TORONTO FC ANNOUNCE 2022 MLS REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Toronto FC’s complete 2022 Major League Soccer (MLS) regular season schedule was released today by MLS ahead of the 27th season.
In TFC’s 16th season, the home opener is set for Saturday, March 5, at 2:00 pm ET at BMO Field against the New York Red Bulls. The club kicks off the season on Saturday, February 26 at 5:30 p.m. ET when the Reds face FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.
During the 2022 season, Toronto FC will play 34 regular season matches (17 home and 17 away), facing Eastern Conference opponents twice, and playing eight games against non-conference teams (FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake, Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders, San Jose Earthquakes, Nashville SC, Portland Timbers and LA Galaxy). The Reds will play 23 matches on Saturdays, five on both Sundays and Wednesdays, and one on a Friday. At BMO Field, Toronto FC will play 12 matches on Saturdays, three on Wednesdays and one on both a Friday and a Sunday. All of TFC’s regular season MLS matches will be televised across Canada on TSN.
The 2022 MLS Regular Season Schedule can be found below or visit mlssoccer.com.
Toronto FC announced today the following roster moves to conclude the 2021 MLS season. A total of 15 players are currently under contract for 2022.
Toronto FC has exercised the contract options on goalkeeper Quentin Westberg; defender Auro Jr; midfielders Jonathan Osorio, Noble Okello and forwards Jacob Shaffelburg and Ifunanyachi Achara.
Toronto FC has not exercised options on goalkeeper Kevin Silva; defenders Omar Gonzalez, Eriq Zavaleta, Rocco Romeo, and forward Patrick Mullins.
Defender Julian Dunn; midfielders Liam Fraser, Nick DeLeon, Tsubasa Endoh and forwards Erickson Gallardo and Ayo Akinola will be out of contract at the end of the year.
Fifteen players remain under contract for the 2022 season. They are: goalkeeper Alex Bono; defenders Chris Mavinga, Richie Laryea, Kemar Lawrence, Luke Singh; midfielders Michael Bradley, Yeferson Soteldo, Mark Delgado, Alejandro Pozuelo, Ralph Priso and forwards Jozy Altidore, Dom Dwyer, Jordan Perruzza, Jayden Nelson and Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty.
Defender Justin Morrow announced his retirement in September 2021.
Toronto FC’s 2022 roster as it currently stands:
Goalkeepers (2): Alex Bono, Quentin Westberg
Defenders (5): Richie Laryea, Chris Mavinga, Luke Singh and Kemar Lawrence, Auro Jr.
Midfielders (7): Michael Bradley, Mark Delgado, Jonathan Osorio, Noble Okello, Ralph Priso, Yeferson Soteldo, Alejandro Pozuelo
Forwards (7): Jozy Altidore, Dom Dwyer, Jordan Perruzza, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Jayden Nelson, Ifunanyachi Achara and Jacob Shaffelburg
A season with so much promise came to an abrupt end Thursday afternoon. Portland’s Larrys Mabiala deflated a packed Dick’s Sports Goods Field with a 90th-minute goal, ending the Colorado Rapids’ MLS Cup hopes with a 1-0 defeat in the second round of the playoffs. 645 more words
After mutually agreeing to end a four-year run managing the Los Angeles Football Club, Bob Bradley needed less than a week to move across the continent for his next assignment. Bradley, 63, was officially introduced as the head coach and sporting director for Toronto FC on Wednesday, placing him in the same organization as his…
CF MONTRÉAL (1) – TORONTO FC (0) POST GAME SUMMARY
MTL – Romell Quioto 72’ (Rudy Camacho)
MTL – Joaquín Torres 21’ (caution)
TOR – Richie Laryea 36’ (caution)
TOR – Yeferson Soteldo 57’ (caution)
TOR – Mark Delgado 87’ (caution)
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Julian Dunn, Michael Bradley (C), Chris Mavinga; Richie Laryea, Noble Okello (Jordan Perruzza 78’), Mark Delgado, Jonathan Osorio, Jacob Shaffelburg (Nick DeLeon 78’); Alejandro Pozuelo (Ifunanyachi Achara 16’), Dom Dwyer (Yeferson Soteldo 78’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Justin Morrow, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty
CF MONTRÉAL – Sebastian Breza; Joel Waterman, Rudy Camacho, Kamal Miller; Zachary Brault-Guillard (Zorhan Bassong 60’), Victor Wanyama (C), Ahmed Hamdi, Mathieu Choinière; Djordje Mihailovic, Joaquín Torres (Lassi Lappalainen 72’), Romell Quioto (Samuel Piette 78’)
Substitutes Not Used: James Pantemis, Matko Miljevic, Emanuel Maciel, Sunusi Ibrahim
Toronto FC winger Jacob Shaffelburg (one goal and three assists in three appearances) won the Best Young Canadian Player award, recognizing the tournament’s best Canadian under-21 player.
