TORONTO FC (1) – ATLANTA UNITED FC (0) POST MATCH SUMMARY
TFC – Pablo Piatti 89’ (Richie Laryea)
TFC – Omar Gonzalez 42’ (caution)
ATL – Miles Robinson 81’ (caution)
TORONTO FC: 12-2-5 41 PTS.
ATLANTA UNITED FC: 5-10-4 19 PTS.
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr., Omar Gonzalez, Laurent Ciman, Tony Gallacher (Richie Laryea HT’); Jonathan Osorio (C) (Michael Bradley 20’), Marky Delgado (Liam Fraser 78’), Pablo Piatti, Tsubasa Endoh (Nick DeLeon 66’), Alejandro Pozuelo, Patrick Mullins (Jayden Nelson 66’)
Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Silva, Erickson Gallardo, Ralph Priso, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty
ATLANTA UNITED FC – Brad Guzan; Miles Robinson, Fernando Meza, Anton Walkes, George Bello; Eric Remedi (Matheus Rossetto 75’), Emerson Hyndman (Marcelino Moreno HT’), Jurgen Damm (Erick Torres 66’), Mohammed Adams, Jake Mulraney (Ezequiel Barco HT’), Jon Gallagher (Brooks Lennon 66’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alec Kann, Laurence Wyke, Adam Jahn, Jeff Larentowicz
GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Atlanta was a tough nut to crack. Was this just the team sticking to it?
“That was it. It was just sticking with it. I thought we had some good looks, especially in the first half, that we weren’t able to break through. Obviously, Q has to make a great save off the Torres header. Aside from that I didn’t really feel like we were too vulnerable. So, I felt like defensively we were okay. It was just a matter of figuring out the best way through them. In the first half, we were pushing a lot of numbers high and we were kind of creating a wall for ourselves and it was at times difficult for us to get through. They weren’t afraid at times to go man on man. Obviously, with our current state of our group, missing Ayo and Jozy, we had Pat trying to work and then we’re trying to work off of Pat a little bit. So, we were trying different things during the course of the game to create that window of opportunity to try to win it. We went with a lot of different looks, a lot of different shapes to try to unbalance them. In the end, we wanted to get Richie out wide in the second half. So, we try to slide Nick in and drop Liam underneath Richie so Richie could take up some high positions. And can try to get him one on one. And Richie does what he does gets just enough space on this one to put something across the goal. And you know we don’t have the biggest guys in the box, but the littlest guy in the box managed to get his head on one and re directed beautifully to the back post. So, you know five games in sixteen days you win them anyway you can and now we regroup, we get a couple days a home, we get a couple days of training and then another big game next go around against Philadelphia. So really proud again of the effort. It’s been an incredible five game series by our group and everybody stepping up and contributing in many different ways. So proud of the guys.”
Can you talk about Richie Laryea evolving into one of the best outside backs in the league?
“Yeah he is an incredible attacking right back. His defending has gotten a lot better just through the experiences. He’s concentrated on it, but he’s an incredible attacking right back. Obviously, his ability to unbalance defenders in the one on one situations. He’s been working on and getting better at combining with players in twos and threes on the outside so it’s at times he’s able to help us unbalance in combination play. But when we’re able to get him isolated one on one, it’s so difficult for full backs and or wingers who are having to defend him in those situations, because he’s so good, and he usually has the opportunity to really face them up and get himself set up to take them on one on one. He’s just so quick in his first step. That’s the reason why you see a similar version of it in Alphonso Davies, who is kind of a wide player or winger. When those guys get added into the attack as an extra number facing forward a lot of times, they are able to face up. If you have a fullback who can beat people on the dribble it’s like gold. So, Ritchie’s done that for us to the tune of a number of assists and again some goals this year and continues to do it. Our goal today was to get Richie on for the second half with some legs and some freshness, to be able to impact the game and it worked out for us today, and he did what he does.”
What did it mean to get Michael back on the field? Does his experience help him get right back into things?
“I think experience helps when you’ve played as much as he has been in the trenches. You know what it’s like and you have that muscle memory. The second part is he works incredibly hard every single day to get his body into peak performance and fitness. He’s worked really hard through this stretch to keep his fitness level high, but also do every little thing that he can to be ready when the time came. I think I said it before, but he probably could have rushed back maybe a game earlier. But it took a little extra time to continue to work and to train and get sessions under his belt and he came back. I thought he looked sharp. He communicates so well within our team, telling guys when to go and to stay on the press. Defensively he’s always aware of how to manipulate things in space on the field. And obviously his composure on the ball brings us some composure to our group in general, so it was nice. He came in and he settled things down.”
MICHAEL BRADLEY – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC
Good teams find ways to win, you’ve seen your time do just that. Are you liking what you see out there?
“I am. Very much so. I think the mentality of our group continues to shine through in big ways. We have a group that is tried and tested and has been through a lot together. The group constantly evolves, there’s always new faces and when you have new guys that come in you try to put your arms around them right away and welcome them and make them feel at home but at the same time you make sure they understand the standards that have been put in place around here and to make sure that every single guy understands what it means to play for this club and be a part of this group. There’s examples of guys who come here and it’s not so easy for them in that regard and you have others who when they show up, they look around, they see it’s a special club and it’s a great group to be a part of it. We got to keep going, nobody is handing out any awards after tonight, we have to keep going and keep pushing and understand that the biggest games are still to come and if we can continue to get better and continue to get sharper and combine all that with our mentality, we’ll be in a good spot.”
Great goal tonight, you’ve seen Richie over the past couple seasons can you talk about his growth?
“Richie is in terms of young outside back in this league, it’s hard to think that you’re putting anybody ahead of him. I’ve seen firsthand the way that he’s taken an opportunity to come back to Toronto and work every single day, work to try and improve, work to show Greg and the coaches that he could be a guy who can be trusted in big moments as an outside back. He’s such a great teammate, he’s such a great player, he’s such an important guy on our team because his ability to connect with so many different groups of guys, he comes with a smile every single day but he’s got an edge to how he plays, how he trains, if he can continue to improve I think the ceiling for him is still pretty far away. We love having him with us, we’re going to continue to push him and to encourage him but certainly his ability in the attacking part of the field to put defenders on the wrong foot, to go by guys, to create chances, that part is great.”
Wanted to ask about Jonathan Osorio and the job he did as captain while you were sidelined…
“I think both Oso and Marky deserve big credit in this last stretch for the way they both tweaked a little bit of the players that they naturally are to make sure that the team was successful. They understood that in a period where I wasn’t going to be on the field, that they both had to understand even a little bit more the importance of balance in a team, they had to really find a good way to work together and play together and cover for each other, to protect the defence and I think they did an incredible job, both of them. It’s easy in some moments to look at the guys who score or guys who make important plays in the attacking end and we know how important those guys are as well. But it’s also important for people on the outside to understand in this period how good, how consistent and how important Marky and Oso have been for the group. I’m proud of them both, it doesn’t surprise me one bit, I see firsthand every single day how good they are. I love playing with both of them. I think the three of us have an incredible relationship in terms of how we play together and how we understand each other so that parts great. I think for Oso to have an extended chance as captain, that part is special because he’s a Toronto boy. He understands more than anybody what it means to represent this club, to wear that flag around his arm, he understands who he’s playing for, what he’s representing and I know how much it means to him, so I think for anybody you have to appreciate that.”
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