TFC 3, CHICAGO 1

TORONTO FC (3) – CHICAGO FIRE FC (1) POST GAME SUMMARY


SCORING 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)

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

TOR – Yeferson Soteldo 9’ (caution)

CHI – Chinonso Offor 86’ (caution)

TOR – Richie Laryea 89’ (caution)

RECORDS (W-L-D)

Toronto FC                    6-15-7              25 points

Chicago Fire FC            7-16-6              27 points

LINEUPS

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

MEDIA NOTES

  • 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.

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

TFC 3, FC CINCINNATI 2

TORONTO FC (3) – FC CINCINNATI (2) POST GAME SUMMARY


SCORING 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’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

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)

RECORDS (W-L-D)

Toronto FC                    5-15-7              22 points

FC Cincinnati                4-14-8              20 points

LINEUPS

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

FC CINCINNATI – Przemysław Tytoń; Edgar Castillo, Geoff Cameron (Tyler Blackett 71’), Gustavo Vallecilla, Rónald Matarrita; Florian Valot (Haris Medunjanin 61’), Allan Cruz (Caleb Stanko 71’), Álvaro Barreal (Brandon Vázquez 84’), Luciano Acosta (C), Yuya Kubo (Calvin Harris 61’), Brenner

Substitutes Not Used: Kenneth Vermeer, Zico Bailey, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Arquimides Ordonez                

MEDIA NOTES

  • 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.

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

TORONTO FC 3, NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 2

TORONTO FC (3) – NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (2) POST GAME SUMMARY

SCORING SUMMARY

TOR – Yeferson Soteldo 9’ (Auro Jr.)

TOR – Kemar Lawrence 15’ (Alejandro Pozuelo)

TOR – Tsubasa Endoh 24’ (Yeferson Soteldo)

NE – Carles Gil 56’

NE – Adam Buksa 78’ (Emmanuel Boateng)

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

TOR – Mark Delgado 55’ (caution)

NE – Tommy McNamara 75’ (caution)

TOR – Nick DeLeon 89’ (caution)

RECORDS (W-L-D)

Toronto FC                                2-8-2    8 points

New England Revolution 7-3-3    24 points

LINEUPS

TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Auro Jr., Omar González, Luke Singh, Kemar Lawrence; Michael Bradley (C), Mark Delgado, Tsubasa Endoh (Nick DeLeon 73’), Alejandro Pozuelo, Yeferson Soteldo (Dom Dwyer 84’); Ayo Akinola (Patrick Mullins 77’)

Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Silva, Noble Okello, Ralph Priso, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Jayden Nelson, Jacob Shaffelburg

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION – Brad Knighton; Brandon Bye, Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler, DeJuan Jones (Arnór Ingvi Traustason 72’); Matt Polster (Tommy McNamara 46’, Edward Kizza 86’), Maciel, Teal Bunbury (Emmanuel Boateng 64’), Carles Gil (C), Adam Buksa; Gustavo Bou

Substitutes Not Used: Earl Edwards Jr., Jonathan Bell, A. J. DeLaGarza, Wilfrid Kaptoum, Scott Caldwell

MEDIA NOTES

  • Yeferson Soteldo registered his first goal and assist for Toronto FC.
  • Kemar Lawrence scored his first goal for Toronto FC.
  • Tsubasa Endoh scored his 10th goal for Toronto FC in all competitions.
  • Dom Dwyer made his 200th MLS regular season appearance tonight, split between Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City SC and Toronto FC.
  • Javier Pérez earned his first MLS victory as coach of Toronto FC.

JAVIER PÉREZ – INTERIM HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC

Q. Congratulations on your first win at the helm.

Thank you.

Q. You didn’t have much time with the team before this game. Can you tell us what your main message was to the team? It clearly worked.

Yeah, so I think I mentioned this in the press conference before traveling. We have very limited time, just two days to prepare. The first day we worked on our defensive shape, how we were going to prepare the team against New England, and the second day we work about how we were going to play with the ball. So I think the game reflects both parts of the game that we worked on in training.

Defensive part, at the same time, I like how the team knew how to suffer and get the result and get the job done.

Q. Can you say how much a win does to take the weight off the shoulders of the team and the players do you think this win is?

Yes, I thinks have a very important win because not only for what just happened during the past week but it’s been extremely tough for the players and staff to be away from home, away from their families, and it was kind of very important to put together a good performance, not only to win, but to put together a good performance to believe, again, in us, and I think the team responded. I think the team put together a good performance.

So to answer your question, I think it was a big weight that the players took off their shoulders.

Q. This was the first game where Soteldo and Pozuelo started with each other. What did you make of their collective performance between the two?

I think taking advantage of their ability. Alejandro is a magnificent player with the ball. He’s a player that change the tempo of the game, and Yeferson is a player that can take one, maybe two players by himself. He can hold the ball.

So, basically take advantage of the characteristics of both of them.

Q. Was that your first match as a head coach, if so, how did you enjoy the view from the coach’s box on the sideline, and what goes into the notebook we saw you scribbling in?

What goes into that notebook? A lot of things. A lot of things.

The credit is to the players. The coaches, we are there to support them, to help them, try to read what is in the game before the game to think about different possibilities that can happen.

The beauty of the game is that always it’s going to happen but it’s not in the notebook and you have to react to that. So the notebook helps, but in the end, the players are the ones, they make the performances.

Q. Is there an update on the status of Chris Mavinga? I noticed he was out of the 18 tonight.

Yes, Chris, we kept him out as a precaution because he has some discomfort, so that’s the only reason why Chris was out.

Q. The team is coming home now. You don’t play until July 17th. What is your plan? Will the team get some time off to go back to their homes and families or will you go straight back to practice?

No. The team is, as I said before, it’s been a really challenging time for everybody, players as well as staff. They need to go home. They need to see their families. Some of the players, they have never been in Toronto. They need to settle down. So they are going to have some days off. They are going to come back happy to the training facility we have waiting for us in Toronto. We have an amazing stadium, and hopefully we have, as well, the fans waiting for us in the stadium.

And that’s what they need, just some days off to settle down in Toronto, and then we will go back to business, go back to work.

Q. Is there an update on your situation? Obviously we’re assuming that you’re going to be coaching the next game, but have you been given any type of formal update on your situation as a head coach?

Yes, I think I mentioned this before. I was going to take today, today’s game, as my next challenge, and I think right now, the answer is the same. My next challenge is June 17 at home, and get three points over there. So if the management doesn’t communicate to me anything different, I will be taking that challenge.

Q. Perhaps you could ask for a raise.

Excuse me?

Q. Perhaps you could ask for a raise.

Let’s keep winning.

TSUBASA ENDOH – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC

Q. Can you give us an idea of what that win meant to you guys after going through so much leading up to tonight’s game?

It meant everything. You know, collectively, individually, honestly. It was much needed. We played hard. We came out strong. I mean, you know, it was just we gave it all, and it’s something that we showed on the field.

Q. Obviously you must be happy to be going home back to Toronto. Can you tell us what the feeling is in the locker room about coming back north of the border?

You know, all I can say is that we are all excited to be back in Toronto after spending time for, I don’t know, more than three months in Orlando. You know, it wasn’t easy but we adjusted. It just is what it is. We are professionals, so we adjusted.

So, yeah, but we are excited to be back home, hopefully in front of fans.

Q. And can you tell us, was the game plan different going into this game? You didn’t have much time with Javier, but what was his message to you in the couple of days you had working with him?

It was like you said, it wasn’t much time to prepare for this game. So you know, we only had a couple days to get ready for this game.

So it wasn’t easy, but it was clear collectively what we need to do, and you know, each player did everything. Each player gave everything on the field. I mean, you know, you just leave it on the field, and we got those three points and that was definitely much needed as a team and we can move forward from here.

Q. Do you feel like that was a better representation of what this team is capable of than the previous six, seven, eight matches have been?

