Ask for help. Toronto FC continues to revamp its roster in search of success | NanaimoNewsNOW
Help is needed.
Winless in three games, Toronto has just two wins in its last 12 league outings (2-8-2) and is looking to turn things around on Wednesday with a visit to lowly Chicago Fire (4-10-5).
With some 20 first-team players gone after last season, Bradley knew a rebuild was not going to happen overnight. Fans probably saw things with rosier glasses, at least for a while, as the veteran coach showcased young Canadian talent like Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Jayden Nelson, Luca Petrasso, Kosi Thompson and Ralph Priso.
Spain striker Jesus Jimenez also provided reason for optimism with eight goals, turning heads at the start of the season. But he hasn’t scored in his last seven league outings.
Canadian midfielder Jonathan Osorio continues to excel.
“On paper, the team is already better,” he said. “And so because of that, expectations are rising. It’s normal and I think it should be that way.
“But at the same time, we know it’s a process. We are still a new team.
While there have been flashes of effective and dangerous and rapid counter-attacks, there have also been missteps and misfortunes.
It turned out to be a half-season audition with Insigne, fellow Italian Domenico Criscito and Canadian Mark-Anthony Kaye during the league’s secondary transfer window. Their presence has yet to be felt, although Criscito, 35, looked impressive at left-back on his debut at the weekend, and more additions are expected.
“The first half of the season was always going to be (an) opportunity for young players, which it was,” Bradley said recently. “And we saw good things, we saw things that still need to be improved. It’s normal.
“And from there, we assess and review the options and figure out how we want to move forward.”
Bradley enjoys working with young talent. But it is also realistic.
Sending the highly promising 19-year-old Priso to Colorado on the trade that brought in 27-year-old Kaye, Bradley said the Kaye-Priso equation was simple.
“I think at this point Mark is way ahead of Ralph,” Bradley said. “I think Ralph is a good young player.
“With all our young players, there is talent, there are good guys. But then there’s the process of growing into a team and becoming guys you can rely on.
Chicago, which occupies the basement of the league, has its own problems.
The Fire blew a 2-0 lead over the weekend, eventually losing 3-2 on a late goal while visiting Columbus. It was Chicago’s ninth loss in its last 12 MLS games (2-9-1).
“A tough match as always,” Osorio said. “They’re a team that I think come into this game trying to bounce back from a bad home loss… It’s a big game for them, as it is for us.”
Chicago coach Ezra Hendrickson didn’t mince words after the latest loss.
“We didn’t fight at all in the second half, you know. We just lay down and let them pass through us, led by us, don’t run at them with our guys,” he said. “And when you do that, the teams punish you.
“But, absolutely no excuse to lose again at home like this, until 2-0 at half time and all you have to do now is run the game; make sure the team don’t score and you win the game. But they came at us, hit and we didn’t fight back and, you know, they got the win.
Toronto suffered similar late pain last Saturday, settling for a 2-2 draw with San Jose after conceding a goal in stoppage time that nullified a two-goal TFC comeback.
“At the end of the day, when everything requires that little extra bit of focus, that little extra bit of knowing what each moment is about, everyone has to understand that,” Bradley said. “Even if you have a large percentage of guys on the pitch at the time who understand it, if a few don’t understand it, you can still pay the price.”
Toronto beat Chicago 3-2 on May 28, extending its unbeaten streak against the Fire to 14 games (11-0-3) since September 2015. No MLS team has ever played 15 straight regular season games against a single opponent with no loser.
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This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 12, 2022.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press