Toronto FC

Reds fall in final send off from BMO Field, look ahead to season finale on the road

Toronto FC lost their final home match of the 2022 MLS season on Friday night, falling 1-0 to Inter Miami CF at BMO Field. 

Gonzalo Higuaín’s 86th minute strike proved the difference, sweeping a left-footer past Quentin Westberg. TFC had a number of chances to take the lead prior, especially in the first half, but were unable to put one into the visitors net.

“The first half was good. We created some really good chances, got into the box in a bunch of different ways,” said Bob Bradley post-match. “And then I just didn't think we started the second half well. Made subs, I didn't think the subs helped, so overall the second half wasn't good enough.”

“We didn't have the same push,” he continued. “We allowed them to come into the game more and we gave up a late goal.”

Higuaín’s strike came on the one real defensive lapse Toronto allowed. Caught out of shape nobody could put a stop to the ball movement and a few passes later the most dangerous player for Miami was on it at the top of the box.

“We were slow to move over, we were spread out,” said Bradley. “Give him a chance like that and he's going to put it away.”

TFC had hoped to send their fans home with a better result.

“I'm very sorry for this game,” said Federico Bernardeschi, with occasional assistance from a translator. “We had more chances in the first half and we didn't score. I'm very sorry because it's the last game at home, in front of our fans. I'm very sorry we didn't win this game.”

“I'm very sorry for how the season ended,” he added. “We lost games we shouldn't have lost. We knew it was difficult this year, but next year, we will [do everything to] win. This season is very difficult. I arrived in [the middle of] the season and it’s very important for me to get comfortable in the new team. Next season we will try to win, for sure.”

Eliminated from playoff contention, at the end of a long, hard season, unable to capitalize on the good chances created and then conceding late, there was some frustration on the night.

“There was a little bit of frustration in the group,” allowed Bradley. “Maybe.”

Bernardeschi agreed, but noted that that is just the other side of the coin.

“I'm angry, I feel bad when I lose the ball or I lose passes. This is my myself, no?” he explained. “For me, every ball, every game, is important. It's very important that the passion is in the field because when you have a passion, you have a heart in the field, everything is possible.”

Coming to North America in the prime of his career was a leap of faith. Nothing worth doing ever comes easy. 

Bernardeschi believes.

“I'm very happy because it's a wonderful city, it's a great society. I spoke with you the first time at the conference, said, ‘we have a great project.’ I chose here because of the project,” he reiterated. “It’s difficult, but my mind thought, ‘perfect.’ This is the way, this path and this road for the project, for the future.”

Toronto will close the season next Sunday away to the Philadelphia Union, but the work for next season has already begun. It began when Bob Bradley came on board. It doesn’t stop.

Friday was fan appreciation day, the players and coaches were sure to let the faithful know what their support has meant to them this season.

“It's awesome to see the fans game in and game out,” said Bradley. “We've been able to give them a few moments of the football that they deserve, but not enough moments, not consistent enough. These fans deserve a team that's going to compete at the top part of the league.”

“We know that and that is the work that goes on every day. It's a crowd that understands football, so you've got to have a team that the way you play fits in there as well,” he continued. “That's what I mean when I say there's been some moments where the football is something that fans can see is going in a good direction, but we've hurt ourselves all too often with inconsistency – too many mistakes in different moments and not an ability to go from game to game to game.”

“We know that there's work to do, but we thank the fans for always being there,” Bradley closed. “And we know the responsibility that we all have to give them a team that can compete, a team that plays great football, a team that plays with energy and passion every game.”

Said Bernardeschi: “The fans are fantastic.”

“It was difficult for them, the team this season in the ranking is not good, but the fans every game, every time, they sung, they supported and for us this is very important – very important – when we’re on the field,” he continued. “This ambience is very important for us, for the team.”

“Thank you for the support.”