FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It didn't take long for Saturday's game to take a turn for the worse -- at least from where Revolution head coach Jay Heaps was standing.
Just 2 minutes into the match, Revolution center back Stephen McCarthy collided with Toronto forward Ryan Johnson near the edge of the box on a 50-50 ball. And it left McCarthy shaken enough for Heaps to use his first substitute just as the game got under way.
But McCarthy's early exit didn't just change the way Heaps planned to use his subs. It changed the Revolution's form -- and not exactly for the better.
With Shalrie Joseph -- a center half by trade -- stationed out of position at McCarthy's spot in the defense, it didn't take long before Toronto took advantage.
Six minutes after McCarthy's collision, the Reds held the ball inside the attacking third ready to exploit the vulnerable Revolution defense. And they executed their first opportunity to perfection.
Reggie Lambe beat two defenders and went centrally to find a teammate. Luis Silva ran into position and grabbed the pass from Lambe, then played a give-and-go with Danny Koevermans before Silva slipped it past Bobby Shuttleworth to score what proved to be the lone goal of the game.
"They got that early goal and we knew what it was going to be," Revolution left back Chris Tierney said. "They were going to try and get that early goal and then bunker in, which is what they did."
And they did it to perfection. After falling short in their previous six attempts at Gillette Stadium, the Reds weren't going to risk going forward and leaving holes behind them. It wasn't in their nature.
As expected, the Reds dropped back, ready and waiting to absorb whatever the Revolution threw at them. And were happy keep it that way until the final whistle.
"That's their game plan," Tierney said. "They were trying to slow the game down and they were trying to take fouls and be strong."
Attempting to pry the lock on Toronto's defense would prove to be especially difficult, especially with Joseph stuck in the back. Although the Revs were able to advance the ball into the Toronto end, a timely tackle awaited them.
Whether it was a 28th-minute through ball from Benny Feilhaber to Fernando Cardenas, who had his sights set on frame before Terry Dunfield punched it away, or a 51st-minute Saer Sene pass that Logan Emory dismantled before Lee Nguyen reached it, the Reds executed their game plan in textbook fashion.
When it wasn't working from the run of play, the Revolution found plenty of opportunities to equalize via the set piece. In fact, on corner kicks alone, 13 such chances were made available to them.
But whether it was Tierney, Feilhaber or Lee Nguyen taking them, not a single teammate could slot one through. Some were high. Some were cleared away before the box. Some were steered wide of frame.
"The set pieces were not good enough all the way around," Heaps said. "It was very disappointing. Corner kicks I thought were OK, but when we're talking about free kicks, the chances we had were short, they were over. That to me is disappointing."
In the end, all the Revolution could do was look in the mirror. In the 82 minutes they had to find an equalizer, they came up short each time. Slick passes yielded brief moments of hope. But each time, the Reds met the challenge and held on for the win.
"It was a good road performance from them," Tierney said. "They were strong defensively and they probably wanted it a little more, you could say."
• The Revolution's five-game unbeaten streak (2-0-3) came to an end with the 1-0 loss.
• Toronto's 1-0 win was its first in seven tries at Gillette Stadium after going 0-4-2 in its previous six.
• Bobby Shuttleworth earned his second straight start in goal, but also picked up his first loss of the season. His record stands at 1-1-0.
• Revolution center back Stephen McCarthy was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms after his 2nd-minute collision with Ryan Johnson.
• Shalrie Joseph, a central midfielder by trade, saw his third game at center back this season after coming on for McCarthy in the 6th minute.
• Toronto head coach Paul Mariner, who served as a Revolution assistant from 2004 to 2009, made his first return to Gillette Stadium as member of the Toronto coaching staff.
• Revolution striker Jerry Bengtson made his second appearance of the season when he came on at the start of the second half for Blake Brettschneider. Bengtson will fly out to London later this week to join the Honduran squad for the Olympic Summer Games.
• The Revolution's loss was their first in three months at home. Their last home loss came on April 14 versus D.C. United, a 2-1 defeat. In between the losses, the Revolution went 4-0-2.
• The Revolution recorded a season-high 13 corners on Saturday.
• The shutout marked the sixth time the Revolution came away without a goal.
• Revolution midfielder/forward Diego Fagundez made his third straight appearance off the bench when he came on for Fernando Cardenas in the 72nd minute.
• The Revolution had the overwhelming advantage on open-play crosses with a total of 27 to Toronto's 6.