JAVIER PÉREZ – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Q: You lose Jozy Altidore to flu-like symptoms; you lose Pozuelo early in the match, and you’re on the back foot most of the match and yet you have a chance in the 90th minute to tie up which doesn’t work. Do you think this game is kind of a microcosm of the whole season?
Yeah, I think it reflects the whole season, right. I mean, you are in a game, basically, with no DPs because we lose Alejandro in the 15th minute or 16th minute I think, and then you play without the piece. Remember we started the game with three academy players, and I think we prepared really well this game. We are disappointed because we wanted to win this championship. I think it was something very important for us.
But I’m happy. I’m proud of the players. I’m proud of the players and I’m proud of the way they fought today. I am proud how they execute the plan and I think we deny a lot of chances from Montréal, and I think we have a good game. We just lost focus in one play, and we pay the price of the championship.
But we have, as well, our chances. We knew that we would have our chances and then you need a little bit of luck, too. You need that ball that hits the goal post in the 90th minute just to go in, and get a little bit of things on your side, which we didn’t. I think like you mentioned, absolutely right, this reflects a little bit what has been our season this year.
Q: I appreciate how you say you think you are pleased with your team, or you thought they put in a good performance, but how do you rectify that with the fact that Montréal dominated possession and out-shot you 23-4 and you didn’t have a single shot on goal? How can that be a good team performance?
Yeah, I think I repeat again, you have to read the contest. You play without the piece, right. You play minimized, and you play away from home. As you know, when you play away from home, it’s different than when you play at home. We tried to get matched tactically, the game, as well thinking about where we come from in terms of results, in terms of conceding goals.
I think even if they had more chances, then the dynamic, you can look at the goal they score, you can’t look at the statistics after that moment, we were the more dangerous team on the field.
So a final is a final. You cannot read too much into the statistics. You play to win the final. We came here with that mentality and in the end we concede one goal and we are forced to come out to get the goal that give us the opportunity to come back in the game.
So in the end, it’s just the tactical approach to the game.
Q.How much did losing Pozuelo early and Jozy not being available impact the game plan that you guys had been working ongoing into this one?
Yeah, it changed everything, right. It changed everything from the moment that Jozy is not here with us, and he’s the most effective player I think against Montréal, so that gives you an edge.
Another one that has been historically very effective against Montreal has been dangerous on the field, is Dom. But then you lose Alejandro, and the way we were preparing, he was our catalyst. He was passing all the balls through him in order to generate our offensive game, that’s the way we prepared for the game, and obviously the 15th minute when he comes off the field, you have to change completely the tactics and the shape. So the game obviously looks different.
To answer your question, you’re absolutely right, losing these two players, it makes a huge impact in our ability and performance.
Q.You mentioned a couple times about the designated players and how the narrative has been that you have not had your designated players available to you this season. How frustrating is that to you as a coach? And all three of those guys, they are under contract next season. Do you think that’s still an area the team has to address with how important designated players are in the League?
Yeah, in the end, the ones playing are the players, and you depend as well on your quality.
I don’t feel frustrated as a coach because in the end my job is to make the most of the team that is available. And I’m happy with the way the team has been working. And when one player is not there, another one comes off bench, or even in training, and they do the best they can.
So I cannot be frustrated when I see the players that are available and they give everything. Like in the case today, we have — I mention we have three academy players on the field. I mean, Julian is amazing. It is only his second game in the season and he has the opportunity to play the final. Then Noble, the same way with I think an amazing future. And Jacob, you can say academy or development player, he receives that award to the best young player of the tournament.
But in the end, when you lose the quality players, there’s only so much that you can do, which is fight, be in an organized structure tactically which I think we were, and then you depend on the quality.
So if you are missing players that they are DPs, Yeferson, for instance, he came off the bench, but he was injured. The minutes that he played today, he was minimized. And I think it’s been a little bit the story of our season. With our top players not being able to contribute, and in the end, we pay the price for that because in this league, in MLS or even in the Canadian Championship, you cannot count on your three DPs. You are minimized and it’s difficult to compete.
JACOB SHAFFELBURG – FORWARD, TORONTO FC
Q: Your team had put so much emphasis on this final given the way the season went, and despite the statistics, your team had a chance to tie it late in the 90th minute. Can you give us a sense of the emotions going through the dressing room right now?
It was quiet right now in the locker room, obviously, just because it’s never the best feeling, losing a final. I don’t think we were upset because we lost it by a lot. We were upset because we knew we could win it. It’s just a hard one for everybody to get over.
But we’ll be back next year, and better.
Q: Just wondering, to get your perspective on how you thought the team’s overall performance was tonight, I appreciate that you were missing some key players, but it just seemed like it was a little bit lump and a little bit just lifeless, not coming until like really the last five minutes. I mean, how would you characterize the team’s overall effort today?
