MLS: TFC 2, INTER MIAMI FC 1 — SUMMARY AND QUOTES. “With everything that transpired today, Philly losing, us getting a result. Means it goes down to the last game. That’s what we were hoping for.” — Greg Vanney.

November 1, 2020

TORONTO FC (2) – INTER MIAMI CF (1) POST MATCH SUMMARY

SCORING SUMMARY

IMCF – Blaise Matuidi 42’

TFC – Ayo Akinola 55’ (Patrick Mullins, Michael Bradley)

TFC – Alejandro Pozuelo 84’ (PK)

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

IMCF – Blaise Matuidi 69’ (caution)

TFC – Michael Bradley 77’ (caution)

IMCF – Ben Sweat 82’ (caution)

MEDIA NOTES:

Ralph Priso made his first career start for Toronto FC

RECORDS:

TORONTO FC:                         13-4-5   44 PTS.

INTER MIAMI CF:                     6-13-3   21 PTS.

LINE-UPS

TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro (Richie Laryea 72’), Eriq Zavaleta, Chris Mavinga, Tony Gallacher; Michael Bradley (C), Ralph Priso (Liam Fraser 73’), Nick DeLeon (Omar Gonzalez 88’), Tsubasa Endoh (Patrick Mullins HT’), Alejandro Pozuelo; Ayo Akinola (Jayden Nelson 85’)

Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Silva, Laurent Ciman, Erickson Gallardo, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty

INTER MIAMI CF – John McCarthy; Alvas Powell, Christian Makoun (Julian Carranza 85’), Dylan Nealis (Federico Higuain 85’), A.J. DeLaGarza, Ben Sweat (Matias Pellegrini 85’); Blaise Matuidi, Wil Trapp (Victor Ulloa 85’), Lewis Morgan, Rodolfo Pizarro; Gonzalo Higuain (C)

Substitutes Not Used: Drake Callender, Mikey Ambrose, Jay Chapman, Juan Agudelo, Robbie Robinson

GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC

Good win against a well-organized opponent. What was your take on the evening?

“Yeah, they were in a 4-5-1. Especially in the first half, they had a lot of numbers behind the ball. For us the possessions were too slow. The movement was too methodical, too slow, the ball was moving too slow. Those were the things we talked about at half.  We need to be more dynamic, our decisions need to be faster, the ball needed to move faster. Everything was too slow in the first half and because of that none of our attacks really came to much of anything. And we were turning over balls just by sheer numbers they had behind the ball. Spaces were closing up too fast and they were able to eventually get themselves into the game through our turnovers. They started to find their possession. Started to find their control of the game with the ball through the latter part of the first half. Second half, we brought on another forward to occupy more of those center backs, try to tuck in our wide guys a little bit more, to put some numbers ahead of the ball. We started to get a little bit more control of the game. Our movement was sharper, the passes were sharper. It still got open at times, but we did enough at the end of the day to get it a result. And with everything that transpired today, Philly losing, us getting a result.  Means it goes down to the last game. That’s what we were hoping for.”

Is this what you envisioned when you made Richie a right back, him creating so much trouble for opposing defenses?

“I don’t know if that’s what I was envisioning. You assess his skill set and, what he’s capable of doing, with the fact that we had a need for a right back in addition to Auro. We didn’t really have anybody else to fill the position and so the combination of those things, the necessity and the skill set, starts to put him in that position and he just he’s taken to it. He’s grown with it and it amplifies his skill set. His speed, his quickness, his ability to face people up and go one on one. Week after week, game after game, he’s a menace for defenders, especially when he gets right around that box. His first step is so quick, he’s gone before guys even react to him touching the ball. He continues to grow in the position. Tonight, we chose to bring him on a little late. We were managing his minutes a little because he’s been carrying little things and we’re trying to protect him. Luckily we got him on in time for him to do his thing.”

What did you think of Ralph Priso?

“I thought he was excellent. Like everybody in the first half, the tempo of his game and everybody’s game just needed to get a little bit sharper and a little bit faster. But I thought that was a collective problem not just an individual problem. In the second half, the ball started moving quicker and more purposefully, and I thought he was excellent. I thought he covered a lot of ground, he won balls back, he was sharp in his possession to get in and out of spaces. I thought he was great, I mean for his first start in MLS, that’s a that’s a hell of a way to start. But he’s got room to continue to grow which he will, and he’ll continue to get play faster and get used up all the stuff, but I thought it was excellent.”

With everything to play for on Decision Day, will you get some injured players back?

“I think so, if we put everybody in bubble wrap and we get to the next week, we should get a couple guys back. We’ll see. That’s our hope. We’ve tried to be cautious with a couple of guys.  Hopefully those guys will be ready come next week.”

AYO AKINOLA – FORWARD, TORONTO FC

Can you talk us through the goal and what did you see when Patrick sent in the high ball?

“As soon as Pat played it in, it was a just a battle between me and the defender luckily I was able to get my arm around him to hold him off. The whole the goal was set-up for the first touch on my chest, I think that set-up the whole thing. It allowed me to control it really nice and bring it down again and slide it after.”

What does the performance say tonight about this group?

