NASHVILLE SC (1) – TORONTO FC (0) POST MATCH SUMMARY
NSH – Daniel Rios 108’
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro (Tony Gallacher 101’), Omar Gonzalez (Liam Fraser 111’), Chris Mavinga, Richie Laryea (Erickson Gallardo 112’); Michael Bradley (C), Jonathan Osorio, Nick DeLeon (Ayo Akinola 62’), Pablo Piatti (Ralph Priso 101’), Alejandro Pozuelo; Jozy Altidore (Patrick Mullins 82’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Laurent Ciman, Eriq Zavaleta
NASHVILLE SC – Joe Willis; Alistair Johnson, Dave Romney, Walker Zimmerman, Daniel Lovitz; Dax McCarty (C), Brian Anunga (Derrick Jones 105’ +1), Randal Leal (Jalil Anibaba 118’), Hany Mukhtar (Matt LaGrassa 111’), Alex Muyl (Taylor Washington 105’+1); Jhonder Cadiz (Daniel Rios 71’)
Substitutes Not Used: Elliot Panicco, Eric Miller, Dominique Badji, Handwalla Bwana
GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
How did you see that one play out?
“We got a little bit of what we anticipated. Which was a well-organized defensive team who’s committed to keeping their lines nice and tight. And they were good in the transition, especially when we turned over balls in between our lines. They’re a well-organized team, they’re good, they have a lot of experience, MLS experience in their group, and they stayed nice and disciplined through the course of the match and they were committed to making the spaces nice and tight and they broke out fast in the transitions. They had the big fella up top who won almost every single ball they played forward and was able to keep attacks alive, connect people and move them into our half of the field. So that kind of set a little bit of the up and down tempo of the game. I felt our biggest challenge on the night was everything was too slow. Against a team that is so committed to recovering back behind the ball, whenever we broke lines and were in good spots to put the pass in between the lines we didn’t attack the next line fast enough. It was too slow. We were sometimes looking for passes that weren’t quite there. We needed to receive with the idea of driving at the next line, to create the next two vs. one, or the next attacking scenario. Because if you don’t do that fast enough, that little edge when you get to another line, that little edge against a team like them, they just recover back under the ball and they make it very difficult for you to create chances. Then when we got into wide areas, we didn’t get service to where we needed it. Sometimes we didn’t have the right numbers in the box. But having said that we had a couple of good chances early, where maybe if we get one. Nick had one. Maybe one other. If we get that one, maybe we settle in and aren’t as stretched out. Just in general, I think the game was too slow. When we got into our set possessions too many numbers were pushing high, which meant that when we turned over the ball, there was too much space between our front attacking group and our back-defending group, which is where balls were falling into. They were getting out quickly and linking off the big fella up top, which made the game very vertical. And we extended a lot of energy in recovery defending and that started to gas us out during the course of the game. So, again, credit to them. They stayed organized and we didn’t do enough on our side to punish them.
What was your message to your team after the game?
“I haven’t spoken to them yet. For our guys, a lot of them have been around for a long time. They want to take a few minutes to themselves. And we’ll speak when we get back to the hotel and get together as a group. We’ll get there. I went to each guy individually, but I haven’t addressed the group. Right now, each is processing the game themselves and I respect that. I’ll let them have that space for now.”
Do you think fatigue set in the last few games?
“Yeah, here’s what I think. Our guys put in an incredible shift in over the course of the body of work of the regular season. Pushing in the end, things caught up with us a little bit. Some of what you would call our top players, our guys who are difference makers, our guys who are important to us in getting results in big games were in and out with injuries, starting to come back in the tail end of the season and I felt we lacked a little bit of fitness, we lacked a little bit of sharpness, a little bit of continuity at times. Tonight, that might have been part of why we were a little bit slow in some of our actions and didn’t connect as fast as we normally would. Some of that fluid combination play just wasn’t as sharp. So, I think we hit the tail end not firing on all cylinders. A little bit of that was guys being in and out and a little bit of the season catching up with us. That’s possible. In the end the guys had the right attitude. Tonight, they wanted to come out and try to take the game. They knew what the challenge was in front of them. We just didn’t execute, and we didn’t execute at speed. That’s football sometimes. Our guys have put in an incredible year, have sacrificed, it’s well-documented, to get to where they are, have the season they had. I feel for them. We just didn’t do enough tonight to win the game.”
MICHAEL BRADLEY – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC
How do you evaluate what of course didn’t quite click as you were hoping tonight?
“Obviously, by and large had decent control of the game. But we weren’t able to really put them on their heels consistently enough, we weren’t able to really create situations of wave after wave of really being dangerous. Look, they’re defensively a good team, a team that understands who they are, what they’re about and they don’t give away a ton of goals and they don’t give away a ton of chances. But having said that, we were able to create a few big ones and when you’re not able to take advantage, when you’re not able to score then they can continue to believe in what they’re doing and the game hangs in the balance and obviously then it turns into a game of who’s going to make a play first. Frustrating, disappointing but that’s football sometimes.”
What do you say as a leader to your teammates as this one finishes?
“It’s never easy right after a game, right after a game that ends your season. Over the next few hours, over the next day or two we’ll find the right ways to end this season and have the right discussions, talk through things, make sure that we’re all on the same page. But again, it’s never easy in a moment like this when you lose a game like that to end your season.”
What is your evaluation of the circumstances this club has dealt with all season?
“2020 has been a really difficult year for everybody, everybody in the world. It doesn’t matter what you do, where you live, it’s been a year filled with unprecedented challenges and so we tried to not ever use any of it as an excuse, so we’re not going to start now.”
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