Toronto FC suffered a 3-0 defeat on the road against Charlotte FC in an Eastern Conference MLS match-up at Bank of America Stadium on Wednesday night.
TFC started the game on the defensive front as Charlotte FC attacked in waves from the onset. Fortunately for the Reds, TFC goalkeeper Luka Gavran stood tall for the first Charlotte goalscoring opportunity and saved Enzo Copetti’s shot from the centre of the box in the fourth minute. Unfortunately for the Reds, they would concede a penalty just one minute later. A lengthy VAR intervention deemed that Gavran committed a foul on Charlotte winger Kamil Jóźwaik during the build-up play. Charlotte FC’s Karol Świderski converted the ensuing spot kick in the eighth minute.
The conceded goal seems to motivate the Reds, however. TFC winger Federico Bernardeschi drew a dangerous free-kick opportunity when fouled during his dribbling pursuits near the Charlotte defensive zone. The Reds almost capitalized on this freekick with a strike by Víctor Vázquez from distance in the 22nd minute of the game. The very quickly taken strike caught the majority of the stadium off guard and was turned away from the net by Charlotte FC goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina.
The Reds would continue to chase Charlotte with offensive pressure as the half progressed. Bernardeschi cut in from the right wing in the 29th minute and unleashed a venomous left-footed strike from outside of the box, forcing a great save from Charlotte FC goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlin yet again. The missed opportunities would come back to haunt the Reds as Charlotte FC’s Karol Świderski doubled the home side’s lead through yet another penalty deep into added stoppage time.
The Reds opened the second half with a tactical double substitution. Youngsters Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, and Themi Antonoglou were brought on for Víctor Vázquez, and Cristián Gutiérrez respectively. Moments after his introduction, Marshall-Rutty found himself in a dangerous scoring opportunity after receiving an excellently weighted through ball from Bernadeschi. The 19-year-old winger’s left-footed shot forced a save from Charlotte FC goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina in the 49th minute. The tactical changes opened up the game for Toronto, but it proved to be too little too late in hopes of sparking a comeback. Charlotte FC would go on to score a third goal courtesy of an acrobatic flick finish from Brecht Dejaegere. This turned out to be the final scoring moment of the game, but it wasn't for a lack of effort. TFC goalkeeper Luka Gavran would go on to make another crucial save for the Reds in the 77th minute.
The Reds return to action on Saturday, October 7th at Red Bull Arena against the New York Red Bulls.