It’s hard to compare. I mean, like, you know, it’s just one game. But you know, it was just a fresh energy from the team. We knew what we need to do on the field, and there’s no talk. We just have to show on the field, and that’s what we do, right.

So we just go out there and we got the three points and hopefully, you know, it will get better from now on.

Q. You’ve only started one game this season, I believe, before this, and that was all the way back on May 15th against New York City FC. Why has it been, I guess, tough for you to get playing time here?

Well, I think I missed the whole preseason because of my injury. I had a surgery, and it hasn’t been easy to get in the mix. And as a player, it’s honestly tough to miss the whole preseason, and just coming into the game and try to understand what the new coach is trying to do.

So I mean, for me, that’s part of the reason why. But even after I came back from surgery, I was struggling a little bit. So it wasn’t — I wasn’t feeling my best. So that was definitely part of it.

But now I’m feeling 100 percent. I’ve been ready, so like I said, I have not been playing in the last couple, I don’t know, back in 2019, first part of 2019. I just had to keep my head down and keep training. You just need to keep training hard, and you know, be ready. Be ready for this kind of opportunity, and then once it’s laid out in front of you, you just need to take it. I’ve been saying that or I’ve been telling myself that for every single time every single year when I first was out of university, right.

So, you know, that’s all you can do. That’s all you can control. So, yeah, I’ve been ready. I’m not the type of guy who complains, go to the coach or whatever. So, just, you know, keep my head down and just be ready for this kind of opportunity. That’s it.

Q. Going forward as a team right now, what do you guys think you have to like sort of concentrate on to sort of keep your play at a consistent level where you can start to get points?

Can you repeat that.

Q. Sure, I’ll repeat that. What part of your game as a team do you think you have to concentrate on or work on or keep a consistent performance going forward?

Personally, a discipline. We just need to be disciplined defensively, offensively. You know, we have a lot of probably players on our team that offensively we can damage the opponents.

But then defensively, you know, we just need to be on the same page, and collectively understand each other. Then, you know, if we don’t concede a lot of goals, we can definitely win the game because we have a lot of talented, attacking players. We showed today that we could score goals. So that showed on the field, and yeah, we just need to keep building on.

Q. On a lighter note, what’s the first thing you do when you get back to Toronto? I don’t suppose you have any plants that need watering at your place or anything like that?

The first thing I’ll do, probably, maybe I’ll go to a restaurant and go to patio and feel like a normal person again (smiling.)

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

COLUMBUS 2, TFC 1

COLUMBUS CREW (2) – TORONTO FC (1) POST GAME SUMMARY

SCORING SUMMARY

CLB – Luis Díaz 12’ (Pedro Santos)

CLB – Gyasi Zardes 21’ (Pedro Santos)

TOR – Ayo Akinola 52’

RECORDS

Toronto FC                    1-4-2    5 points

Columbus Crew 3-2-2    11 points

LINEUPS

TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Richie Laryea, Eriq Zavaleta, Chris Mavinga (Luke Singh 46’), Kemar Lawrence; Michael Bradley (C), Auro Jr., Mark Delgado (Patrick Mullins 89’), Nick DeLeon (Alejandro Pozuelo 55’), Jacob Shaffelburg (Jayden Nelson 78’); Ayo Akinola

Substitutes Not Used: Quentin Westberg, Justin Morrow, Tsubasa Endoh, Noble Okello, Ralph Priso

COLUMBUS SC – Eloy Room; Harrison Afful, Vito Wormgoor (Jonathan Mensah 73’), Josh Williams, Pedro Santos; Darlington Nagbe (C), Artur (Saad Abdul-Salaam 73’), Luis Díaz (Alexandru Mățan 85’), Lucas Zelarayán, Derrick Etienne Jr.; Gyasi Zardes (Bradley Wright-Phillips 83’)

Substitutes Not Used: Evan Bush, Aboubacar Keita, Grant Lillard, Marlon Hairston, Isaiah Parente

MEDIA NOTES

  • Ayo Akinola scored his 12th career goal for Toronto FC, moving to twelfth all-time in club history (tied with Jermain Defoe).

CHRIS ARMAS – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC

Q. Disappointing result today. Your team dug a hole in the first half, better in the second half. What was your take on the performance?

You said it right there. You know, we dug ourselves a hole, so against good teams, it’s hard to dig yourself out. And it’s — when you get played off the pitch, if you just get shelled with shots, then you feel one way.

But you come in, and it’s three or four shots and you’re down 2-0, when you’re trying to push and you’re trying to come in with optimism and you try to come in with belief and you go down the way we went down, right, we are about to score a corner kick and it’s a breakaway and where structurally you have it sorted out. That’s hard, right.

So yeah, the result, we’re not going to ever get used to not winning around here. So we’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing in many ways and stick to it if we truly believe we’re doing the right things, and if the results aren’t coming, we’ve got to stick to it. Get guys healthy, keep sticking to it and got to be better, though. Got to be better.

Early on it was set pieces. Today it’s some transition moments, and it becomes hard to win games when we’re giving up goals that are preventable. So yeah, it’s a tough stretch but we are going to get through it and yeah, it’s hard to handle right now but that’s what it is.

Q. Pozuelo, can you speak to how great it was to see him back in action and what he meant to help turn the game in your favor today?

Yeah, look, I think when he’s on the field, he gives a lift to the team, just his presence, and then he adds the quality and he’s always a guy that can find spaces and facilitate the attack. I think you all know that and we’re able to see that.

So he was a big part of the push we make in the second half. Helped put some guys in some good spots, relieve pressure, the whole bit. Yeah, it’s good to have him back. It’s good to see Ayo get himself on the scoreboard and see the guys come out at halftime to get a big push to get a result. We obviously fell short but we are happy to Alejandro back.

Q. Again you were missing some key pieces to your lineup, including Altidore. Can you say anything about what happened with him and why he didn’t make the trip to Columbus?

So the first part, you say we were missing some key pieces. Yeah, look, we are. There’s no secret there. With Soteldo and Pozuelo, Osorio, there’s a bunch of guys out, Chris Mavinga has got to come off at halftime. But despite that, despite that, it’s out — it’s there for us and we are not going to start ever making excuses because it’s enough there on the night. If we give up eight shots in 90 minutes, yeah, it’s there for you, whoever you have, whoever you’re missing.

And look, with Jozy, I know there’s been some questions. For the sake of respecting all parties involved, we wanted to get through this game and use the next days to take a step back before something is said out there. You know, again, there’s too much respect for all parties involved, so I’m not going to address anything with Jozy at the moment. Just that it’s an internal situation that, yeah, that’s it for now.

Q. You talked about the first half obviously not going the way you wanted it but it looked like a much different team in the second half, tale of two halves for sure. Pozuelo’s influence was important but what did you say to the team at halftime and what adjustments did you make at halftime to spark a much better performance in the second half?

Well, look, there’s little things in there. Taking care of the ball better. Taking care of passes where it doesn’t lead to transition. That was talked about last. But the main thing was just to go for it. You know, to leave nothing on the table. To use the next 45 minutes to push the game and to take some risks and to play in their end and to be the aggressors.

Now, we change the way we were pressing. We stepped up in a different way. We pressed out of a 4-1-4-1 to put more pressure on the ball, even before Pozuelo comes on the field, we got a grasp on the game and caused more turnovers and gave them less time. This allowed I think for some of that to happen, for guys just to not hold back and to try to play on the front foot. Like guys, I want to be on the edge of my seat type of thing, watching you guys go after the game, and they did. To be fair, they did, to the very last play. Michael I think almost scores at the end but there’s some chances in there.

I think the challenge is to put that together for 90 minutes and to, you know, but listen, there is the reality of the game, which is when you are out there, you’re trying to control certain spaces, you’re picking moments to press, you give up a goal, it does, it hurts, right. That’s the reality.

So we are going to come back stronger after this game and reset, recharge and be stronger for these first seven matches.

Q. Why didn’t the club disclose Soteldo’s injury and why did the Venezuelan Federation disclose his injury so close to a game for TFC?

