Toronto FC fell 1-0 to Oklahoma City Energy FC on a windy Wednesday night in Bradenton, Florida.
It’s a terrific result for the Energy and head coach Jimmy Nielsen. The USL side played compact, organized soccer in the first half as TFC maintained the majority of possession and won several corners. Kyle Greig slotted home a rebound in the 50th minute for the game’s lone goal. TFC made wholesale changes in the 55th minute, and the second unit won a penalty just five minutes later. Luke Moore slid the penalty wide, and though the Reds had their chances in the final half hour, an equalizer didn’t materialize.
For the Reds it’s game one of four in Bradenton. There are certainly things to work on, but the sky is not falling. It’s called the preseason for a reason
Here are three takeaways from the match.
Chemistry on the pitch isn’t built quickly
Toronto FC fielded an extremely strong starting XI. Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco made their club debut and while no goals were scored, there were positive moments.
With that said there was clearly something missing in the attacking third. Players were hesitant to make runs and passes weren’t made with intent. That was to be expected.
“We’re still getting used to each other a little bit,” said Greg Vanney following the game. “We were just a touch slow in our ball circulation and we were having a hard time finding gaps to play Sebastian into and find Jozy.”
The second unit put in a strong performance
Vanney made wholesale changes in the 55th minute, replacing the entire starting XI. The second unit consisted of players looking to push their way into consideration for a spot in the first XI.
Ashtone Morgan registered a strong 35 minute performance. “Personally I felt great,” said the Toronto native. “It was energetic up and down the flank.” Morgan’s aggressive play earned a yellow card in the 67th minute.
Daniel Lovitz, Morgan, Jay Chapman and Moore, despite the penalty miss, generated a number of chances on the Energy goal.
The Michigan State product earned praise from Vanney following the match. Thus far Chapman’s transition from the collegiate ranks to the pros has been impressively smooth.
“He has soccer in him,” said Michael Bradley. “He has a [good] brain. He reads the game and he’s good to play with. Those are all great things. Obviously the challenge for him as the season goes on, is making sure the things that he does count as the games get better and harder. Having had the chance to get to know him a little bit I know he’ll be excited by that challenge."
OKC – Kyle Greig 50’
OKC – Gareth Evans (caution) 52’
TFC – Ashtone Morgan (caution) 67’
Toronto FC – Joe Bendik (Chris Konopka 56’); Mark Bloom (Warren Creavalle 56’), Nick Hagglund (Eriq Zavaleta 56’), Damien Perquis (Steven Caldwell 56’), Justin Morrow (Ashtone Morgan 56’); Michael Bradley (Collen Warner 56’), Benoit Cheyrou (Marco Delgado 56’), Sebastian Giovinco (Jay Chapman 56’); Robbie Findley (Bright Dike 56’), Jozy Altidore (Luke Moore 56’), Jonathan Osorio (Daniel Lovitz 56’)
Oklahoma City Energy FC – Evan Newton*; Michael Thomas, Mark Howard, Jacob VanCompernolle, Peabo Doue; Gareth Evans, Chuy Sanchez, Danny Delgado (Peter Toth* 75’); Daniel Gonzalez (Reed McKenna*64’), Sebastian Dalgaard, Kyle Greig