I thought we were solid. We stuck to our game plan. We defended well majority of the game except that one hiccup we had, but everyone makes mistakes, so it’s, whatever. It’s just how it works out that we couldn’t get a goal.
And I thought we had a few opportunities in the first half, and we hit the post in the second. It could have gone either way, and today it went Montréal’s way.
Q: You sort of pre-exempted my question a little bit there with your answer. So maybe I’ll just sort of ask: A lot was put into this final as a way to being able to make something of the season. How will you remember this year, and what could you look to take from this and bring it into the off-season?
It’s motivation. We’re all upset and we don’t want to have this feeling again. We don’t want to have the feeling we had the entire season honestly.
So we want to go into next season and we’ll use this as motivation, this entire season, to push ourselves for next season and have a better season next year.
Q: With the way the game is growing in this country and we see what the national team is doing on both the men’s and women’s side, just wondering what exactly does it mean to you to take home this Best Young Canadian Player award?
I didn’t actually know there was an award, so it was cool to be awarded at the end. It was a really cool feeling. It’s like the first personal award I’ve ever won, so it was a really cool feeling, and just my parents, my family, are all really proud of me, so it’s a cool moment and I can’t wait to get back home and kind of celebrate that personal achievement with them.
TORONTO FC (2) – PHILADELPHIA UNION (2) POST GAME SUMMARY
PHI – Alejandro Bedoya 1’ (Dániel Gazdag, Kai Wagner)
TOR – Jozy Altidore 66’ (Noble Okello)
TOR – Jack Elliott 70’ (own goal)
PHI – Sérgio Santos 77’ (Kai Wagner)
TOR – Chris Mavinga 57’ (caution)
PHI – José Martínez 87’ (caution)
Toronto FC 6-17-9 27 points
Philadelphia Union 13-8-11 50 points
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr., Michael Bradley (C), Chris Mavinga (Justin Morrow 83’), Kemar Lawrence; Mark Delgado, Noble Okello, Jonathan Osorio (Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty 65’); Alejandro Pozuelo, Jacob Shaffelburg (Jayden Nelson 83’), Jozy Altidore
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Eriq Zavaleta, Julian Dunn, Nick DeLeon, Patrick Mullins, Jordan Perruzza
PHILADELPHIA UNION – Matt Freese; Olivier Mbaizo, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner; José Martínez, Alejandro Bedoya (C) (Jesús Bueno 86’), Leon Flach (Jack McGlynn 73’); Dániel Gazdag (Sérgio Santos 58’), Jamiro Monteiro, Kacper Przybyłko
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Bendik, Stuart Findlay, Nathan Harriel, Anthony Fontana, Paxten Aaronson, Quinn Sullivan
Michael Bradley made his 250th appearance for Toronto FC in all competitions.
Noble Okello registered his first assist for Toronto FC.
Jozy Altidore has scored in back-to-back MLS games for the first time since scoring against Houston Dynamo on July 20, 2019 and FC Cincinnati on July 27, 2019.
JAVIER PÉREZ – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Q.It seemed like we were going to be writing a story about a comeback win tonight, but the team kind of shot itself in the foot with another bad goal. What do you take away from that performance? Seems like a lot of good effort was wasted.
As you know, Neil, I like to focus on the positives. I think it’s a good game. First half we took control. Forget the first 30 seconds of the game, but we took control of the game. And the second half, we came back with a couple of goals. We have to remember that this is the second — the second team in the East — coming into this game was the second team of the East. So it’s a pretty good team, well organized.
I think we get a bit more comfortable with the 1-2. You can tell that we are not used to having the lead in the games because we kind of put the foot off the pedal a little bit. And then obviously when Santos came into action, we took more risk because they play with Przybyłko and Santos on top. And we have our two center backs, and it was more difficult for us. Right?
But I think — I think I’m happy with the performance of the team tonight. And I think we showed today that we have to be that team that was in the playoffs. It’s not in the odds, it’s not in the cards for us this year for us. But the quality is there. And I think we deserved more tonight, we deserved more for the season.
Q.Obviously, you’re somewhat vindicated by starting Jozy tonight — sorry, starting him for the first time from his comeback. Aside from the goal, what else did you see from Jozy? How would you evaluate his performance tonight?
Jozy comes — you have to remember, he comes a long way. I think the last time he played 90 minutes it was in March 2020, more than a year and a half ago. So the fact he completed 90 minutes, he scored a goal. He kind of created as well the opportunity for the second because I think if the deflection don’t happen, he’s there to finish the play as well. That transforms the team. I think we have Number 9, our reference out front, that not only can scores goal but as well be the reference when we press.
I think I highly value as well the effort, how he dictates the direction of the team, whether we have to press. So I think he brings a lot of positives into the team. So I think today, for him, it’s a big milestone because he’s 90 minutes. And we want to see more of him. It’s two games in a row of scoring. So I just can only encourage him and keep putting him on the field so he can do what he does best.
