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TORONTO FC (3) – CHICAGO FIRE FC (1) POST GAME SUMMARY
CHI – Robert Berić 16’ (Fabian Herbers)
TOR – Mark Delgado 44’ (Jacob Shaffelburg)
TOR – Omar González 56’ (Yeferson Soteldo)
TOR – Yeferson Soteldo 70’ (Jonathan Osorio)
TOR – Yeferson Soteldo 9’ (caution)
CHI – Chinonso Offor 86’ (caution)
TOR – Richie Laryea 89’ (caution)
Toronto FC 6-15-7 25 points
Chicago Fire FC 7-16-6 27 points
TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Auro Jr., Omar González, Kemar Lawrence, Richie Laryea; Michael Bradley (C), Mark Delgado, Jonathan Osorio; Ifunanyachi Achara (Justin Morrow 84’), Yeferson Soteldo (Patrick Mullins 90’), Jacob Shaffelburg (Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty 77’)
Substitutes Not Used: Quentin Westberg, Luke Singh, Noble Okello, Nick DeLeon, Alejandro Pozuelo, Jayden Nelson
CHICAGO FIRE FC – Gabriel Slonina; Johan Kappelhof (Elliot Collier 75’), Mauricio Pineda, Jonathan Bornstein (C); Federico Navarro, Jhon Espinoza (Stanislav Ivanov 61’), Gastón Giménez, Álvaro Medrán (Chinonso Offor 61’), Miguel Navarro (Francisco Calvo 75’); Fabian Herbers (Ignacio Aliseda 21’), Robert Berić
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Wyatt Omsberg, Javier Casas Jr., Alex Monis
- Toronto FC extend their unbeaten streak to five games in all competitions (four wins, one draw).
- Toronto FC scored three goals in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
- Jacob Shaffelburg has scored or assisted on seven of Toronto FC’s last twelve goals (two goals, five assists).
- Omar González scored his third goal of the 2021 MLS regular season, with all three assisted by Yeferson Soteldo.
JAVIER PÉREZ – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Q. Seems like more of the same, your team played well in the first half and didn’t really get perhaps the rewards and then came out strong in the second. What did you see that you liked today?
The team now as I mentioned before is in a good place, mentally is in a good place. I think offensively with the ball, we are good, feeling comfortable moving the ball. Ultimately finding the opportunities to score. I think we scored three and I think it could have been even more.
The important part is that we are clicking, we are playing as a team and the collective effort takes us to three points and winning games.
Q. Yeferson having a rough first half with the yellow card and did you talk to him in the second half or was that him keeping his head in the game?
I think it’s no question — I think everybody is checking on him, and that was the conversation that I have with the official where he got a knee in his back, but in the end because of the frustration, he complains and he gets a yellow card. These kind of situations happen, right, because he’s the one who has been — the pressure is on him and at the end gets a yellow card.
But I think at halftime, we switched his position with Achara, and I think that helped him a bit more to come in the game and made — for Chicago. I think at this point I think everybody was expecting Yeferson to be at the top but him coming at the side and Achara being up top, it helped us a little bit more to find him and to find the right spaces and in between lines. So I think that was a conversation we had at halftime to be a bit more free and on the side and in between. That helped him to bring alive his game. I’m not in question about his quality.
Q. Now two wins in a row where you’ve kind of conceded first but come-from-behind whereas earlier in the season, whenever you conceded first, it was pretty much the death knell of the club. Aside from the mentality, why has it changed or is it a different mentality?
No, it’s not a different mentality. I think when you look at the numbers or the statistics, you have as well the answer. I think now we are more dangerous. We have more control of the game. We have more possession. We have more opportunities, and it’s just a question of remaining calm when things are not going your way because you know if you are on the other side, at the end you are going to have the chances. You can tie, you can win the game but you know that if you are the dominant team and you have the better side, you are not likely going to lose the game and that has been the story the last two games.
Q. Two goals in as many games by Delgado. What have you seen over the stretch for him to get to those positions?
Yeah, I think again, he has done a great job. Our midfield is getting stronger and our midfield has tempo of the game and now him getting to key positions, we have more opportunities to score. We have up to five or six players tied with three goals, so we know that every time we score a goal, it’s going to be a collective effort, and I think he’s a smart player, and he’s taking advantage of the situation. He’s finding himself in positions where he can score, and tonight it was another opportunity for him to come back and score that goal that brought us back into the game.
