 2-1 win against the Chicago Fire. This shift seems contingent on the availability of Juan Agudelo, their main attacking midfielder.

Toronto head coach Greg Vanney had been in charge since 2014 and stuck with his usual 4-3-3 formation. There had been pressure building on Vanney as the 2017 winners’ downturn in form had been problematic both off and on the pitch.

Straight away, Toronto maintained possession with the tidy trio of mainstays: Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado and former Genk midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo. Operating on the left of the three, Delgado functioned as a carrilero, a midfielder that is tasked with progressing the ball . . .

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