Q.You said you want — even though you guys are out of the playoffs, you said you want your team to finish the season strong with a good effort every night. Are you pretty satisfied that the team is doing that for you?
I am. I think it’s not easy when you don’t have a clear objective like is in our case to come tonight and put the performance that we put together.
And I think the team fought. The team took the control of the game. I think we were a bit upside. We tied 2-2. Yes. It’s true, we didn’t win the game, but I think the effort is there and the mental concentration is during the 90 minutes, taking aside the first 30 seconds of the game.
I think it’s there. And I think the team wants more this season. They know this season is not over. They know that we cannot just show for one games in the semifinals, that we have to keep going, we have to keep displaying good performances. And, again, I’m satisfied with what I saw tonight.
Q.You touched on this a little bit, but earlier this week, you were saying one of the difficulties the team has had is the lack of a real goal threat up top. And with the return of Jozy and getting draws in these two games, is having a certified threat at the top of the formation the sort of thing that turns losses into draws and draws into wins?
Yes. I think you are right. I think I have to acknowledge that if we have control of the game we don’t create as many threats as we should. I think sometimes we have 20 players around the ball or too many players on other parts of the field and not enough players inside the box. And that’s something we obviously have to work on and we have to modify.
That’s obviously my responsibility. And I think we are trying to adjust to that. I think we need to find — we have more players that they feel more comfortable with the ball. But at the same time, we need to find who is going to attack the space and who is going to get inside the box when the ball is wide. And that, I think, is going to help us to capitalize the opportunities.
But we have to remember that where we create more chances is when the ball is wide. When we made the crosses I think with Jahkeele, with Jacob on the left, we created a lot of chances. With Jahkeele on the right when he come on, we created some more. And then it’s a question of who is going to be inside to materialize or capitalize these opportunities.
Q.Two questions, if I may. First, if Richie Lareya had been able to play tonight, would you have played Kemar at center back?
I cannot answer that question because I didn’t have Richie, obviously. So I can only answer questions with facts and situations that I have in front of me. And unfortunately — Richie is one of the best players in the team, and unfortunately he was ineligible tonight. And we have to find a solution.
So would he be playing? Yes. So that’s the short answer. Who would be playing in the center back position? I don’t even question — or I don’t even ask myself that question because I didn’t have the opportunity to have Richie tonight.
Q.Fair enough. And I understand you want to focus on the positives. But both Philadelphia goals tonight were scored by players who were left unmarked. How can a team succeed when that happens?
You’re absolutely right. I think you answered the question yourself. I think both plays, they are similar in a way. There is a third one that he hit the crossbar and it’s very similar. So that’s a mistake. And that’s something we’ve been penalized for, and that’s why we have today a draw and not a win.
Q.Javier, that was Michael Bradley’s 250th appearance for this club tonight. That’s a big milestone for any player. I know we’ve talked about Michael’s contributions a lot over the years, but I wonder if you could speak about what that means and what it means in world soccer when a player reaches a milestone with a club like this?
I mean, I don’t have objectives for Michael. I think I spoke long and enough about him, his commitment, his dedication, his leadership with the club. Even 250 games is not even enough for him because he’s — everything that he has contributed not only in this club but, I mean, in everywhere where he has been. I can only say positive things about him.
As you know, we worked together for the past ten years on and off, and I know him very well. And at this point, I think he’s embracing his role as a captain. He’s embracing the leadership. And I think it’s an example for all of us. So I think I said there a lot of compliments for him, and they are all well deserved. So congratulations to Michael. Hopefully he can stay with us another 250 games.
NOBLE OKELLO – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC
Q.On the weekend, your team had a tie that seemed like a win. Does this tie kind of seem like a loss given the late goal?
I mean, I feel like in the game, we were the better team. We controlled most of the possession in the game. Yeah. I think we had an unlucky end, but I think it was still a good performance from us.
Q.Congratulations on the assist. Can you walk us through that play a little bit? What did you see on it? And how does it feel to get your first point in the league?
Yeah. I just got a call from Mike to step on the play because there was a guy in front of me. And I just read the pass, and I tried to intercept it, and it worked out. And it landed to Jozy’s feet. So I’m happy to get my first assist for our club.
Q.How much confidence are you gaining after every performance like this? I mean, you played three straight. You started three straight games, and your teammates have praised the way you played. Are you gaining confidence with every game out there?
Yes. I’m getting confidence. I’m trying to improve every game that I get called by the coach. And, yes, I’m just trying to get better every day. So I’m happy that my teammates are believing in me, and it helps me on the field.
Q.Michael played his — or appeared in his 250th game for the club tonight. Can you just touch on what it’s been like to work with him or at times under him?
