Toronto FC lost 4-2 away to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.
An own-goal off Lukas MacNaughton in the 16th minute was followed by two more from Mikael Uhre in the first half. Uhre completed his hat-trick in the 56th minute.
Lorenzo Insigne would pull one back in the 66th minute with a lovely finish, curling a right-footer in after Jonathan Osorio’s through-ball found him on the left and Richie Laryea would find another in stoppage-time, his second in as many matches, but the damage was done in the opening hour.
“It definitely got away,” said Bob Bradley post-match. “They came out with more intensity, we were second to every ball, we made some bad mistakes. When you come here you understand that they play balls forward, they run really hard, they get guys in the box, they put really good balls across and so your understanding of what kind of game it’s going to be [is important].”
“We didn't start in a way that we were ready for the game, dug ourselves a big hole,” he continued. “Had some moments in the first half where we were getting going a little bit, but the second and third goals come. If you can just survive a little bit and get to half-time even at two – three is really hard. We had moments in the second half that got better, but we've got to look hard at ourselves because the way we started the game and most of the first half wasn't good enough.”
Said Osorio, wearing the armband on the night: “It's a game that got away from us in the first half, silly mistakes and a lack of intensity from the whole team.”
“We understood what we were coming into: their style of play and the way they play. This is a team that has a certain idea of how they play and they commit to it 100%,” he continued. “If you don't bring the intensity, they’ll make you pay for it. That's what happened to us in the first half. Second half it was a little bit better, but overall we know we have to be better.”
An own-goal for the first – Sigurd Rosted’s emergency clearance rebounding off MacNaughton, four minutes later the second, which took a hefty deflection as well, all inside the opening 20 minutes of play, set the tone.
“They came on the front foot and we were a little bit under it,” said Osorio. “At first I thought we were dealing with it. They got a good chance, Sean [Johnson] makes a really good save. It's a pretty unlucky play, we're trying to clear the ball and it goes off our own guy, bounces into our net.”
“We didn't do a good job of responding in the right way after a bad bounce like that,” he continued. “Really good teams don't let those things rattle them, they put that in the past and move forward. Today we let it rattle us a little bit and played into their game-plan. It hurt us in the end.”
Bob Bradley’s half-time message was plain: “Not good enough.”
“Second to every ball, not enough intensity,” he continued. “If you allow a team to beat you to every play, come away with every duel. Philadelphia plays with a physical edge, we didn't respond well. You can't win a game like that just because at times you move the ball quick.”
Toronto did find some life at the start of the second half, but Philadelphia’s fourth all but finished off the result.
“We played at a better tempo, stepped up a little faster,” said Bradley. “We have to understand that that's got to be a regular part of the way we play against teams like this. The next step is the tempo and the intensity to go with the football. It showed tonight that we're not there.”
Insigne, making just his second appearance back from injury, went 85 minutes and showed just how dangerous he can be: scoring his first of the season and threatening on several occasions to net again.
“Some good moments and good to get him the number of minutes,” observed Bradley. “He got himself a good goal. He had some other chances.”
Added Osorio: “We missed him.”
“He brings a lot of quality to the team. He showed today, especially in the second half, how special he can be, scoring that goal and having a couple more chances that the goalie has to make really good saves on,” he continued. “It's good he played the amount of minutes that he did, came out of it feeling pretty good, that's good for us moving forward.”
Toronto will play their next two matches at BMO Field.
Two more challenging outings with NYCFC, who sit fourth in the East, visiting next Saturday and current conference leaders the New England Revolution the following weekend.
Frank conversations after the final whistle began the preparations.
“We’re trying to figure it out,” said Osorio. “This season has been a weird one to really put your finger on. We've been in every game minus this one today, so we're just trying to figure out how we can take the next step.”
“Guys are together, speaking, letting their opinions out and seeing where we can move forward and get better. Guys care, guys in this locker room care,” he closed. “We'll be working really hard this week to figure it out and put it all together to put in a much better performance next Saturday in front of our home crowd.”