Q. You had Pozuelo on the bench, was he there in case of emergency? You didn’t end up needing him.
Yes, Alejandro is obviously a player of amazing quality. But we have to remember that he has been off the field for a very long time. Tonight it was not the time of game that we needed to push and going to play for ten, 15 minutes and maybe he’s going to have an injury he’s going to come back. So there was no need, basically, to put him at the risk. He was there on the bench if he needed to help the team.
But thankfully it wasn’t necessary to use him.
Q. With six games remaining plus the Canadian championship, do you have a sense of what the team’s greatest growth opportunity is? The team has improved in recent form but where can it get better these last few games?
I think we have to grow, again, we have to grow again one game at a time and keep playing the way we are doing for the past now five, six games, and from here now, we need to keep imposing our tempo and style of game, style of play and if we can win the games with more authority and score goals, keep a little bit more the control of the game, and in the end, it’s what we are looking for, being more — win the games with more authority. That’s all.
Q. The team was a little bit late coming out to the second half. What was the delay there?
No, you don’t have to read in between lines. We just prepare. We just talk a little bit how we were going to adjust the team for the second half, which it was not many changes. As you can see the only change was Yeferson being more wide and Achara to be a little bit more up front because we felt like we needed a bit more bite inside the box and need a little bit more freedom to Yeferson to move in between lines, and then coming out on the field is just, I don’t know, getting ready. So it’s nothing to read in between.
JONATHAN OSORIO – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC
Q. We’ll just start with your thoughts on the match tonight, please.
I think it was a good match for us, good performance. We go down a goal again, and for the second time in a row, the response was really good. You know, we earn a penalty right after. We miss it but even the response after that was really good and I thought that was important, and so we find the equalizer before the half. Yeah, it was a great match and I thought we played really well. We executed the plan very well and we’re on a roll and we want to keep it going.
Q. It’s two games in a row now where you’ve come-from-behind to record wins whereas early in the season when you conceded first, it was usually meant almost always — do you have a sense of what’s changed? Why are you guys suddenly now able to come from behind?
I think we changed. We were trying to find the right system for the team and because of injuries and certain things we had to adapt, I think we found a system that really suits us and is the best way for to us play and give us a chance to win games. Along with that, you know, getting I think the Miami game brought us a lot of confidence in the way we fought, even going a man down. It’s just going off the confidence of the previous game and we’ve been doing that ever since the Miami game and so every game we’ve had more confidence and even if we go down a goal we can come right back.
Yeah, I think it’s a combination of a lot of things, and you know, guys in the locker room care. There’s guys that really care and want to keep fighting, so we’ll keep doing that.
Q. What’s your thoughts on just how Soteldo is sort of playing these days? He admitted that he’s struggled a little bit missing his family and all that kind of thing. Lately you could see he’s been lights out. Could you offer a comment on how he’s doing and how he’s playing these days?
He’s playing very well. He’s very effective for us and if we move him to the middle playing as kind of a striker, a false nine, and I think that’s suiting him. He’s stretching the back line for us, which I think we need in our team. He’s in the front three with guys that are stretching the back line making a lot of space for them and making them dangerous as well as making space for guys like me and Marc and Michael in the middle.
I think you know people judge him on not scoring goals and stuff but he contributes a lot. He’s been contributing a lot of our goals. He’s been a big part of most of our goals, but I think he’s more of a provider than a goal scorer but it’s good for him. It was good for him to get on the score sheet and that’s going to give him confidence and so I think he’s only going to get better as he figures out the week and gets his confidence, he’ll be more and more effective for us.
Q. As you know, we don’t get to see you much these days. We don’t get to go to training, so we don’t have a sense of what the team is like away from the games. This run the team is on now, the unbeaten run, is it fun coming into work these days or is it going to take a few more wins before fun comes into it?
No, it’s fun. You know, in this line of work, sometimes when things aren’t going good and of course when you’re not winning, you easily forget the blessing that we have; we’re all here doing what we love and we get to do it every day. There’s not many people in this world that get to say that. You know, even more so in the middle of a pandemic when so much things have happened to people and their businesses and things like that, and so you know, when things were bad, we’ll always have to find a way to keep the spirit up, and you always have to find a way to be grateful no matter what. Of course we’re in a business where winning solves everything. Winning, that’s just the way it is, and that’s fine but of course, nowadays we’re winning, so it’s fun. It’s fun but we try to keep it fun every day. We can’t let the setbacks brings us down and bring us down in our lives. We have to always remember, we are privileged to do what we — to be able to do what we do and we have to come to work and not take that for granted and try to use it to get better and have fun and enjoy it even in the hard times. To answer your question, right now it is fun during that unbeaten run.
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