It is a good question, it is. But we didn’t know about his injury until the night after we did media. So I get messaged that evening of a hamstring, and they got the information and they just — they quickly revealed that at almost near the same time that we did.

Let’s face it, guys, this isn’t intramural soccer. When you get information about a player, you don’t rush to the media. You don’t call for a press conference to let the opposition know one of our best players is out. So there’s almost two sides of it. I know everyone wants the information but, one, we didn’t have it when I did media, and two, it gets — the next day, we were putting that out, you know, anyway, how it gets out there and then everyone — like you’re asking, like we are holding back the information, at least it sounds that way, but we didn’t. We didn’t.

So I think that almost should go without saying, but it’s I think people expect us to run and reveal every — should I call Caleb Porter and let him know – “hey, just so you know, as you’re preparing, Soteldo’s out.” Think about it.

Q. What broke down on the two Columbus calls, the first one in particular, and what did you see from Ayo on his call today? I thought he took it well.

Yeah, look, Columbus is dangerous. We’ll look back and we have some numbers there, and they are whipping a good ball, and they catch us on that one in a transition moment from a giveaway up the field.

I think more, you know, a strange one is the first one where we have a structure set up on a set piece and it’s a corner kick and it looks really promising on one level and the way we defend our corner kicks is a structured top of the box which three players that help control transition. I didn’t see the goal back but it happened quickly where the ball shoots out and yeah, he gets on the run. It happened quickly, the first one. The timing wasn’t great, and just before the corner kick that we ended up having, it looks like a big moment. I think Nick DeLeon is going on the end line, it’s a big moment to score and seconds later, we give up a goal.

I think it’s one we look back on and a few that we have numbers around, and we have people there. Yeah, we just have to put out those fires.

Q. You guys decided to start Auro Jr. at the center of the park for the third straight match. With other options that are more natural central midfielders in the squad, was he the best option at centre mid and why did you adjust 20 minutes into the match after that?

I mean, we would need like a half hour to talk tactics, and Pep Guardiola starts all midfielders and it’s brilliant, when you have Aguero, Jesus, no strikers, only midfielders and that makes a lot of sense. Like there’s a lot of thought that goes into the lineups and where, how we are best and I think when you have a few players like a Richie Laryea, like Auro, instead of having them compete against each other, you say, hey, how can we get them both on. That’s one part of it.

Then we had to makeshift a little bit, the first time we used Auro there was almost like necessity was the mother of all invention. We needed someone in that part of the field to play 90 minutes, so he got the nod instead of Ralph Priso, let’s say, and we thought he played really well.

So if you just think about a player like Auro who has played that position in his career, not for Toronto but in his career, and he’s intelligent and he’s smart and he plays with real passion. Those are all qualities that make for a good central midfielder. So we think he’s followed it up pretty well there, and then we shifted it into the game tonight where we put him back at right back and pushed Richie up and we saw Richie, we think that’s something interesting, too.

Again, listen, it’s a fair question but it’s not one that — the thought behind and makes some sense behind in a lot of ways.

Q. You touched on it earlier with Chris Mavinga to be subbed off. Luke came in, how do you think he performed in the second half?

Yeah, I think Luke stepped in in a difficult game, and you know, won some aerial duels, connected some passes, defended, some pretty good attackers fairly well. So you know, Luke is coming along and he’s a young player and he’s had some big experiences already in a short season for him with Champions League and even tonight getting thrown out there last second, we had to make that change quickly.

We like Luke. He’s got a good physical and athletic profile and he’s a good passer and he trains well. We thought, again, in a difficult game, he came on and helped us make a push in the second half.

Q. Your players are going their separate ways now on the break, international duties, some going elsewhere. Do you think it may be a chance for them to reset, refresh? And on a personal level, will you get to go home, spend some time with your family? What will you do?

Appreciate it. Yeah, it will be a time that we all use, yes, myself included for a few days back just to see my family.

Yeah, it will be important for everyone to take a step back for just a couple of days, which isn’t always easy when you’re sitting on some results that don’t go our way and you say, well, if you can get a few, you feel much better about enjoying some time. But that’s part of it.

So yeah, the players will get some days to get back to Canada to see some of their families. Some of them will stay in Orlando and do some different things out of there. The extended staff, same situation.

But for sure, take a step back, reset things, recharge the batteries, and all of us, we come back with a vengeance. No one is happy with a 1-4-2 start. There’re some points we leave out there. But on the inside, things are strong. On the inside of these walls over here, things are getting stronger, and things haven’t been easy for this group. But we are going to come back and reload.

Q. In the buildup to this one, you talked about how you felt you had not seen a complete 90-minute performance from the team in MLS this year. Fair to say it wasn’t a complete 90 minutes today. Can you diagnose what the problem is? Is it mental errors? Is it players switching off? How would you diagnose it that you can’t seem to get 90 minutes out of these guys?

Listen, I see effort. I saw effort in Orlando. We can talk about certain games and we can talk specifically about today where you see a team that is pushing and probing and fighting and sticking together and relentless to win the ball back and to attack again and to counter press and to repeat that, and as the game goes on, we’re ramping things up. On one level, I see that the team is fighting and pushing. On the other level, it’s where we have to really improve is moments of transition. You know, can we, you know, be better with the ball in certain parts of the field. Can we have an ability to put out fires when those fires come. And then, you know, so you think back to some of the goals that we’ve given up, or many of the goals this year, yeah, it’s certain moments of concentration and focus. That’s often times at the highest level with teams in any sport it’s how long can you endure those moments of total focus, which just leads to execution, a clearance, a final play, defending a set piece, a cross. It’s often a game of inches.

Listen, the way the guys are sticking together, the way they pushed this game, and we have a big chance late; if it’s 2-2, you feel really good about this. Yeah, it’s not just one thing. It’s everyone pulling a little more weight, all of us, to get the results that we need.

Q. I wanted to get your take on how Ayo took his goal today. You talked in the past about him being a bit of a rhythm player and wonder if you’re seeing that after a couple straight appearances from him.

Yeah, I’m happy for him because oftentimes it’s about confidence and for strikers, it’s about goals. So what I’ve seen from him, I’d say in the last few weeks and then few days where he is staying after training, working on finishing, hitting the back of the net, taking chances well, working hard in training, defending, pressing, I’ve seen a real hunger and focus in these last days, and Bill Manning told him yesterday he’s going to score a goal. He’s right, you can feel and sense that it was coming.

We hope, and like always, he’ll build on that. He’ll come back from the break and he’ll get more opportunities to put it to work. But he’s confident and sharp and I’m happy for him that he gets on the scoreboard.

Q. Understanding that the loss is very fresh and you’re going to go home and take a few days, but moving forward, what are the steps that you as a coaching staff need to take to, as you said, come back with a vengeance and kind of right the ship here?

I think you have to recognize where you can improve. So where is the opportunity and then what are you doing well.

Again, if you come here and give up five shots, zero shots — the guys didn’t have a ton, eight or nine shots on the day but it’s not easy with a team has a Santos, a Zelarayan, a Zardes, a Diaz, a Wright-Phillips coming in. It’s a big task.

So I think it’s just really important to be able to look clearly at things and be very honest and say, where are we giving up goals, where are we giving up chances, how did we tighten that and is it structural, is it intensity, is it focus, is it personnel. And then we move forward.

On the flipside, it’s important to take a real hard look at some good performances and the way we can move the ball fast and as much as they are trying to prevent, we are still able to get through at ease at moments and to create chances and how can we turn some of those good buildups into goals. Some little movements in the back, some final passes and decision-making. And if transition is something that’s getting us, can we just organize training and have guys be put in situations where they can slow down a little bit, stay on the ball, decision-making.

So yeah, we know that we are not an easy team to play against but we have hurt ourselves a bit, and it will be my job to take the hard look with my staff and put the guys in situations to succeed because we will. We will, partly because of what evident — what we have had with some of the guys and partly of who is coming back and who is healthy. We’ll take this time off in the right way and come back in a real way.

