FOXBORO -- The New England Revolution used words like "disappointing" and "shameful" to describe Saturday night's 1-0 loss to the league's worst team at Gillette Stadium.
And while they can't blame the entire game on one single injury, the timing of Stephen McCarthy's head injury in the opening minutes threw the Revs a curveball that did in fact affect the end result.
"It's a tough one, getting hit like that," said Revolution coach Jay Heaps after the loss. "You're hit with a sub early, and it kind of changes what you need to do for the rest of the game, and how you utilize yourselves."
McCarthy left the game after a head-to-head collision with a Toronto player. Replacing him on the back end was captain Shalrie Joseph, who was only beginning the game on the bench as a precaution to prevent his knee swelling to become any worse than it already is.
"I think the injury hurt us," said Revs midfielder Clyde Simms. "You're never ready for an injury that early, or a substitution that early in a game. We've had a lot of continuity with our back four. And so, I think that threw us off a little bit. And it was a little bit of an adjustment period, switching things around, and unfortunately they got the goal during that adjustment period. And we were fighting back from there."
Toronto's Luis Silva scored the only goal of the match, and it just so happened to come in the moments after McCarthy went down and Joseph had to come in unexpectedly.
"It's a hard situation for someone to come in cold, into a game just a couple minutes in," said Revs defender A.J. Soares. "I think that was probably the toughest thing right there. But, anytime Shalrie's on the field, we're going to be better. Not that he's better there than McCarthy, but it's good to have your captain out there. So it wasn't the end of the world."
It wasn't the end of the world because the Revolution had plenty of time to even the score. But even after 13 corners and many failed set pieces, it wasn't enough for the Revs to continue their unbeaten streak.
"It's not the result we wanted, and I'm a little bit disappointed in how the game went," said Heaps. "We were upset to give up the goal early. It was a little bit of a loose ball and then they pounced on it. It was a good goal.
"And then, the game never had a rhythm. It was shameful, to be honest with you. The game just got stopped and stopped and stopped. I just felt like we were never really able to get into a rhythm.
"In the second half, we had enough corner kicks to score chances, and we didn't," later added Heaps. "And that's disappointing. I think the locker room is pretty upset. And we have some work to do."
It looked as if Joseph had tied the game at 1-1 in the 84th minute, but the ball went in off his right hand as he crashed the left post.
"It was a little bit high, and I was just trying to get a body part on it," said Joseph. "And it was a little bit too high for me, and the only thing I could get on it was my hand. So, I tried to sneak one in, but it didn't work out for me."
The Revs never got that equalizer, and as a result, they were handed their first loss since May 26.
Chris Tierney said they don't take much away from this one. So they'll just try to use it as motivation.
"We come away angry," said Tierney. "And hopefully use it as fuel to get us three points when we play on Wednesday."