Zach Schilawski had a dream first start in front of his home fans, as the Revolution rookie scored 3 second-half goals in a 13-minute span in a 4-1 New England victory over Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium.
TFC led at the half from new captain Dwayne De Rosario, but a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance was capped by horrific defending that allowed the Revs to win their fourth-straight home opener.
With Julian DeGuzman relegated to the bench due to illness, Preki’s side implemented 5 changes in his into his starting line-up, including debut starts for both full-backs, Dan Gargan at right and the newly signed Ratis Hscanovics at left and winger Nane Joseph.
Shalrie Joseph made his return from injury to start at the heart of the Revs midfield. Early on, neither side intended to give any quarter and chances were few and far between.
Joseph came close in the 5th, but the hugely influential midfielder’s header went wide after meeting a beautifully timed cross from Sainey Nyassi, whose runs caused trouble for the TFC defence all night long.
The half’s only score came in the 28th, when a Labrocca corner was seemingly cleared from danger, but only as far as centerback Nick Garcia, who was able to find De Rosario with a cross and, after slipping behind his marker, Emmanuel Osei and in front of a contorted Joseph, the captain’s twisting header found the net, past the outstretched arm of ‘keeper Preston Burpo.
The Revs pressed again pressed late with Chris Tierney providing solid service into the box all evening, but came up short as the Toronto defense held strong.
New England came out flying to start the second and were almost immediately rewarding.
After coming down the right wing, Nyassi send in a cross that wasn’t cleared from the near post and Schilawski was able to beat Nick Garcia to the ball, poking home the equalizer in the 46th.
Shortly thereafter, the much-maligned Nick Garcia did little to dissuade his critics as he cheaply gave the ball away to Schilawski, who walked in and beat TFC ‘keeper Stefan Frei to his left.
If the quick goal to open the second jarred TFC, this goal shook the Reds to their core, as they never did recover from it, rarely making meaningful runs forward and sitting back and watching the Revs boss the midfield and continue to come on in waves.
The former Wake Forest Demon Deacon completed his hat trick in the 59th. Joseph, a creative presence all night before being removed in the 74th, went wide to find Kheli Dube, whose timely cross found Schilawski to score his third in much the same manner as his first.
With Chad Barrett coming on in the 62nd for Hscanovics, one of the lone bright spots tonight for TFC, the team shifted to a 4-4-2, with Nane dropping back to full-back. The move proved costly, as only 3 minutes later, the 2010 SuperDraft 2nd-rounder attempted an ill-conceived back pass to his goalkeeper, which was quickly gobbled up by Nyassi and the Gambian made no mistake in beating a visibly frustrated Frei.
Thankfully for TFC, they won’t have long to dwell on this disappointing performance, as they take on the expansion Philadelphia Union in their home opener on Thursday night at BMO Field, while still looking for their first points of the season.
The Revs, after improving to 2-1-0 on the year, now head to the west coast to take on the San Jose Earthquakes next Saturday night.