ALEJANDRO POZUELO – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC

Q. Alejandro, can you tell us how good it felt to be back on the pitch again playing and how difficult was it to be watching for so long without being able to play?

Yeah, I feel very good. I worked a lot for play today because when I was injured, it’s like a bad injury. The doctor was a little bit scared. They said like eight, ten weeks, but I worked a lot with the physio, with ‘Chelo’,  and I worked a lot to harder to be with the team as fast as possible. It’s difficult to see the team with injuries and on the TV. But like I said, I worked a lot to help the team and I’m very happy. I feel very good and — this is the most important — I feel good after the game. I need to be physically better but when I start playing more game for sure it’s good. But the most important, I don’t feel pain and we need to keep going.

Q. This team has gone through a lot having to relocate, all the injuries, including yourself, and now some problems with Jozy Altidore, what is the mood on the team now? Struggled to get wins and now headed into the international break. How do the players on the team feel right now?

We feel good. We protect the coach. I know the team likes the coach. I like the coach. What you said, a lot of difficult situations, like when we were in Toronto with the quarantine, after we needed to come back to Orlando, we played our way up home. A lot of bad situations, like a lot of injured players, about the quarantine, training and after training again, and this is the situation.

But now, we have like three weeks free to recover the people, to recover all the players, and we need to keep going. This is the mentality. We protect the coach. We know all the reasons we want this coach because he have good mentality and a good personality and he is very good guy, and personality, I protect him when he — if he stays here, because I like the style he plays. He wants to play, press higher, he wants to take the ball, and when he’s here, we need to protect him and all the players want him.

So we need to keep going, recover all the players, and look forward.

Q. From what you’ve seen, what’s your opinion as to why the team has struggled on the pitch to get results, aside from injuries?

Yeah, I said before, we have had a lot of bad situations, a lot of important players on the team including Mavinga with injuries, now Yeferson has come with injury. The situation we had, we come to Toronto where we have to be quarantine after start training and we come to Orlando, different weather, hot. A lot of difficult situations for the team, and we need to keep going like I said. Now we have more of the players ready and these three weeks free is very important us to get the players ready for the next part of the season.

Q. We didn’t get a chance yet to see you guys together but what are your thoughts on playing with Yeferson in training, if you have had that opportunity yet?

yeah, I want to play with good players, and he’s a good player. So I’m very, very happy to play with him because I know he can play. We can play together. He’s very smart player. He’s fast. He can play one-two with me or with Mike, with Marco. We have good team and we have good players and we need to look forward and we need to have personality and we need to keep working. The rest is coming.

In the second half, I think we played very good and we had a lot of chances and we played from behind. This is what we need. We need to have confidence. We need to play with passion, with personality and we need to keep going forward, yeah, for sure.

Q. Forgive me if you’ve addressed this already, but you’re just coming off the injury. What are your plans for the break? What are your plans or the time off? Are you going to take time off yourself or will you be in training for the most part?

No, I need to train. I need to prepare myself for after the three weeks. Like you know, my wife is pregnant. She is in Spain. I go to Spain for a few days. So I have time see my family, my kids. In one, two weeks, the third baby is coming. So I go see my family and time for recovery and after, I need to come back to play again to look forward. Yeah, I need to be ready.

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

ORLANDO CITY 1, TORONTO FC 0

ORLANDO CITY SC (1) – TORONTO FC (0) POST GAME SUMMARY

SCORING SUMMARY

ORL – Tesho Akindele 12’ (Silvester van der Water)

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

TFC – Yeferson Soteldo 21’ (caution)

TFC – Auro Jr. 63’ (caution)

ORL – Tesho Akindele 77’ (caution)

RECORDS

Toronto FC                    1-3-2    5 points

Orlando City SC3-0-3    12 points

LINEUPS

TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Richie Laryea, Omar González (Eriq Zavaleta 81’), Chris Mavinga, Kemar Lawrence; Michael Bradley (C), Auro Jr. (Jacob Shaffelburg 69’), Mark Delgado, Jonathan Osorio (Nick DeLeon 55’), Yeferson Soteldo; Jozy Altidore (Ayo Akinola 70’)

Substitutes Not Used: Quentin Westberg, Justin Morrow, Jayden Nelson, Ralph Priso, Patrick Mullins

ORLANDO CITY SC – Pedro Gallese; Kyle Smith, Antônio Carlos, Rodrigo Schlegel, Robin Jansson; Jhegson Méndez, Júnior Urso, Chris Mueller (Benji Michel 70’), Mauricio Pereyra (Alexander Alvarado 87’), Silvester van der Water (Andrés Perea 59’); Tesho Akindele (Joey DeZart 87’)

Substitutes Not Used: Brandon Austin, Michael Halliday, Rio Hope-Gund, Matheus Aiás, David Loera

CHRIS ARMAS – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC

Q. It seemed like tonight you created chances against a good Orlando team but couldn’t finish them and on the other end you paid for one defensive let down. What do you take from the performance tonight?

I think we will be disappointed in the goal that we let up, but the attitude, the approach, the pressing, the commitment when we don’t have the ball, the ability to create chances, the structure, I think there’s a lot of positives.

What’s not so positive is the way we feel right now. The locker room is down, yeah. It’s a big effort. You want to get rewarded for the effort. On the night, disappointed but there’s some positives that we’ll just keep building on.

Q. You said earlier this week that goals were going to come for Soteldo and he did a lot play making and almost scoring tonight. Can you just give us a comment on the way he played?

Listen, I think — I’ve said it from day one because I watched a lot of Yeferson before he got here, that our league, our club, our supporters, the players, we should be really excited about him because he’s a guy that gets you on the edge of your seat because he can unbalance, he can unlock a 1v1 attack. It’s a very rare quality these days in a footballer. We thought he was dangerous all night long, getting in line, making plays, giving us chances to score.

He got really close on one. I don’t know if he gets blocked off the goal line in the first half but it’s going to keep getting better with him. I think it’s important he played 90 minutes and physically he’s coming along but we’re happy with him and he’s going to help us. He’s going to help us big time create and score goals.

Q. Obviously this is a very difficult Orlando team you were playing. They are just so solid defensively. But in terms of Urso and Mendez, how difficult did they make it for you guys today because it seemed like they were beasts in that central midfield for Orlando.

I don’t know, we had 20 shots, I think they had ten — it’s a good team. Defensively it’s such a good team. It’s maybe the most amount of shots we had all year.

We thought we could find spaces, create spaces wide. We thought we could move the ball. We thought we could put them in a fast game and those guys, they are a very athletic, powerful midfield and you can throw Pereyra in there as well.

But against a really good team, we thought we’d created chances and as the game went on, we thought we won the midfield. Yeah, I think those guys are credible and very athletic and a presence, but I think we put those guys in a hard game in central midfield.

Q. What was it like having fans in the stands for this match? I think we saw a bit of the energy that had been missed from playing in empty stadiums in tonight’s match.

We like the energy. And credit to Orlando and their organization, the fans. They make noise. They are knowledgeable. We thought it was a really good atmosphere. They come to see a performance and some entertainment. They got that tonight and they got to see their team win, but yeah, it was good energy in the building.

Q. You have two more games against Orlando coming up, how much are you guys looking forward to having another look at them after the way today’s game went?

Yeah, look, looking forward to next weekend. Roll out back out there against Columbus and keep improving, keep getting better. Keep getting better, keep getting guys healthy. I’m looking forward to the next game.

I won’t look too far ahead. Orlando is off to a good start this year. They are well-coached, and they have a good team. When we meet them again, we’ll look to win that one. But for now, it’s on to the next one.

Q. I know you wanted to restrict Osorio’s minutes on his return, but he looked to be in a bit of discomfort when he left. Is he okay?