Yeah. Michael is such a leader for us not only on the field but off the field, especially with us young players. I feel he’s helped me grow a lot, especially this year playing a little bit more, but, yeah, just a good leader for me, and I’m happy to keep playing with him now.
Q.Noble, you know, that’s two games in a row where Jozy Altidore has scored, and it’s two games where you guys got results, perhaps not the ones that you wanted. But can you speak a little bit about how much of a difference it’s made having him back on the team? There was a moment late where Jahkeele had a bit of a chance from wide, and we saw a shot of Jozy sort of, you know, applauding him on. What does that do for you young guys to have a guy like that at your backs?
Yeah. Jozy is another player that helps us young guys on and off the field. I feel like he’s a player that’s welcomed each and every one of us from the minute we joined this team. And, yeah, he continues to keep pushing us to succeed. I’m just happy he’s in the club helping us every day. So not only is he a legend in the club, but he’s also a very good person, so we’re thankful for him.
TORONTO FC (1) – CF MONTRÉAL (1) POST GAME SUMMARY
MTL – Sunusi Ibrahim 55’
TOR – Jozy Altidore 90+5’
TOR – Patrick Mullins 6’ (caution)
TOR – Noble Okello 54’ (caution)
TOR – Jonathan Osorio 58’ (caution)
MTL – Emanuel Maciel 58’ (caution)
TOR – Jacob Shaffelburg 64’ (caution)
Toronto FC 6-17-8 26 points
CF Montréal 11-10-10 43 points
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr., Michael Bradley (C), Chris Mavinga, Richie Laryea; Mark Delgado, Noble Okello, Jonathan Osorio; Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty (Jozy Altidore 66’), Patrick Mullins (Alejandro Pozuelo HT), Jacob Shaffelburg (Jayden Nelson 85’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Justin Morrow, Eriq Zavaleta, Julian Dunn, Nick DeLeon, Jordan Perruzza
CF MONTRÉAL – James Pantemis; Joel Waterman, Rudy Camacho, Kamal Miller; Zachary Brault-Guillard (Zorhan Bassong 85’), Emanuel Maciel (Ahmed Hamdi 66’), Samuel Piette (C), Mathieu Choinière; Joaquín Torres (Bjørn Johnsen 89’), Djordje Mihailovic, Sunusi Ibrahim (Matko Miljevic 84’)
Substitutes Not Used: Sebastian Breza, Mustafa Kizza, Aljaž Struna, Ballou Tabla, Rida Zouhir
JAVIER PÉREZ – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Q.Your team really came on strong in the second half. Do you feel this is a game where you finally — your team finally got what it deserved?
I think we deserved more. I think the numbers say that we deserved more, and it’s a little bit unbelievable that we were 10 seconds away from going empty-handed. We crossed the ball 19 times against five from them. We got more possessions. We got the expected goal higher than them. Everything was on our side except one thing, which is the scoreboard. So I think in the end, we are happy with that point. I think the team looks like a team, and I think — I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I’m every day with the players and I’m every day with the guys and I know how hard they are working, how they are trying to get out of this situation, and it’s very difficult, but I think tonight, that extra effort that it was needed, they put it — they put them — they put it on the field, the energy, and in the end, we got a point, I think well deserved.
Q.I think it was earlier this week, you were asked about the team’s lack of finishing in front of goal and you didn’t really have any sort of definitive answers. I wonder if today, was it just a matter of just on Pantemis was playing really well and you ran into a hard goalkeeper before Jozy scored with a free kick late in the game?
No, I think — I still struggle to find answers because we have the opportunities. Again, the statistics, they showed up, goal expected is 2.7, visitors 1.8. I think we have enough opportunities to be ahead in the scoreboard, but we were not.
Obviously it’s no question, right. When I say is no — I don’t have answers; I do have answers. We are not a team that is really built to capitalize or have players that they score a lot of goals, and when we look at the goals that we scored this season, it’s very well spread out with our players. I mention already that in our previous press conference with maybe also the top scorer, but we have a lot of players with three goals. That means with we don’t really have goal scorers. We have a team that collectively we enjoy playing and we have the possession, we are a possession-based team but we don’t have players that they can capitalize with a lot of goals. That’s the answer, really, to the question.
But I think — I think we have the ability to move the ball quick. We have the ability to have the control of the game. And I think this is an appealing part of the game, too. I would like to have more players, they can find double-digits scoring goals. That would be helpful for the team. I think the way we have to go is finding that collective effort to score goals — goal-scoring opportunities, and again, I think to know we have the chances. We just struggled to capitalize.
Q.Just listening to you, it sounds like you’re disappointed by this point. Would that be fair to say that you’re a little bit disappointed by this result and that you’re not coming way with more here?
