TORONTO – For Greg Vanney, though he used many more than that in describing it, one word summed up the performance on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field: disconnected.
Toronto FC lost to the Portland Timbers, their first home defeat of the season, by a 2-1 scoreline.
Jonathan Osorio put TFC ahead in the 20th minute when Alejandro Pozuelo's corner kick was nodded down by Eriq Zavaleta and bobbled off a bundle of players in the goalmouth before falling kindly for Osorio to touch in his second of the season.
But Bill Tuiloma responded nearly immediately with a thunderous volley from a Diego Valeri corner kick himself in the 22nd minute and Jeremy Ebobisse got on the end of a Sebastian Blanco cross with a diving header in the 70th minute for what proved the game-winner.
“We were disconnected most of the day,” said Vanney post-match. “They were more cohesive, both on the defending side and the attacking side, because of that they were able to control the game.”
“Too many careless losses of possession: I counted seven lost back passes in the first half,” he continued. “If you lose back passes, you’re going to have a bad day.”
“Disconnected in that way; disconnected in some of our possessions. It’s one thing to pass the ball around and keep possession. It’s another thing to take a possession and turn it into a real attack,” continued his diagnosis. “To [do so] you have to have people who are moving in coordination with each other to manipulate the defending positions of the opposition create space, get behind them. A lot of things were a little bit individual and too slow to have any real bite to it.”
That word again, more or less.
“Disconnection,” echoed Osorio. “Yeah, that's a good way to put it.”
“We lost the ball very cheaply today. Collectively we were not on our game,” continued the goal-scorer. “These types of games come once in a while. We were losing balls that we don’t usually lose and that hurt us. Defensively, we fell asleep: conceding a goal after we score at home is never a good thing.”
“We are going to have to clean those things up,” stressed Osorio. “We're not happy with today. [It] was unacceptable. We're going to work to change that.”
Having taken the lead, Toronto were stung by a stunner from Tuiloma. Though the strike itself appeared rather unstoppable, look a little further back, as Vanney does, and solutions appear. Same for Portland's second.
“They may not be preventable in the split second that they happen, but they are preventable in the grand scheme of things,” maintained Vanney. “The [play that leads to a] corner kick, the first goal, it’s too easy for them to hit the pass that splits six of our guys and ends up to Valeri in-between our lines going forward.”
“They shouldn’t be able to find that pass, that splits that many people, to Valeri, who is then running forward, that then turns into the corner kick,” broke down Vanney. “That play has to be dead. You don’t source the corner kick as necessarily this specific problem. For me, they can’t get into that space so easily and put us in that situation. Yes, it’s a great finish and a good goal. Could we have marked a little closer? Yeah, maybe there are things like that, but the bigger picture on the day was that it was just to easy for them to do anything they wanted to do.”
The defeat was only the second time in five matches that TFC dropped points at home. For Portland, it was a second-straight win after a difficult start to the season in the midst of a lengthy road trip with renovations continuing at Providence Park.
“Whoever we play, whenever we play, wherever we play, we always want to get points out of games,” said Quentin Westberg, who made his home debut. “We have to give the Timbers credit as well; they were clinical in both their finishes.”
“We need to work on some stuff, despite being very gifted throughout the field, having a lot of quality in our squad,” continued the goalkeeper. “If it was just as easy as standing on the field for 90 minutes and getting points, we would all play soccer. It was a little humility check, against a good team.”
Westberg's first taste of BMO Field was soured by the result: “I could really only appreciate the game by winning. I feel comfortable here, really like the atmosphere here, but disappointed we could not get the result today.”
Toronto will be looking to put this one behind them as they prepare for a busy stretch of five matches in 15 days that begins next Saturday with a trip to Florida to face Orlando City SC.
“Frustrating afternoon,” concluded Michael Bradley. “Had a good amount of the ball, weren't quite sharp enough, dangerous enough; I don't think we were at our best. Having said that we're in a bit of a period right now where we pay a high price for any misstep defensively. It wasn't like we gave away a ton of chances. We go up 1-0, they score the equalizer moments later on a set-piece. And then in second half, one of their few, even half-chances, and we get penalized.”
“Frustrating, it's early in the season, we've got to keep going and we will,” continued the captain. “Today didn't go our way, but regardless, the important thing is to keep a good steady mindset; make sure we continue to look at all the things that can improve as the season goes on.”