Yeah, he was getting looked at after the game by the doctors. He had just a couple of soft tissue injuries this year. He’s just trying to get himself going so we’ll have to see was it just some cramps, fatigue, not sure yet what exactly but obviously an important piece for us and we’ve got to help him stay healthy because you know — he shows up in good spots, yeah, we’ve got to get him healthy here. We came into the game thinking 45 to 60 minutes. We got that. But we’ll take a look and see where he’s at.

Q. Wondering about Omar Gonzalez because he came out late. Was that injury-related? Precautionary? What can you say about that?

Just that Omar asked to come off. He gave us the substitution sign and I think it was just cramping with Omar. Hopefully that’s just the case but we had to make a change at that moment.

KEMAR LAWRENCE – DEFENDER, TORONTO FC

Q. What are your thoughts on the result tonight and how your team played?

I’m a guy that likes to be honest after the games, win or lose. I try to wait a little bit before I process everything through my mind, so it’s always a little bit harder to speak to media directly after the games to tell you exactly what I want to tell you.

But we created chances. We didn’t finish. That’s a part of the game. I know that will come with the quality we have and the depth we have. But for me it’s like we’ve got to be tighter in the back line in our field. That’s one of the hardest things with any team and that doesn’t come overnight. We have to be like really hard to play against, not give away any chances.

And if you think about it, they didn’t really create much. It’s just that one. You know, they got off and it’s 1-0 and this is football. This is how it goes. You only need one at times, and you walk away with three points.

Q. How difficult did Orlando make it for you guys? Obviously, you did have chances, but I mean they are a pretty well defensively organized team. How difficult was it to break them down?

To be honest it wasn’t that difficult because, well, we did, we got isolation out wide and we keep beating our man and when we got out wide, it was just that final pass or somebody making that killer run inside just to get a little foot on one of those crosses that was coming in. Their keeper made a couple of saves.

You know, so if you get chances, you can’t really say, you know, it was difficult to break them down if you understand what I mean. But they are a pretty solid team around there. I’ll give them that.

So there was a few difficulties, but as soon as we kind of kept our cool a little bit more around the ball, we figured out what we need to do and then our selection of passes got better as the game progressed.

Q. It’s early days, but how are you enjoying playing with Yeferson Soteldo?

It’s easy and clear. You can see both of us love football. We hate losing and we’re passionate. So it makes him eager to learn about me and it makes me more eager to learn about him. That way we can just play seamlessly. And so far, I feel like we’re doing that. I know where he wants the ball and I try to play him quick as possible but at the same time, I know some time he’s isolated with two or three guys. So then it gives me an option to pick a different pass, and when I pick a different pass, he comes off perfectly most times because he’s occupied by three guys or two guys. He leaves other people free on the field.

Q. How valuable and how important can nights be like this for a team that’s still coming together and figuring themselves out in terms of the information you get and the repetitions?

I said it in the locker room. We’re a bunch of intelligent guys, smart, not only players, but smart people in that locker room. I just said to the guys, if we started off winning every game, winning every single game for the year, then when you lose one and close to the playoffs or stuff like that, it’s more difficult to deal with. Whereas if you start off early, you learn from your mistakes right now. You build up the right way and you know what losing feels like and you know that hurts. You don’t want to go over it through it again and again. The players and coaches learn from it as well as the players and we progress as a team, not as individuals.

So nights like this are really valuable, especially me, it shows me what I need to do or who I need to back up a little bit more or touches I need to take. Like I said, as a footballer, I’m learning and I’m growing every day. There’s a lot to learn and a lot we’ve got to do this week coming up because we know going into Columbus, you know it’s not going to be any joke. They want their three points, especially since we just beat them a couple weeks ago. It’s going to be a rough one.

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

TORONTO FC 2, VANCOUVER 2

MLS

TORONTO FC (2) – VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (2) POST GAME SUMMARY

SCORING SUMMARY

TOR – Luke Singh 7’

VAN – Cristian Dájome 55’ (PK)

VAN – Andy Rose 70’ (Cristián Gutiérrez)

TFC – Jonathan Osorio 83’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

VAN – Cristián Gutiérrez 6’ (caution)

TFC – Michael Bradley 64’ (caution)

TFC – Omar González 70’ (caution)

RECORDS

Toronto FC                                0-1-1    1 point

Vancouver Whitecaps FC1-1-0    4 points

LINEUPS

TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Richie Laryea, Omar González, Luke Singh, Auro Jr. (Jacob Shaffelburg 61’); Michael Bradley (C), Nick DeLeon (Jonathan Osorio 61’), Marky Delgado, Noble Okello (Ayo Akinola 78’), Jayden Nelson (Justin Morrow HT); Patrick Mullins (Jozy Altidore 61’)

Substitutes Not Used: Quentin Westberg, Eriq Zavaleta, Griffin Dorsey, Tsubasa Endoh

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – Maxime Crépeau; Jake Nerwinski, Ranko Veselinović, Andy Rose, Cristián Gutiérrez; Déiber Caicedo (Derek Cornelius 87’), Janio Bikel (Caio Alexandre 75’), Michael Baldisimo (Bruno Gaspar 87’), Russell Teibert (C); Cristian Dájome (Ryan Raposo 90’+4’), Lucas Cavallini

Substitutes Not Used: Thomas Hasal, Evan Newton, Javain Brown, Patrick Metcalfe, Theo Bair

MEDIA NOTES:

  • Luke Singh scored his first career MLS goal.
  • Jonathan Osorio has now scored in all nine seasons he has played with TFC (2013 – 2021)
  • Result marks Chris Armas’ first MLS point as head coach of Toronto FC.

CHRIS ARMAS – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC

Q. I’m guessing those are two goals coming I guess from set pieces you think perhaps should not have been conceded. What were your thoughts about the goals that the team gave up today and also the overall performance?

Yeah, look, the players have put so much work into everything we’re doing around here that on a day like today where they come out, and against a team that’s coming off a big win against Portland, we get the lead, and now we feel like we’re in a pretty good situation. We just have to keep pushing the game and try to get that second goal, while we’re trying to mitigate counterattacks and set pieces. We knew this was their strength on the day.

So, yeah, I’d love for the players, all of us, just to get rewarded on the day, for the work, the way they showed up on the day but that’s not the case. Yeah, when you defend deep and you defend in a low block, let’s say, certain things become really important and now we talk about control in part of the field, really controlling our actions while we’re still stepping to plays.

Yeah, it’s disappointing that that one, yeah, for sure, a free kick set play, the other is a penalty, but yeah, that doesn’t — that makes it — that makes it hard to sit with us. So the good news is the guys made a real push at the end. They made a real push to get back into the game and maybe we leave on somewhat of a positive there.

Q. How nice was it for you to be able to put in Osorio, Akinola and Altidore, and what did you think of the way that they helped turn the game around for you guys to have that push? 

I think they added something for sure. It’s good. It’s a big step for us. You know, Jozy back out there. Pat’s done a nice job but having Jozy as an option, there it’s a big step for him and our team.

Also, Singh, right, when he’s on the pitch, the football up the field gets easier. He’s able to bring people in and to understand the final third with quality, and you know, he’s going to — he’s going to keep pushing forward and help — help that part of thing.

Ayo, it’s been awhile, so we have to be thrilled that he’s back on the pitch being dangerous. He had a couple of good moments, even a near post run that’s really close.

The other one I would add is Jacob. Jacob’s shown he’s growing and he’s dangerous and he offered us speed on the flank. I think it’s a big plus for us. It’s still early in our season and we’re bringing — we’re talking about getting stronger each — each day, really, as guys come back in. On that note, it’s a positive and we thought all those guys helped make a real push at the end.

Q. Couple of big goals, Luke Singh scores his first as a professional, and Jonathan Osorio, goal. What are your reactions seeing the ball bounce around? Ever see a more beautiful goal?

Yeah, look, we talk a lot about urgency. Urgency on the pitch and none more than in each box. Specifically, that, call it 18 by 20, right. That 18 out, 20 yards wide. Can we have, you know, reactions to defend goals with more urgency, and that showed up on some plays today, although we set ourselves down in a few moments.

