Team Celebrate vs. SKC

Gritty road point provides building block for Toronto FC

Toronto FC picked up a much needed point with a 2-2 draw away to Sporting KC on Saturday night.

Jonathan Osorio opened the scoring in the 25th minute, getting on the end of a Justin Morrow ball after Sebastian Giovinco found the full-back in space down the left, to net his team-leading sixth goal of the league campaign.

TFC would maintain that advantage into half-time, only for a penalty kick, converted by Ilie Sanchez in the 57th minute, and a Johnny Russell strike four minutes after that overturn their lead.

But, as has been a theme this season, Toronto refused to quit, clawing their way back into a share of the points via Jordan Hamilton's 69th minute strike, his second in as many games.

“Third game in six days; against a good team in their stadium: we’ll take our point and move on; continue to build on this,” said Michael Bradley post-match. “We talked a lot today about the idea that this was the first game of the second half of the season. It’s pretty clear what we have to do from here on in: we’ve got to win our fair share of games, but there’s going to be days where we can’t win and we’ve got to find ways to pick up points. From that standpoint, a lot of positives tonight.”

The draw snapped a three-game losing streak as Toronto's hectic July continues apace.

“You have to take it for what it is,” said Greg Vanney. “We would have liked to get three points, but in the situation that were in, we needed to stop [the losing streak].”

“We needed to build some momentum,” continued Vanney. “We worked hard [in] the things that we’ve talked about, did a little bit better tonight. A Western Conference point... it’s a tough place to come and get anything, so we’ll take it. But we know, with the games coming up, we need to continue to get healthy and hopefully we can take three points along the way.”

Kansas City has not been a friendly spot for TFC over the years. Saturday's point was just the second the side had earned there in the last nine visits, stretching back to a 3-2 opening day win in 2009.

“Any time you can come into Kansas City and get a road point it's a good result. Any other season we would have taken it,” said Alex Bono. “We talked about putting in a good performance and the result would take care of itself from there. For the most part, we put in a good shift and were rewarded with a road point.”

Three macrofactors in particular played into the result, though none proved perfect: surviving the opening fifteen minutes, scoring the first goal, and, six-minute flurry aside, all together being harder to play against.

“It’s good to get the first goal and feel a little bit of confidence,” explained Vanney. “You can build into the game. But again, it became a game of managing the numbers that were hanging out behind us and still managing to get pressure to the ball. And because we didn’t do a great job of that at times – we were a little bit deep in our half sometimes and dealing with things in front of our goal – that’s ultimately where their second goal came from. We have to deal with those situations better.”

“We were closer together as a group; were able to make some plays, cover for each other, and help each other out more times than not tonight. From that standpoint, that was better,” added Vanney. “In terms of dealing with the numbers pushing forward and still managing to get pressure to the ball, it was probably not as comfortable as we would have liked it to be. That’s a situation that we’ll deal with.”

Said Bradley: “It was nice to play from the lead for a little while. And then we have five minutes of madness in the second half where the game gets turned on its head for no reason. That part is frustrating and disappointing. The response was excellent. We’ll use this and continue to keep going.

Saturday, point aside, was a milestone of sorts in the 2018 campaign.

“This was game number 18: the first game of the second half of the year,” said Bradley. “You don’t need to be great with numbers to look at the table and realize we’ve got to take a lot of points here in the second half.”

“The best way to take points is to win,” continued Bradley. “You’re not going to be able to win every game. On the days when you can’t win, you have to be able to tie games because single points add up.”

Toronto is back in action next Saturday with a road trip to face Orlando City SC. Then comes the first leg of the Canadian Championship series against Ottawa Fury FC.

The MLS summer grinds on, as does TFC.

Said Bono: “By no means was it close to perfect, but it's a point; those have been hard to come by. We're going to take them where we can get them, take the positives, fix the mistakes, and move on to the next week. Take it game by game and fight our way back.”