Toronto FC

Reds capture crucial three points vs. D.C. United: “A very important win"

Toronto FC picked up a big win on Saturday night at BMO Field, defeating D.C. United 2-1.

Deandre Kerr scored the opener in the 14th minute, rising up to meet a Lorenzo Insigne corner kick and heading it into the D.C. net. Kosi Thompson added the second in the 72nd minute, capping off a sweeping attacking move that began with Insigne’s crossfield ball for Kerr. 

He charged up the pitch before dishing off to Richie Laryea on the right, who in turn played a low ball through goalmouth for Insigne to collect. Rather than go for goal, Insigne sagely spotted his teammate in a pocket of space for an emphatic right-footed finish.

The visitors would pull one back in the 87th minute through Christian Benteke when a deflected shot was parried by Sean Johnson. The Toronto keeper would stop the striker’s first attempt, but could do nothing on the second.

TFC saw out the remaining minutes and stoppage-time, waiting for the final whistle. The roar when it came was emphatic.

“Like I said to the guys before the game, we need a lot of guys to have big games,” said Bob Bradley post-match. “Compete, play for each other, to run, make plays. And a lot of guys had big games. That's what it's all about.”

“When seven, eight, nine guys have big games,” he added. “Then your chances of winning go up.”

The victory ended a four-game winless spell and snapped a concurrent scoreless run.

“It always feels good when you can get a win at home,” said Mark-Anthony Kaye. “We haven't had that feeling in a long time, so I hope all the guys really cherish this moment.”

“It's been a tough couple of months for us,” he continued. “To be able to go out there and put out a performance that we're proud of and also have three points to come back into the locker room to celebrate feels really good. Hoping that this can give us the momentum we need for Wednesday. Back to work on Monday and start gearing up for Chicago.”

It was an important win.

“A very important win, we needed the three points,” said Insigne through a translator. “We're glad that we won. It was a very difficult week. A lot of things were said about the club and about us, but it was really important for us to stay together and to work hard and to continue.”

Insigne set up both goals – delivering the corner and teeing up Thompson, his first two assist night in MLS.

“Lorenzo had a big game,” said Bradley.

And a pair of 20-year-olds, Kerr and Thompson, hit the back of the net – their second and firsts of the season, respectively.

Kerr was fielded on the right-side of the attacking three.

“That's probably his best position. He can play across the front three, but we think that as he continues to grow, that's a good spot for him,” said Bradley. “There's still things, timing of runs. We need to get him to where he's training and playing and training and playing so that he can put even more into a game and do it over 90 minutes.”

“We told him tonight, ‘Just go play. Be one of the best players on the field, give us what you have,’” he relayed. “Another good effort.”

Thompson began the game on the bench, but came on in the first half when Brandon Servania had to be withdrawn. 

“Whenever called on, Kosi gives you a good effort. A young player that is still developing,” said the coach. “Great to see him get a goal.”

Goals get the headlines, but it was a whole of team effort on the night. That proved to be the difference.

“We've been in games, games have been tight,” explained Kaye. “Today we understood that it was going to be a fight.”

“The guys were focused for every single play, regardless if someone made a mistake, regardless if things went our way or not. That continued to give us a little bit of momentum throughout every minute of the game,” he continued. “Credit to Deandre, credit to Lorenzo on the corner. Great ball, great finish. You could really sense that the guys felt that tonight was their night and they kept pushing for more.”

The noise at the final whistle was classic BMO.

“Happy for the group of guys, for the club,” said Bradley, asked what went through his mind at that moment. 

“Happy, but I tell you guys all the time there's a lot of work that gets done. This week there was a lot of work. There will also be a lot of work next week,” he added. “That’s where it is.”

TFC will look to carry the feeling into Wednesday’s match against the Chicago Fire.

“I'm proud of everyone today. You can feel the energy from everyone,” said Kaye. “As part of being a professional athlete, there's some weight and pressure you have to carry at certain times, when things are going good and when things are going bad. We can sleep a little bit better tonight, but we still have a lot of work in front of us.”

One win is a start, two would be a streak. One small step in a season, but there is a lot of football to be played. 

“We’ve got to recover quickly and see if we can get, again, a number of guys that step up and play for each other and play football and enjoy it and compete and aren't afraid and all that,” urged Bradley. “That’s how you become a good team.”

Enjoy a good night, but know there is more that lies ahead.

“I'm very happy that we won today, in front of our fans, at home,” said Insigne. “We have another big game coming Wednesday.”

“We have to work hard, both physically and mentally – this game is very challenging that way. We're going to prepare ourselves as much as possible and recuperate so we can have a great game on Wednesday against Chicago,” he closed. “And we want to thank the fans, our fans are great.”