But on the attacking end, to think about the second ball, really anticipating and for that, it’s great. When it’s in the bounds, that shows that guys are hungry to score and anticipating and, you know, thrilled for those guys, especially Luke, getting his first in just his second game, right.

Q. Last week you talked about how the team just kind of came up second throughout the match, whether it was in tackles, duels, addles, whatever, just came up second the entire game. Just wondering today what you saw. Was it better on that front today?

It was better. We showed up on the day. The guys competed for sure. We saw a team on the front foot from the beginning. Right away we earn a corner kick in the first 20 seconds of the match. We’re pushing, in the run of play, we are fairly organized, and they get through a few times, you know, with you against Vancouver, it’s always about transition, right. So with Cavallini, and up the pitch Dajome, these guys are just good in transition, with Caicedo coming in, it challenges us if we want to play in the opposition’s half.

So that’s not a lack of intensity. It’s not a lack of focus. It’s just dealing with transition. And I’ll tell you what if we’re better with the ball up the field, of course counter pressing is something we rely on to win the ball back, but we had a lot of cheap giveaways up the field. So that stresses the back line.

No, I think the intensity, the approach to the game, the first goal, the way we pushed at the end showed we were up for it today. We just have to be sharper.

Q. Congratulations on your first point with Toronto FC.

Thank you.

Q. What happened there at the end? It seemed like tempers sort of flared or after the final whistle. Do you know what happened there? It seemed Teibert was upset. What did Marc say to you after the game was over?

We wished each other well. You know, I congratulated them on a good start to the season. He wished us well in the Champion’s League. It was just, you know, a warm coming together there. In terms of players, you’d have to ask them. You know, it’s a competitive game. Sometimes these games end like this, but it’s nothing much to talk about, I don’t think. 

Q. It’s early in the season, you started along this path towards a new style in the preseason. Only four games under your belt, it’s a long journey to developing a new style but how far along the path to your vision are you seeing this club right now?

It’s early. It’s early for our team. Again, we’ve talked about some of our challenges physically early on. You can see we’re slowly getting fitter; we’re getting — the sharpness is going to come. I think you all tell me all the time, you know, asking about the Mavingas, the Jozys, the Pozuelos. It’s all going to come together.

What I do see and what I love most is a major commitment to what we are doing, and I see that because I know it poses challenge for us if we are going to play with intensity and be aggressive and stepping into plays and playing up the pitch, it sometimes leads to fouls and it leads to transition moments. I see a big commitment every day from these players and the entire staff. The whole crew here, it makes me happy, a couple of months in that we are — I think that we are playing more vertical. I think we are playing with more intensity and we are able to score and in the run of play we are not giving up a ton, even against Leon. We had some big challenges early on, some good opposition. Yeah, we’ve got to get back to work. There’s a lot of work to do. We’re early on in the process and we’ll get back to work starting tomorrow.

JONATHAN OSORIO – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC

Q. Tell us about the goal you scored, one of the stranger ones imagine. How did it come to you?

Deflection, I have to see the replay, but I think it was Michael who tried to whip in a ball, and then it got deflected. I think one of their players tried to clear it, and I think maybe the spin on it, I don’t know, they had trouble with it and it ended up, you know, coming to me luckily and I just tried to get it on net as quick as possible. I actually didn’t hit it the best, but luckily it had enough to kind of, you know, I guess put the keeper off balance. Lucky enough the ball had the spin to get away from him and go in the net.

Q. Tell us how nice it felt to get back on the field again and maybe a thought on what you think of the new coach’s style of play and how your team is adapting to it?

Yeah, of course I think it’s great to be back on the pitch. The guys have seen how much it always bothers me when I’m not able to be available for the guys and try to help them. And also, after such a long time without playing, to wait a little bit longer because of injury, it was tough. But you know, I got myself right, and credit to the staff for helping me out and everything, you know, for little bumps in the road that happens in football, but I’m back and I’m happy for that.

As far as the coach’s playing style, I think we’re all bought in. We are all bought in. We believe in it, his philosophy. It’s going to take, you know, a little bit of time for us to really start getting it right. I think to think it’s going to go perfect from the first couple games would be, you know, naïve to think.

So we are learning about ourselves each game and learning more about how to impose ourselves in this — in this system, and you know, game by game, we are only going to get better.

Q. Big moment for Luke Singh early in the match, his first goal as a professional. Do you take a moment in that split second there to say something to him and what have you thought of the young guys stepping up and contributing early in this year?

Yeah, I think it’s great for the coaches putting faith and giving these young guys chances in really big games. You saw them play in the Champion’s League getting good results, and then to start the season, it’s great for the kids. They are only going to learn every time they step on the pitch. They are only going to get better and for Luke, he’s done so well for a guy that has been patient, patiently waiting for his time, and he was with us for — while we were in Hartford last year, and it’s paying off, his patience, and working, his work ethic. You know, amazing to see a young kid like that get his first goal in only his third game, I think.

He’s got a bright future as well as all these other young players on our team. I think we are all very excited to see where their careers — how far they can go.

Q. Curious from your perspective what you saw from Vancouver today in terms of they went down early but then battled back nicely and had you guys on the back foot a little bit. What did they do right to make things uncomfortable for you?

Welcome back, John. Good to have you back with us.

Vancouver, this is a team that believes in themselves, and you saw that last game, last week getting the win, and this is a team that’s ran on confidence, I think. This is a fresh start for them I think, and they are riding that. You saw that in the game, going down a goal, they didn’t stop. They kept going, and yeah, I think we’re going to see a different Vancouver this season and credit to them.

But nonetheless, I still think that our team feels that we should have come out from this game for a lot more. I don’t think we’re satisfied with only getting a point.

Q. Quick turnaround. How do you switch your focus?

Very easily, now we put our focus on them. They either played today or play later today, I’m not sure. I know they play today, so we are going to have to watch that game and see, you know, kind of plan for them and see what we are up against. We know we are up against a really big opponent, really big team in México, a team that’s doing very well in the League. You know, it’s going to be a tough match, but something this club is always up for. It’s competition. It puts out, you know, great games and great quality, and you’re always putting out against the best in the continent, and as a player, that’s the kind of games that you want to be a part of.

So, easy. We put this to the side now for now and we look forward to Tuesday starting now.

Q. It was pretty hot from what we understand. Are you used to the heat and humidity, or is it still difficult conditions to play in?

I don’t think you can ever get used to the heat totally. Are we — I think now it’s not like — it’s not really a shock for us when we play. We’ve trained in temperatures like today now. But the heat is the heat and it’s going to affect your body. It’s not really the same as, you know, as if you train in altitude for a long time. It’s a little bit different.

So the heat is the heat. It is what it is. It’s not an excuse, and I think little by little, we will mentally and physically be stronger to cope with whatever the temperature is.

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

CF MONTREAL 4, TORONTO FC 2

CF MONTRÉAL (4) – TORONTO FC (2) POST GAME SUMMARY 

SCORING SUMMARY 

MTL – Mason Toye 3’ (Zachary Brault-Guillard) 

MTL – Romell Quioto 24’ (Joel Waterman) 

TFC – Mark Delgado 44’ (PK) 

MTL – Victor Wanyama 54’ (Mustafa Kizza) 

MTL – Djordje Mihailovic 71’ (Erik Hurtado) 

TFC – Richie Laryea 88’ (Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty) 

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY 

TFC – Michael Bradley 18’ (caution) 

TFC – Ralph Priso 45’+1 (caution) 

MTL – Victor Wanyama 67’ (caution) 

RECORDS 

Toronto FC       0-1-0    0 points 

CF Montréal      1-0-0    3 points 

LINEUPS 

TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Richie Laryea, Omar González, Luke Singh, Auro Jr.; Michael Bradley (C), Ralph Priso (Liam Fraser 59’), Mark Delgado (Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty 76’), Noble Okello (Nick DeLeon HT), Jacob Shaffelburg (Justin Morrow 59’); Patrick Mullins (Jordan Perruzza HT) 

Substitutes Not Used: Quentin Westberg, Eriq Zavaleta, Griffin Dorsey, Tsubasa Endoh 

CF MONTRÉAL – Clément Diop; Joel Waterman, Rudy Camacho, Kamal Miller; Zachary Brault-Guillard, Samuel Piette (C), Victor Wanyama, Mustafa Kizza (Aljaž Struna 79’), Djordje Mihailovic (Amar Sejdič 79’); Romell Quioto (Bjørn Johnsen 69’), Mason Toye (Erik Hurtado 57’) 

Substitutes Not Used: James Pantemis, Zorhan Bassong, Clément Bayiha, Emanuel Maciel, Joaquín Torres 

MEDIA NOTES: 

  • Luke Singh made his MLS debut and first MLS start for Toronto FC. 
  • Noble Okello made his first MLS start for Toronto FC. 
  • Jordan Perruzza made his MLS debut for Toronto FC. 
  • Richie Laryea scored a goal in the team’s MLS season opener for the second consecutive season (February 29, 2020, against San Jose Earthquakes) 
  • Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty registered his first assist for Toronto FC. 

