Toronto FC

Reds rue slow start in loss to New England, turn focus to Canadian Championship

Toronto FC lost 2-0 to the New England Revolution on Saturday night at BMO Field. 

Bobby Wood scored the opening goal in the 19th minute when he forced a turnover out of Sigurd Rosted and slipped his finish past Sean Johnson.

And DeJuan Jones added the second in the 62nd minute, tucking in the rebound from a Carles Gil shot just as TFC went to their reinforcements for a late push.

“Frustrating, slow start, mistake to get behind, and then in too many cases, a team that was frustrated,” said Bob Bradley post-match. “Trying to find a way to get back into the game, we made a change to see if we could spark something and then quickly gave up the second goal. Made a few chances after that, but yes, frustrating.”

“You could see the frustration on the field,” he added. “Against a good team, that's hard.” 

Said Mark-Anthony Kaye: “We started slow. Missed touches, missed passes, the game was still 0-0, tough mistake that they capitalized on and we're down 1-0.”

“We started to pick up the intensity after, but this is a tough league. When you're playing at home, you have to dictate the tempo from the first minute and we struggled to do that,” he continued. “Even in the second half, we got on the ball more and were able to move it forward, but really didn't create much. Yes, we had possession, but we're still lacking some quality moments in the final third, and then the goal they score just makes it even harder.”

“It was a frustrating game,” added the midfielder. “Can't sulk about it too long, because we have a game on Tuesday and a lot of games this month. Definitely a bitter feeling this one.”

Saturday was just the third time through 11 matches that TFC has been held scoreless – the other two were 0-0 draws.

“We generated a lot of shots tonight; how many really good chances?” levelled Bradley. “In certain moments our ability to run harder in the box to open up possibilities. We get in spots where, whether it’s a cut-back or a cross, we don't do well enough to make more out of those.”

“We won some balls in good positions, but couldn't play quickly enough to really take that advantage and turn it into something,” he outlined. “We're still not as strong, as consistent an attacking team as we need to be.”

On the heels of a tidy 1-0 win over NYCFC last weekend and results against Nashville SC and Atlanta United, all teams in the top five of the Eastern Conference, Saturday was a chance for TFC to test themselves against a New England side at the top of both the East and the league. 

“We didn't give ourselves a chance today because we didn't start well” replied Bradley, asked of that measuring stick. “It wasn't like they were creating big chances either, but then we make the mistake and get behind.”

“Last week we had a really good team effort, where from the beginning we were on top of things and you felt like everybody was into it,” he contrasted. “And when it didn't start as well tonight, we didn't handle that well.”

There is little time to dwell as Saturday kicked off a busy month of action. On Tuesday TFC will face CF Montreal in the Canadian Championship, the first of a home-and-away cup and league double-header – Toronto travels to Montreal for an MLS clash on Saturday. 

Toronto faces another pair of short turnarounds: hosting the New York Red Bulls the following Wednesday and heading to Texas for a date with Austin FC on Saturday.

The winner of Tuesday’s match will face the winner of the quarterfinal between Atlético Ottawa and Forge FC later this month. Toronto’s quest to lift the Voyageurs Cup and earn a berth in the Concacaf Champions League begins here.

“It's a big game, a rivalry,” underlined Kaye. “It'll be a good test for us. Hopefully, the level of the contest will really bring out something in us where there's some hunger and guys will go out there and really compete.”

“It's a real opportunity to get to the Champions League – I miss being in the Champions League, it kind of sucks watching other teams in it. We have a real good opportunity to get there,” he closed. “A good match. I have some old friends that are now foes on Montreal, so I look forward to playing against them. It'll be exciting.”