No, I’m not disappointed. I think it would be ungrateful to be disappointed, because we didn’t have any points all the way up till the 90-minute plus, almost four, right. I think we have to be very grateful that we got a point out of this game. We were very close to be empty-handed. So the only thing I’m saying is that we did all the right things to — and we were the better team statistically to get away with three points.
Somehow we didn’t capitalize, we don’t score the goals. But I think it would be unfair to be unhappy or to be — I think it would be being ungrateful for that point that I think tonight, it was well-deserved because the players, they gave everything and they played really well.
Q.We haven’t seen Michael Bradley play at center back a whole lot. I asked you a question earlier this week about the back three last match, it’s very much the same here with Michael. Was this a necessity they played at center back or was that something you wanted to try out?
It was both things. It was a necessity, and it was something that I had in mind. I think that proves that when Michael needs to step up for the team, does it, and tonight he showed up again. He came up big doing a great job as a center back.
I think that’s an example right there for the rest of the team and for everybody else. He inspires us in a way that he played tonight, and he embraced the role.
Q.In the past you’ve talked about how hard Jozy has worked in training to get back. Tonight we got the pay off and we got to see Jozy the way we used to see him, causing havoc, creating scoring chances and then delivering the final blow. Can you just talk a little bit about his performance and his fight really to get back on the pitch given everything that’s happened to him this year?
Yes, I think I mentioned already that every time I was even coming here to the stadium, seeing him in the training facility, working by himself, it’s difficult for me because I know how emotional and how much he wants to succeed and to help the club.
But at the same time, when I come here to the games and I see that he’s working really hard, and tonight, I think it was paying off for him. I think it was really a relief. It was a great relief to see that finally he can come, help the team, being part of the group. I think it paid off all the effort that he made.
Now we have to keep building up on that. I think his quality is undeniable. His quality is right there, and I think he can be the player that he was before. Again, I think it’s been a really difficult year for him, being out with a lot of rhythm that has been cut out of his training or his games. When I first was in charge, I thought he was going to come back. Then he got the injury, and he’s been out for a long time.
So hopefully now, the team that it starts to look like a team, we can fight together for this last stretch of the season, and we can get a title and we can add up some points in the table.
JOZY ALTIDORE – FORWARD, TORONTO FC
Q.It’s been a long, difficult season for both you and the team. I’m just wondering, how good did that goal feel tonight?
It felt great to score again. Especially against Montréal, who is always an added bonus with the rivalry. So it was great to see the people that came out tonight behind the goal, to see them out there even with the season we had, knowing obviously it’s an important game, that was special. To have that moment with them and just talk with them a bit, and manage to come out with a result tonight, not many positives, but it was a positive.
Q.Can you just sort of break down the goal a little bit? Pantemis came up with some pretty big saves on you. Was he cheating off his line? How did you bend it over the free kick? Can you give us some insight?
No, I just tried to hit the target. It was a good distance to go around the wall or up and over the wall. I just figured I’d try to go around that. Haven’t tried that in a while, so said, let me try to go around with a little bit of power and caught him by surprise. I’m happy it worked out, and like I said, I’m happy we were able to get a result, a somewhat positive result.
Q.Obviously you’re happy to get the goal. How happy does it make you to maybe put a serious dent in their playoff aspirations?
Oh, that was obviously a plus. You know, we don’t have much to play for with the season winding down aside from the Canadian championship, so obviously we are aware that they are pushing for a playoff spot. You want to be respectful to everybody else who are competing and trying to make the playoffs. Obviously whether it was Montréal, doesn’t matter who it was, we were going to try to give our best, especially at home but obviously it feels a bit sweeter when you slow Montréal down a bit. That never gets old.
Q.I know you’re a big supporter of a lot of the young guys on this team, and what have your thoughts been on seeing guys like Jahkeele and Noble and Jayden all getting chances?
Yeah, I’m very happy. It’s something to be said because, you know, Jahkeele, when I came here, I used to see him at some of the camps. He was a little guy, and to see him now getting meaningful minutes, to see him locked in improving every day, it brings me so much joy because a lot of these guys were is he very young when I arrived, and to see them making a difference and playing important minutes, it’s just as rewarding as winning a trophy.
To see Noble today in a different role in a tough game, I thought he was fantastic. Never looked phased. Was in control throughout the 90 minutes and then Jacob, we all know he’s been great throughout this season, and Jahkeele now emerging. We have some very, very good young players that have to continue working, but the talent is there. To see Jayden Nelson come on and be full of energy, pushing the game, trying to help us get that goal, like I tell you, it means so much because we spent a lot of time with these guys over the years, and to see them now playing and getting important minutes, it means the world. Hopefully it’s something to build on and they can keep improving as the season goes on and into next season.
Q.You guys launched wave after wave of attack the last few minutes. Was there any sense at all that the goal might come as long as you kept playing hard?
Yeah, I mean, myself, I think I got robbed the first one. I didn’t — I was surprised as how open I was and he made a good point-blank save, and I just wasn’t — I don’t have that game sharpness, normally a couple of chances, even the second one I should just pass in the goal.