CHRIS ARMAS – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC 

Q. I wonder if you can give us your thoughts on the team’s performance today, and I guess in particular, about the goals that were conceded.  

Well, look, I would say that our team has experienced in just a few days, maybe the highest and the lowest. It quiet in that locker room, much different from a few nights ago and, yeah, in some ways it will be good for our team to feel what that’s like and for all of our players to understand that it’s not just about showing up because you’re Toronto FC, and it comes easy, just because.  

Look, when you look at the game, I think the starting point is we just finished second all day long. Start with the coaching, the tools, tackles, coming in second all day long. You know, in moments we look like we are out here for a pass, right, just not good enough. And when you’re not good enough against a team that can hurt you in transition, that’s what it looks like, right. We knew that. We knew that no matter which structure we played, transition would be their thing and with some speed and we played into their hands. I think you could see that in three of the goals, you know, its transition moments, some bad giveaways, losing the race down the field and the set piece. We clawed our way back in, 2-1, made a push and fell short. But on the day, not good enough.  

Q. We know you don’t like to make excuses, but do you think fatigue came into play at all in the match, how you played on we had night, hot again, that kind of thing?  

No. I think we just weren’t ready for the match. We’re not ready for the match. We knew that we could push guys certain minutes, we knew we had reserves, we could go to them quicker, but on nights like this or days like this, what was stalked about is — is although we can play with 90 minutes intensity physically, that we have the intensity in our minds. The times we can be intense physically, we do it and other moments, with the ball, without the ball, we can have recharging periods and still the intensity at our minds could be at a high level.  

So, no, I’m sure, I’m sure Montréal was tired, too, today, in moments. We’re not accepting that as the reason.  

Q. What did Montréal do right, do you think? How did they sort of get at it today and sort of make life difficult for you guys?  

I think they took their chances well. I think they were dangerous in transition. They forced some mistakes and with the ball they moved us around a bit and we chased too many back passes which is something that as we grow as a team and we want to be a pressing team, we have resetting moments and moments where it’s not time to go. 

But they opened us up at times and we expended a lot of energy chasing in moment that is we shouldn’t have and overall, they executed without the ball and with the ball especially in transition. 

Q. Tough matchup, but is there any silver lining you can take from a loss like this? 

There’s always information. That’s the silver lining, you find out where we’re at, and you know, on our way to becoming a great team. We’re on our way to understand days like, this how to show up and as you are fatigued and like that, all the things that become important against a team like that, right.  

It’s a derby match. It’s opening day. We understood where they could be dangerous, and yeah, we gathered information. It’s especially valuable for young players that are out there to understand these types of games, right. When things are tougher or different types of stock positions.  

So, there’s certainly value, and I think on the inside, that I think the silver lining may be as a coach and even for a team, as we see Ayo stick to it. We had a play early on that gets away from him but he’s the one sliding and running back 60, 70 yards to put out a fire, Omar Gonzalez, Michael, still pushing late.  

So, we are a team that understands we don’t get too high, and we don’t get too hoe. One thing for sure, we don’t give in. We don’t quit. We don’t give in and the third goal is there, and we had a couple of big chances, and it could have got interesting on a day when our good stuff didn’t show up. But we don’t quit. We learned that today for sure.  

Q. A couple of valuable minutes at the end for Jahkeele, picks up his first assist. Maybe did he do enough to warrant some more minutes from you next time and what did you see from the young man? 

We saw today and what we’ve seen in training, he’s clever and tidy and in interior spots, he’s very shifty and elegant with the ball. He helped build some promising attacks, and yeah, I thought it was important to get him out there and not just for the experience.  

I know I wasn’t the only crazy one thinking we are going to score the first one and next ones are going to follow. I think he had a good relationship with Richie out there, and with Richie overlapping, he had some really good moments.  

But Jahkeele, he’s shown some good moments in training. He earned those minutes today.  

Q. You’re missing some important pieces like Pozuelo, Mavinga, Altidore. Will you have them back for the next game? 

It looks like we’ll have a few of our reinforcements, if you will, back for the next game. And that will be good for those players, good for our team, and each day, it seems like every few days we are getting healthier, we’re getting stronger, yeah. We’ll get back to full strength real soon.  

Q. Luke Singh, big occasion for him, especially coming off the Champions League sort of on display in mid-week in his MLS debut tonight. What did you make of his performance overall? Are there still learnings there and growth to be made? 

I think we know, yeah, there’s so much — our veteran players will still learn and grow. Imagine a player like Luke, we’ve thrown a lot at him. We discussed not starting him today because it could be a lot for a young player early on, but we wanted to expose him to this type of game, and he held up in many ways, he did. It’s just a big challenge on the day as we had to put out a lot of fires in transition. So, with two strikers, with good moments, with quickness that he’s dealing with all year long, I think he’s growing quickly.  

So, it’s a couple of really difficult games, you know, that he’s had to face, but I think it will pay dividends for him moving forward.  

Q. Three different games in short order, a lot of valuable information for you to go over. What do you do with that as you look ahead to the next match? 

Like always, this is when we played a USL team in preseason, and now that we play our opener and even Leon, we look hard at ourselves. We look at video. We just assess individual performances, collective performances, keep implementing. It’s still early for us. It’s still early for us. We need time to all get on the same page and understand what it takes to be a team, what it takes to play a certain way, to understand all the details and nuances of when you have the ball and you don’t, when you lose the ball, when you win it, yeah, so what does the next week look like, we get home, we take some rest, it’s been a tough stretch, we take some rest and we look hard and we put it right back to work. That’s what this team is about. When we get right back to work in a real way, and it requires taking a hard look.  

But that one’s passed us. It’s passed us. We’ll be looking forward after a few days of rest.  

MICHAEL BRADLEY – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC 

Q. Obviously a tough day, tough result. Wanted to get your thoughts on the performance, what you thought of the effort from the team.  

Yeah, I mean, look, it’s a frustrating day. We never really gave ourselves a chance with the way we started the game. I mean, obviously we spoke a lot before the game about understanding that — we knew we would be playing a team that’s motivated for their first game this season. Obviously, the fact that we have played two Champions League games means that, yeah, in some ways, we have a little bit of match rhythm under our belt. But that doesn’t count for something when the whistle blows today.  

Like I said, it’s a frustrating day because for me, you know, we never really gave ourselves a chance in the game, and on a day like this, you know, with all the — with all the factors that go into it where, you know, you find yourselves behind 1-0, a hundred seconds into the game and from there, you’re chasing.  

Q. I’m not sure any of those four goals — happy to be conceded. If you could sum up what went wrong in general? 

Oh, we are not happy to concede any goals. So obviously, yeah, the frustration to give away four is big. Yeah, obviously, it’s nothing new but you have to understand that when you play teams on certain days, they are going to be looking to take advantage of the fact that we want to play in their half and we want to be aggressive in how we play and also how we — how we, you know, close down our ability to be good with the ball and to not — to not give battles away. But then our ability to be — our ability to put out fires and our ability to react and counter press quickly, all these things get put under the microscope. Obviously on a day like today, we are just not good enough. That’s as simple a way to say it as there is.  

