Toronto FC were forced to settle for a single point on Wednesday night, drawing 0-0 with the Chicago Fire at BMO Field.
It was a third result in four games, following a scoreless draw against the New York Red Bulls and Saturday’s 2-1 win over D.C. United, but TFC lamented not being able to find a breakthrough on a night where they crafted a number of advantages.
“Created a lot of chances, especially in the first half – needed to get a goal for sure by half-time,” said Bob Bradley post-match. “Second half, they sat a little deeper and we were not able to create as much.”
“When they sit deeper, your ability to break them down with some of the final moments [is challenged] and then we didn't get enough from our set-pieces tonight – also important when a team is sitting so low,” he continued. “Tonight is a night where you have enough chances to win. It's a frustrating night if you create that many chances, don't give too much away, and can't take three points.”
19 shots, seven on goal, Toronto forced seven saves out of the Chicago goalkeepers – Spencer Richey replaced Chris Brady in the first half after the starting keeper was bloodied and shaken up in a challenge.
Lorenzo Insigne whisked a curling ball wide of the far-post after Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty forced a dangerous turnover. Federico Bernardeschi cut in from the flank and hit a blast destined for the bottom corner, only for Brady to turn it wide. Kosi Thompson nearly scored for a second straight outing with another header, only for the goalkeeper to parry and sacrifice himself to block off the rebound before Deandre Kerr could turn it home. And Kerr had perhaps the best chance of the night: a lovely threaded ball from Aimé Mabika sprung Thompson down the right channel, but his centering ball was a tad overcooked for Kerr to redirect it goalwards.
“We built up the game almost perfectly: we were ending up in their box a ton, getting a bunch of pretty big chances. The last thing to do is to finish it,” said Richie Laryea after another sparkling performance. “We got in very good spots, that's good, but you need to be able to finish.”
“We had three, four, maybe even five clear-cut chances in the first half and then second half they sit deep and it seems like they're happy with a tie,” he continued. “Obviously a little bit tough. At this stage we want to be winning. We played well enough. It's a performance that is good in terms of making chances, but we have to put them away.”
As May turns to June, after one more outing in quick succession this Saturday away to Minnesota United, the rampant pace of action will lessen before resuming at the end of the month. It was a frustrating period, but the group has the sense that better times lie ahead.
“Whenever you play a game like that and you have those kinds of chances and you don't take three points, there's already a level of frustration,” levelled Bradley. “Tack that on to the fact that right now we need three points almost every time out.”
“But there's still a sense of the good things that happened, especially in the first half, and the chances that were created,” he highlighted. “And now the idea is can we continue to create that many chances every game.”
These are the rhythms of a season.
“It's professional sports,” said Laryea. “It's normal you’re going to have ups and downs, going to have things that come up, and everyone's dealt with it super well. The mood is normal. It's getting after it each and every game.”
“We came into this game with a big mentality, looking for three points, and we did enough today to get it, just we didn't score any goals. Everyone's going to be disappointed that we didn't take all three points at home, but I think there's a lot of positives to go with that as well,” he continued. “It's a competitive group. It's a team that wants to win.”
“I can speak for myself, I'm pissed we didn't get the three points and we fully deserved it. With everything going on, it was almost perfect for us to get another big win at home, but it did it play out like that,” Laryea added. “Now we have the weekend to look forward to, to get another three points, and get this thing going.”
After Minnesota, TFC will have a week to prepare for the visit of Nashville SC to BMO Field next Saturday. Away matches to FC Cincinnati and the New England Revolution close the month in quick succession before July begins back at BMO Field against Real Salt Lake.
Toronto will look to continue to progress in their upcoming travels.
“Our mentality in all of our away games has been good. Other than the mistakes that we made against Philadelphia, where that game got away from us, we've found ways to keep things tight,” said Bradley. “In some of those situations we don't create enough.”
“We've been hard to play against, we've not given away much, but now the same ideas that got us more chances in this game,” he urged. “We've got to have the confidence when we go to Minnesota that we're going to play and create more chances like that again.”