“Just the resilience from our group. Obviously the previous two matches didn’t go our way but at the same time our group is so deep, and we know we needed this win. It just shows you the battle and character we still have. I’m just happy and proud of this team to be able to carry out the win and now we move onto the last game of the season against Red Bulls.”

Your ninth goal of the season, what’s clicking for you and how big is the net looking for you?

“I think it’s just me keeping my style of game. I don’t try to do stuff that’s not normally in my favour or not the way I play, just sticking to how I play, obviously makes it simple for me and what I need to do in front of goal. To your second question, it’s not how big it is, I just try to find the corners, try to find the targets, try to find an area where it would be hard for the keeper to get. I think that’s just the key in finishing just try to hit it to an area where the keeper has a hard time getting to.”

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

TORONTO FC 1, NEW YORK CITY FC 0: “Today was a little bit more I feel like a structured game, if you will. I am really pleased with our guys. I thought our shape defensively was good. For a vast majority of the night we strung together some good attacks. This is Game 2, so if this is what we are building from at Game 2 then we’ve got a lot to look forward to. We’ve got a lot to continue to work towards. The season is a journey and a process and so we take away what we need to from tonight and continue to build next week as we play at home again.” — GREG VANNEY

TORONTO FC (1) – NEW YORK CITY FC (0) POST MATCH SUMMARY

SCORING SUMMARY

TFC – Ifunanyachi Achara 81’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

NYC – Alexander Ring 22’ (Caution)

NYC – James Sand 35’ (Caution)

NYC – Keaton Parks 69’ (Caution)

TFC – Auro Jr 87’ (Caution)

RECORDS

TORONTO FC:                         1-0-1  4 PTS.

NEW YORK CITY FC:               0-2-0  0 PTS.

MEDIA NOTES

  • Ifunanyachi Achara made his MLS and Toronto FC and registered his first MLS goal.
  • With tonight’s win Greg Vanney earned the 100th victory of his coaching career with Toronto FC (in all competitions).
  • With tonight’s victory Toronto FC sets a club record for consecutive regular season matches unbeaten with 12 (dating back to the final 10 games of the 2019 regular season).

LINE-UPS

TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr., Omar Gonzalez, Chris Mavinga, Justin Morrow; Marky Delgado, Jonathan Osorio, Ifunanyachi Achara (Patrick Mullins 90’+3’), Erickson Gallardo (Richie Laryea 57’), Alejandro Pozuelo; Jozy Altidore (C).

Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Laurent Ciman, Liam Fraser, Jayden Nelson, Ayo Akinola

NEW YORK CITY FC – Sean Johnson; Anton Tinnerholm, Alexander Callens, James Sands, Ronald Matarrita; Alexander Ring (C), Maxi Moralez Gary Mackay-Steven 80’), Jesus Medina (Ismael Tajouri-Shradi 72’), Keaton Parks; Heber, Alexandru Mitrita (Valentin Castellanos 72’).

Substitutes Not Used: Gedion Zelalem, Joe Scally, Sebastien Ibeagha, Brad Stuver

GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC

Congrats on 100 wins. Was this the chess match that you wanted or envisioned?

Yes, it was.  I felt like it was a soccer game.  It was two teams and neither of them wanted to expose themselves.  I think both teams respected the other.  The tempo was kind of controlled.  Each team had its moments.  I thought we had a few more.  We had some chances that we would like to have back probably.  But a very different game than last week’s game, where guys were being chased around the field.  Today was a little bit more I feel like a structured game, if you will.  I am really pleased with our guys.  I thought our shape defensively was good.  For a vast majority of the night we strung together some good attacks. This is Game 2, so if this is what we are building from at Game 2 then we’ve got a lot to look forward to.  We’ve got a lot to continue to work towards.  The season is a journey and a process and so we take away what we need to from tonight and continue to build next week as we play at home again.     

When did you tell Achara he was going in and what did you think of what he gave?

Yesterday in training Tsubasa Endoh blocked a shot and he was a little slow getting up and finished the training session. This morning I got a text that he was pretty sore when he woke up and so it was his knee, MCL. He got here we tested him, and he couldn’t move laterally which is the challenge when you get a little bit of an MCL strain of some sort and it was Achara you’re in. Probably maybe 90 to 100 minutes away from game time and he was ready to go.  What I have to say is tonight he was fantastic.  He has been fantastic since the day he arrived in pre-season in LA.  From the day he arrived he showed that he fits in, that he’s talented, that he’s a smart player.  That he can adapt within the game.  He can read plays.  He can play on the move.  As we saw tonight, he has soft feet even when he is playing on the run and he’s got a nose for the goal.  He scored twice tonight really.  He has scored in just about every pre-season game leading up to the season.  He is a wide player that can do all the things we need him to do.  He had quite a night…He came to the US when he was 15 years old from Nigeria.  You can tell he is a man, and he understands what life is about and he shows that on the field.  

What does it mean to you to have 100 wins with this team?

I am pleased for what the 100 wins stands for.  Over the 100 wins we’ve raised trophies, many of them.  We’ve played in eight finals in just the last four years.  We’ve been in it every single year.  We’ve won a Supporters Shield, an MLS Cup.  All 100 of them are special in their own way, tonight included, and I am happy for the guys I get to work with because they are the ones who win the game. 

