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Preview: Post-Armas ‘revolution’ begins with a trip to New England

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A tough test awaits Javier Perez in his first game as interim coach.

MLS: Toronto FC at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC will be looking to snap a six game losing streak when they take on the New England Revolution, who currently sit atop the Eastern Conference.

The Reds have yet to win an “away” game in MLS this season, but with a lot to prove after the sacking of Chris Armas, TFC will have their sights set on a morale-boosting victory to kickstart the dawn of the post-Armas era.

Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. EST at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Saturday’s 7-1 defeat to D.C. United, which now has a place in history as the club’s worst ever loss, proved the end of the line for Chris Armas, who was relieved of his managerial duties the next day.

Javier Perez, TFC’s first-team assistant coach, will take the reins for the New England game. It is still unknown whether the former Real Madrid youth coach will hold the interim coach role beyond the trip to Massachusetts. After Wednesday, Toronto does not play again until July 17, so expect more updates between now and then.

The 7-1 loss stretched Toronto’s losing streak to six, two back of the longest competitive losing streak in club history. A seventh straight loss would see this Toronto side come close to setting another unwanted record, but according to Perez, change starts now.

“The approach is simple. The team needs change,” said Perez in his pre-match press conference. “The team needs to stick together ... this is something that’s not about me, not about 1 or 2 players, we have to pull this off together.”

As it stands, Toronto is bottom of not only the Eastern Conference, but the whole league as well. Following just five points from a possible 33, the Reds will have their work cut out for them with ⅔ of the regular season left to play.

New England come into this game leading the way in the East, but Bruce Arena’s men are winless in their last two. Against Columbus this past weekend, the Revolution blew a two-goal lead and were forced to settle for just a point in an entertaining 2-2 road draw.

In terms of team news, TFC will be without Jonathan Osorio and Richie Laryea, who have joined up with the Canadian men’s national team for their upcoming Gold Cup campaign. Ayo Akinola was also named in Canada’s squad list, but the forward could be available to play against the Revolution. Kemar Lawrence’s status for the New England game is also up in the air after he was called up to the Jamaican national side.

All we know is that Osorio and Laryea are the only players listed on international leave as of now.

Eriq Zavaleta is suspended following his red card against D.C., but the centre-back may have already not been available to play after being named in El Salvador’s squad for the Gold Cup.

On the injury front, Quentin Westberg (hand) and Ifunanyachi Achara (ACL) remain sidelined.

Yeferson Soteldo made his first appearance since coming back from injury/international duty against D.C and is expected to start against New England. Wednesday could also be the first time Soteldo and Alejandro Pozuelo start a game together, as the Spaniard also made his return against D.C. following a short spell on the sidelines.

Regarding Jozy Altidore and his situation with the first team, there have been no new updates, besides some cryptic posts to his Instagram story.

While TFC will be missing some players due to the Gold Cup, New England will also be without a pair of key stars. Canadian starlet Tajon Buchanan will link up with Osorio and co., and goalkeeper Matt Turner, who co-leads the league in saves this season, will be a part of the United States’ Gold Cup squad.

Buchanan scored his third MLS goal of the season against Columbus last weekend, with the 22-year-old now sitting three goals behind New England’s top scorer so far this year, Gustavo Bou.

Akinola and Osorio are Toronto’s top league scorers with three each, but with the Canadian duo heading to the Gold Cup, the Reds will hope for someone else to come up trumps on the goalscoring front for the next few matchdays.

The last time these two sides met was in October 2020, where a lone Akinola goal was enough to seal a 1-0 for the Reds. TFC are unbeaten in their last five against the Revolution, winning three and drawing two.

In 33 total clashes, 13 have resulted in victory for New England, nine have seen Toronto emerge triumphant, and 11 ended all square. TFC’s all-time top scorer Sebastian Giovinco has bagged the most goals in the history of this matchup with seven.

The club and its fans may have had one the toughest weeks in history, but with a return to BMO Field potentially on the cards for July 17, better times seem to be on the horizon.

“There’s big excitement in the fact that we’re now coming home ... obviously hoping for good news with the ability to play games at BMO Field,” said Michael Bradley during the pre-match presser.

The Reds have more than likely played their final “home” game at the Exploria Stadium, and with an exciting return to Toronto finally upon us, let’s hope a return to winning ways is also on the agenda.