TORONTO FC (2) – D.C. UNITED (2) POST MATCH SUMMARY
DCU – Ola Kamara 5’
TFC – Alejandro Pozuelo 17’
TFC – Ayo Akinola 60’ (Pablo Piatti)
DCU – Griffin Yow 88’
TFC – Nick DeLeon 25’ (caution)
TFC – Pablo Piatti 41’ (caution)
TFC – Richie Laryea 67’ (caution)
DCU – Kevin Paredes 81’ (caution)
TORONTO FC: 6-2-4 22 PTS.
D.C. UNITED: 2-5-5 11 PTS.
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Richie Laryea, Eriq Zavaleta (Chris Mavinga 75’), Omar Gonzalez, Justin Morrow; Nick DeLeon (Laurent Ciman 82’), Jonathan Osorio (C), Marky Delgado, Pablo Piatti (Patrick Mullins 90’), Alejandro Pozuelo (Tsubasa Endoh 90’); Jozy Altidore (Ayo Akinola, HT’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Tony Gallacher, Erickson Gallardo, Jayden Nelson
D.C. UNITED – Bill Hamid; Chris Odoi-Atsem (Erik Sorga 87’), Fredric Brillant (C), Donovan Pines, Joseph Mora; Junior Moreno, Yamil Asad (Federico Higuain 78’), Mohammed Abu (Griffin Yow HT’), Julian Gressel (Moses Nyman 78’); Ola Kamara, Gelmin Rivas (Kevin Paredes 68’)
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Earl Edwards Jr., Axel Sjoberg, Oniel Fisher
GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
What went wrong with the team’s defending?
“I think the first half it was very random. Guys were moving all over the place trying to find the ball. We didn’t have much shape. And as we were running all over the place trying to find the ball and trying to create things and leaving spaces open, we become vulnerable in the transition. And in the defensive transition, we don’t control the game. It seems like we normally control the game. It wasn’t anything overly sophisticated or complicated about what they did. It was a pretty straight up 4-4-2, but we have to be more disciplined about the areas of the field that we need to have players in. And we need our players to be in the right positions at the right times and we were very busy. That left us vulnerable in the first half. It cost us a lot of energy in the first half because we end up running at times we don’t have to run, for no purpose. We end up getting exposed in the transition, which means a lot of work in the transition because spaces are open, they get out in those spaces and we need to sprint to recover. And it becomes incredibly inefficient. And we’re on the road and the start of a tough road trip, and we burned a lot of energy for not a lot of gain in the first half. We give away an absolute howler on the first goal, which is never the way you want to start a game. And we come out in the second half a little more structured, we switched some things around to get some structure out of the game, and I thought we had a little bit better, for the first 25-30 minutes, had a little bit better shape in terms of with the ball, moving a little more purposeful, we created a few more chances, got in deeper into their half. But still we started to fatigue. These games a bit of a war of attrition, between travel, between injuries and guys carrying things, and these games come back to back to back, so you try to push guys through. They’re having the same issues as we’re having and we’re thin in the midfield right now and trying to work our way through it. And so, the second goal comes off…our midfield is physically struggling a little bit, so we went with a third centre back, thinking if at least we can force them to put crosses in we will have numbers in front of the goal. We need to protect the middle of the field. And sure, enough they put a cross in and Q (Westberg) comes to get it, calls for it, Omar stays in and heads it. So either Q needs to get it, or Omar needs to clear space for him so he can take it, or Omar’s got to make sure he clears it, so neither of the above happened, so we head it back down and their guy smacks it into what’s a relatively empty net. So, yeah, the other part of it is there’s some defensive things that … we have this sense right now that we have to win every single ball and every single pass, so our defensive shape is at times very impatient, and because of that we expend a lot of energy chasing balls. We just need to be more patient sometimes. We can’t press everything. And tonight, we were … because I think we started off playing from behind … our patience wanes a little bit and we are pushing the game a little bit too much and we’re expending too much energy through the course of it. So, there’s a synopsis of the game, I guess.”
How is Pablo Piatti? He looked like he was injured?
“Yeah, he was cramping. It wasn’t anything more than that, so he should be okay. We’ll hydrate and all that kind of stuff and he should be okay.”
What’s your sense on why you guys are giving up late goals so frequently?
“Yeah, the first 2-2 draw against them was a diabolical collapse of nonsense which is, you know, us giving away essentially goals very similar to the way we did tonight. You know, we lose a ball in a bad place they go on a breakaway. It was reminiscent of the Higuain’s goal against us and that first game. When you collapse like that and you put yourself in a tough situation. The second goal is reminiscent of how they how they scored at the very end. They just a lump of ball into the box we don’t clear it and you know … the last one they nodded it down and they were first to it, and tonight, we nod it down for them and they bury it. So, it’s you know, we’ve got to be a little to be a little bit more structured and cleaner about how we defend when we’re under a little bit of pressure. We’ve been the aggressors in many of these games, which has helped us a lot of times to get on top of the games. But you know, when we are seeing out leads, we need to recognize that, and be a bit more patient about our defensive structure and what we can deal with. And so, it’s something we definitely need to continue to grow at, as a group. Obviously, with guys slightly out of position, doing different roles, especially in the midfield, some of that structure gets a little bit lost in the midfield. But guys are putting in a heavy shift and they’re doing everything they can. It’s just sometimes they’re not used to the specific roles they have, so we’re trying to work through some of that as well. So, it’s the nature of the beast right now. Again, a lot of teams are dealing with it. We can’t give up silly goals like we did at the beginning and we have to do better to clear balls when we’re under a little bit of pressure at the end of games. That’s been a big chunk of it.”
AYO AKINOLA – FORWARD, TORONTO FC
Does tonight’s tie feel more like a loss?
“Yeah in a way. We had the lead for a good amount of time, a little bit of fatigue that caused the second goal. But yeah definitely this tie feels like a loss. One thing that’s good about us, after a result like this we usually bounce back. Going into the next game we’re definitely going to prepare ourselves a lot better.”
What’s it like playing in these games? Away to DC and New York then a home game in Connecticut. How do you prepare yourself? Do the games feel different?
“Prepare like we’re at home. Obviously, every game now is going to feel like we’re away. Some may think just because we’re away we’re going to be the underdogs, but we have the mindset that every game we play like it’s our last. We feel like sometimes we’re the home team with how we move the ball and possess it. It definitely feels weird, but nothing surprising to us, especially being down in Orlando. We were away from home for a long time. It’s like Orlando part two for us, definitely weird but nothing surprising to us. We should be ok with it.”
Can you break down your goal?
“I didn’t see who played the ball to Richie. Richie went down the line and crossed it. On his cross, I thought he missed everyone, I didn’t know who he was trying to play it to, but Pablo was there. At first, I thought Pablo was going to take a touch, but he put it back first time right onto my head. As I headed it, I thought for a split second that Hamid was going to save it, but it passed by him.”
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