IFUNANYACHI ACHARA – FORWARD, TORONTO FC

Were you nervous?

No, no, I was happy, excited to just get out there. Soccer is awesome, I just love playing it.  It gives me confidence.

Did you have to refocus when the goal was called back?

Definitely, I looked at the time and we had a lot of time to keep going and I know we’re going to get a lot of opportunities to score more.  It happens in soccer, so you just try to score more goals.

On your shot in the 45th min…

I thought it was going in, but it was a great save from the goalie. I thought he was positioned really well, and he made the save but I would have loved if that went in.

JOZY ALTIDORE – FORWARD, TORONTO FC

Jozy, you are a player that scored so many big goals in this league.  To see a rookie, play his first home game and score a goal.  What does that mean for him and the group?

It’s huge.  Huge confidence booster for him.  I think he has come in from day one as a smart kid.  He’s kept his head down and he’s worked extremely hard and I think everybody has taken to him.  You can see everybody is so happy for him.  I couldn’t be happier for him… He is a poacher a bit.  He’s got that nose for a goal.

Lot of chances tonight…What is your overall thought on the overall performance tonight?

I think it was a professional performance.  It was a tough game.  It was a tactical game.  I think both teams were technically very strong, very smart.  It was a chess match…We did enough to get one goal and one goal was enough.

QUENTIN WESTBERG – GOALKEEPER, TORONTO FC

First Game of the season…First game at home…. First Win. End up with clean sheet as well.  What are your thoughts about tonight?

It went well. I think it was a very tight game.  It could have gone both ways.  If you were to compare it to a boxing game, we won on points.  It shows a lot you know there was disappointment in not being able to hold onto the three points last week.  I think we did very well to bring that spirit into tonight’s game… It was just another great night and good result against a very good opponent.

What are your impressions of Achara? What does tonight mean for him and the team?

I am super happy for him.  Like I told him.  I think these are good signs.  It’s not just luck.  You don’t score two or three goals in the preseason and you don’t create chances and even if VAR took one away.  He scored another one today…. It’s a team effort and it just sets a great tone for everybody to understand what you need to bring into the team whether you start or not.  

RONNY DEILA – HEAD COACH, NEW YORK CITY FC

On what he says from his team:

I think we didn’t play a good first half. I think we started ok but after a while we were getting problems especially in the midfield. They played through us and got pressure on us, but I think when we went out in the second half, we were much better in a 20 minutes period there.  We created a big chance with Jesus (Medina) and then the game was very even but, in the end, they had a couple more chances.  I’m disappointed in the first half.  20 minutes of the second half we were in better shape, we were a better team than we were in the first.

On explaining what happened:

Yeah, it’s hard to say.  We have to evaluate it afterwards and see what it was.  I agree with you, we started ok but then we got very flat very quickly and we got our play in the second half, but we have to play like that for 90 minutes if we want to get the three points.

You now have four days to prepare for the CONCACAF Champions League:

Yeah, but that is no problem, that’s good. That’s four days until the next game now.  We want to get out and get winning. It’s going to be a big game on Wednesday and I’m looking forward to it.

KEATON PARKS – MIDFIELDER, NEW YORK CITY FC

On today’s game:

It was a tough game against a good opponent.  I think we fought hard, everybody put in their full effort today.  We didn’t create as many chances as we would have liked to.  They capitalized on one of theirs and we lost.  That’s just how it goes.

On not playing how they wanted:

No, I think we came out strong and we played a decent game.  We had some mistakes here and there.  Again, they have a good team, they created chances for themselves and I they capitalized on one and we couldn’t.

On what makes Toronto FC style of play that makes them a particularly tough opponent to face:

They just have quality players.  Lots of teams in the league do but (Alejandro) Pozuelo, Jozy (Altidore), just a couple of guys that have a lot of quality and they play well together.

SEAN JOHNSON – GOALKEEPER, NEW YORK CITY FC 

On today’s game, was it a little disjointed and they took you away from how you wanted to play:

I wouldn’t say disjointed.  I thought both teams came out and put their best foot forward.  Both teams committed to playing.  I thought we created opportunities, they created opportunities, it was just down to a game that didn’t have much between the teams I thought.  It was going to take one opportunity, defensively, offensively, but it’s just the way it goes.  We have a quick turn around this Wednesday.  We just have to get back to it and start preparing but its obviously disappointing to not leave with anything.

On the influence of Richie Laryea on the game:

I mean, I don’t want to take away from Laryea’s quality, but we have quality as well. There is no point at looking at one individual player and what they have done against us in terms of our team, our structure, our shape, our game plan, all of those things were something that we put emphasis on ourselves.  We can’t look to anybody else but ourselves. It’s just a tough moment obviously, two games away, two losses, but I think, like I said the quick turnaround and we just have to be honest with ourselves and fix what we have done wrong in the past two days.

On Toronto FC style of play that makes them a particularly tough opponent to face:

I don’t think so. They are a quality opponent, but I don’t think there is anything special.

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-