I think it’s kind of the story of the season. We’ve never quite lifted off fully as a group. You know, certain guys in, certain guys out. It’s been the story of our year.
But the quality is there, and I think you saw that, and to be able to repeat attacks like you said. Look, we have to take the positives away, and we put a team, a good team that’s fighting for the playoffs on the road.
Q.It’s been a hectic schedule recently and the club has been cautious with you and the other players in terms of minutes, bringing you on off the bench. You talked about game sharpness just now. How do you feel in terms of your game and your fitness at this stage?
To be honest, I feel the best I’ve felt in a long time. You know, I kind of paid the price playing with some injuries, with some broken bones here and there. Eventually, they catch up to you, but to be able to have the surgery and my foot is starting to feel much much better, just to be able to run and not feel pain is a huge boon. So I’m excited about that and I’m taking it day-by-day, but I feel so much better now finally, and I just want to play.
I just want to play. I missed the game. I’m just disappointed about how this year has gone, and you know, I’ll be the first guy to tell you it’s disappointing. But nobody is running away from anything. We take all the criticism on the chin and rightly so, but you know, there’s more here. I’m a firm believer in that. People will come up with their pitchforks but that’s part of the business. I just feel better, man. Like I told you, to run and move around without pain, it just feels amazing, because it’s been awhile. I’m just very, very happy and I just thank God for that.
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.
BOSTON (CBS) — The Revolution have a break the next few weeks, but midfielder Tajon Buchanan will be hitting the pitch in international play. On Friday, Buchanan was called in to the Canada Men’s National Team for three upcoming World Cup Qualifying matches. 205 more words
TORONTO FC (3) – FC CINCINNATI (2) POST GAME SUMMARY
CIN – Rónald Matarrita 38’ (Luciano Acosta)
TOR – Jacob Shaffelburg 48’ (Yeferson Soteldo, Mark Delgado)
TOR – Mark Delgado 55’ (Jacob Shaffelburg, Richie Laryea)
TOR – Ifunanyachi Achara 65’ (Jacob Shaffelburg, Yeferson Soteldo)
CIN – Luciano Acosta 72’
CIN – Florian Valot 32’ (caution)
CIN – Edgar Castillo 41’ (caution)
CIN – Gustavo Vallecilla 59’ (caution)
TOR – Ifunanyachi Achara 59’ (caution)
CIN – Caleb Stanko 74’ (caution)
TOR – Yeferson Soteldo 76’ (caution)
TOR – Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty 90’ (caution)
Toronto FC 5-15-7 22 points
FC Cincinnati 4-14-8 20 points
TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Auro Jr., Omar González, Kemar Lawrence, Richie Laryea; Michael Bradley (C), Mark Delgado, Jonathan Osorio; Ifunanyachi Achara (Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty 66’), Yeferson Soteldo (Patrick Mullins 90+2’), Jacob Shaffelburg (Justin Morrow 82’)
Substitutes Not Used: Quentin Westberg, Julian Dunn, Luke Singh, Noble Okello, Nick DeLeon, Jayden Nelson
Jacob Shaffelburg has scored or assisted on six of Toronto FC’s last nine goals (two goals, four assists).
Jacob Shaffelburg recorded three goal contributions (one goal, two assists) in a single game for the first time in his Toronto FC career.
Toronto FC extend their unbeaten streak to four games in all competitions (three wins, one draw).
JAVIER PÉREZ – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Q.It looked in the first half, maybe I’m wrong, but it looked like you were urging your players to move the ball faster. They seemed to do that the second half. Did that make the difference?
Yes, absolutely. I think we have players that they have quality, they can move the ball fast, and first and foremost I ask for the team at halftime when, when we were 1-0 down, told them to stay calm, to stay in the game mentally, because we were the better side and because the goals were going to come. So just stay calm, move a little faster, the ball, and our players have been a little bit closer to the back line. So we have more opportunities to play the through balls.
So I think by staying calm and moving the ball fast, we just get rewarded in the second half.
Q.Further about the question of the speed of play, how influential was Jacob Shaffelburg in that regard?
He’s a very, very important player for us. He’s the one who can run behind. He can make crosses. He delivers good services. He’s in a great moment, and Jacob now obviously earn the respect of the whole team and the coaching staff, so it’s in a good moment that we have to keep it that way.
Q.Kemar Lawrence is someone who earlier in the season when we asked him if he could play center back, he said it’s not really his position but he would sort of give it a try. Obviously he played there tonight because of injuries. What did you think of him, and how much — could he be more sort of a sent are back option going forward?
Yeah, Kemar has some good qualities. He’s fast and he’s good with the ball. In that regard, he’s a player that he can deal with the fast players up front. This league is particular; it has that characteristic. Many teams, they have the speed up front and obviously he’s fast. He can deal with that. And at the same time, he proved to work well with different pairs of center backs. It’s not the first team that he plays in that position with us, and he’s doing a great job.
So I think that he’s a diversified player and it’s paying off for us because at the moment as you know, we are thin in that position, and he’s playing really well as a center back. We are happy that we can count on him. We know that he’s going to — we know that we can rely on him.
Q.We’ve talked about stabilizing the team and getting the defense working and then getting the offense going and all those sort of things, but I think tonight was the first time the team has won a game after conceding the first goal. What does that say about the progress this group is making?
Yeah, I think I mentioned already previously that — in other press conferences, it’s very difficult when you are down there to get out. It looks like nothing goes on your way. I think I mentioned already in the past, as well, that the team is finally clicking and probably today it wasn’t as pretty because we conceded a goal even if we had more chances. We just need to capitalize at the beginning because that’s part of the nature in football. When you don’t capitalize, you get penalized. That was our story of the first half today.
But I think as I mentioned last week, this group of individuals start to look like a team, and that was the second half, the story of the second half of this team; that we didn’t give up; that we knew we were conscious that we were the better side on the field, and then we wanted to make sure that we were going to turn around the game and we were 3-1, we scored three goals, so I think — I think the team is now getting more confidence even after this game, and I think we are in a good place towards the end of the season.
Q.Further to James’s question, you were behind and took the lead but they came back and scored the goal. How much resiliency, how much are you seeing that sort of taking shape with this team whereas maybe a week or a month ago you might have conceded another one and given up two points?
Yeah, but you see the second goal — the first goal, I can give it. I can give it to you because the first goal is we get put out and we lose our structure. The first goal is okay. But the second goal is a very clear off-side, so I cannot give that to anybody. I think they have to start to make the right calls. I think now it’s enough. Enough is enough. It’s just I don’t like — as I said before, I don’t like to be critical of the referees but the second goal is clear off-side and it shouldn’t go to the scoreboard. It should be 3-1.
Q.Do you always have a stopwatch out during extra time?
I do, yes. Because today we could see that they were going extra 45 seconds, and the reason Fabrizio, the first official, that they were going a little bit longer is because we made a stop in the extra time. We brought Patrick but he told me it was going to be 30 seconds and we were 40, 45 seconds, and the game was still on.
So it’s obviously — just to have your own watch, because five seconds, it can make a difference. It can be the difference between winning a game or having a tie.
JACOB SHAFFELBURG – FORWARD, TORONTO FC
Q.Have you gotten a sense this season the way you’ve been working that if you’ve given a chance, you could start playing and producing the way you have the last few games?
Yeah, the team’s helped me quite a bit, to have my confidence back from — I haven’t felt like this in a while. So just to have my confidence back and back to doing what I know, it’s been great and I think I can continue this with the team.
Q.The last few games from what I’ve seen, you’ve formed a really effective sort of partnership with Richie and Jonathan down that left side. From your perspective, why is that sort of attacking trio click? Why is it working so well?
I think Richie and I and Oso work well together. I think I’m not a guy that when you throw in is going to disrupt them. I’m going to listen to them and try to do what they want. I think I just go in with them smoothly, and I just help them going forward. And we’re just all clicking at the same time right now, so it’s been great.
Q.It looks like you’re always on the lookout to break past the last line of defense and Soteldo found you a few times tonight. What’s it like playing with Soteldo knowing what he can do with the ball?
It’s amazing. He’s an amazing player and I think I’m just starting to earn his respect a lot more in the last few games, so and we’re starting to pass and connect way more and it’s been great. It’s coming off nicely. We’re going to get an assist here soon.
Q.The connection between you and Achara, curious how that came off for you?
We’ve had that connection since high school. So every single time I get the ball on the wing, I always look up for him because I know he’s going to be coming late on that far side. And I tried to find him in the first half and it didn’t come off. And then the one he looked, I just looked up and saw him there, so I knew I had to put it in the right spot and score.
Q.Did you think given a chance to play, and you’re in — obviously because one of the reason is injuries and whatnot, but did you really think that given a chance to play that you could step up like you have been; that you just needed a chance?
I always knew I had it in the back of my head but like I said it’s just all about my confidence. At the start of the year, it was up and down. Midseason I didn’t have the best confidence. And just coming in that Miami game and just getting my confidence up knowing that I can compete in this league and keep up the pace with everyone really helped me.
Yeah, now I feel like I can do this almost game-in and game-out with how I’m feeling right now. But obviously I’ve got to reset and look forward to Chicago on Sunday.
Alarm bells are sounding and doubt is settling in among the fans. Despite its current seven-game winless streak (0-4-3), the Galaxy heads to Real Salt Lake not ready to push the panic button just yet. Although as the regular season slowly winds down, it might be time to get the button ready. “I think for…