Q. A lot has been thrown at Luke Singh in the last couple of weeks. What can you say about the young man and how he’s risen to the challenge? 

He’s done really well, really well. They have all continued to grow. They continue to come in every day with the right mentality. They continue to push themselves and listen. Yeah, listen to the — listen to the coaching staff, listen to their teammates. They have personality, they are not afraid and so I think they have all taken big steps forward in the last, you know — in the last few weeks, but really, the entire preseason and many of them going into the end of last season.  

So you know, we are going to continue to push these guys and move them forward, and obviously Luke has done a really good job in the last few days being ready when he was called on, you know, and now for all of them, it’s continuing to use the experiences in training, in games and continue to push themselves forward.  

But we are really, really happy.  

Q. Jahkeele picks up his first assist as a professional if I’m not mistaken tonight on Richie’s late goal there. As a player who has been linked with some pretty big name clubs, what’s your message to a guy like that and what have you seen from him in this preseason? 

Well, continuing with what I just said, all of these guys are doing a really good job. They have to just continue to come every day ready to work, ready to — ready to commit to what we are doing, enjoy the — enjoy the part about just being ready to go for it every single day. You know, to push themselves with how they train, to listen, to take in information, to not be afraid when they get their chances to show their personality.  

So, you know, whether it’s Jahkeele or Ralph or Noble, Luke, Jacob, Liam, go down the line, the message and encouragement for all of them is the same in that regard.  

Q. An off-field question if I may. As you know, things are not going very well up here with COVID-19. I’m wondering if you’ve been able to get your family down to Florida, and if more of your teammates are looking to bring their loved ones down given what’s happening north of the border? 

Yes, my family got down two days ago as I mentioned. Everybody’s plan was slightly different. Had schools stayed open and had things been relatively normal there, the idea for my wife and kids was to be around there and to, you know, let the kids enjoy being in school every day, be with their friends, activities.  

But obviously with the way things have played out over the last few weeks, we wanted to just, you know, use the opportunity to be together as a family again. So they were able to get down in the last day or two. And I think, again, everybody’s situation is slightly different, but you know, when all said and done, I think a good number of guys will try to get their families down here at one point or another.  

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

TORONTO FC 2, CLUB LEON 1

TORONTO FC (2) – CLUB LEÓN (1) POST GAME SUMMARY

2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 – Second Leg

SCORING SUMMARY

TFC – Patrick Mullins 55’ (Jacob Shaffelburg)

TFC – Justin Morrow 71’

LEO – Fernando Navarro 80’ (Yairo Moreno)

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

TFC – Marky Delgado 44’ (caution)

LEO – Yairo Moreno 70’ (caution)

TFC – Richie Laryea 72’ (caution)

TFC – Ralph Priso 74’ (caution)

AGGREGATE

CLUBFIRST LEGSECOND LEGTOTAL
TORONTO FC123
CLUB LEÓN112


MEDIA NOTES:

  • Luke Singh made his first start for Toronto FC.
  • Jordan Perruzza made his Toronto FC debut.
  • Dating back to the 2018 tournament, TFC have now eliminated three of the last four Liga MX teams they have met in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
  • Toronto FC advance to the quarterfinals of the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League where the team will face Mexican side Cruz Azul over two legs.

LINEUPS

TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Richie Laryea, Omar González, Luke Singh, Auro Jr.; Michael Bradley (C), Ralph Priso (Griffin Dorsey 76’), Marky Delgado, Noble Okello (Justin Morrow 66’), Jacob Shaffelburg (Nick DeLeon 60’); Patrick Mullins (Jordan Perruzza 60’)
Substitutes Not Used: Quentin Westberg, Liam Fraser, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty

CLUB LEÓN – Rodolfo Cota; José Ramírez, Jaine Barreiro, Osvaldo Rodríguez (Yairo Moreno HT), William Tesillo; Santiago Colombatto (Nicolás Sosa 76’), Fernando Navarro, Jean Meneses; Ángel Mena (Jesús Godínez 75’), Víctor Dávila (Emmanuel Gigliotti HT), Luis Montes (C)
Substitutes Not Used: Alfonso Blanco, Andrés Mosquera, Fernando González

CHRIS ARMAS – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC

Q. A famous victory given the circumstances. Can you give us your thoughts on your team’s play tonight, and I know it’s a small sample size, but what do you think this bodes for the rest of the season, given the performance?

Well, the locker room right now is electric because there’s a lot of belief that the players gain from experiences like that. If you were inside of the locker room, you’d see all the veteran players, Pozuelo, Jozy, rallying around the young guys that stepped up in a big way tonight.

Listen, how it bodes for the rest of the year, I can only say what I have said, that there’s a togetherness, there’s a playing style that players are sticking to, that they’re believing in, they’re experiencing some success, and I think it’s empowering that we can be dangerous when we have the ball and when we don’t have the ball.

Obviously, we’re just getting started, but there’s also a no-excuse mentality in that locker room. It would have been easy to go to México and start making excuses about this, that and the other, but just really proud of the team tonight and to be part of this organization, and yeah, what an effort tonight. Whether we took it to them, what an effort.

Q. Big performance from a lot of players for you guys tonight. Alex Bono was a guy that didn’t see a ton of minutes last year. What did you see from him, and in particular that big save late?

Well, I think it was clear. He made some big saves, took care of all the moments he should have taken care of, and then makes a couple of big ones. But he looked really sure of himself in distribution, in crosses and all the handling. Just a real mature, solid performance, and you love when your goalkeeper can help the team and reward himself with some really big saves late. He was a big presence in there, did a nice job. I’m happy for him.

Q. Playing competitive matches as opposed to preseason friendlies is obviously going to the team in much better shape, playing meaningful games. Do you feel this is going to give you a little competitive advantage now at the start of the season? I guess you won’t know until you hit the pitch, but is that what you’re thinking just from what you’ve seen from the guys, that they’re a different level from what some of the other teams might be?

Yeah, I think it’s a good question, but you think about having to prepare for these types of matches early on, there’s positives and negatives, right? We’re forced to push the envelope, right? We’re representing Canada in this tournament. We have that privilege, and we have to go to México with difficult circumstances. There’re certain things that are working against us.

But as we’ve tried to push the intensity of training each day and each week, we’ve had some injuries along the way, right, so it just — as much as you get this playoff-type mentality early on, which is a big plus, we’ve taken some hits, too, along the way. But we’ve made no qualms about we’re going after it, so we were going to push. I think we prepared the team, and the guys deserve that credit. What an effort.

But yes, either way, we internally, from Bill Manning, Ali Curtis, we said we’re going to go after this tournament, but as the head coach I’m in on that and driving that messaging and pushing it every day, I was expecting momentum after this, win, lose, the momentum that would carry into the MLS season, especially getting young players valuable minutes, this is going to help us moving forward.

PATRICK MULLINS – FORWARD, TORONTO FC

Q. Big win for the side tonight. Can you take us through your thoughts on the match and what the emotions of the celebration we got a little glimpse of there? How are you feeling?

Sure, yeah, we left León last week, and I think that’s when this match started up. It was halftime, and we had an amazing week of preparation where we really focused on us and how we could be dangerous. I think we also wanted to be really tough to play against, and I think that’s what we saw tonight.

We came out in the first half against a team that we knew was talented and created chances, and we wanted to really put them under pressure and do that in a synchronized way where we’re all together and causing turnovers and trying to be dangerous once we do get the possession level.

I think you saw that throughout the first half and I think even into the second half it became even more difficult for them to deal with and dangerous, which you saw how it led up to our goals.

My goal, just — things happened very quickly in that goal. Jacob is a player who I feel like we’ve trained similar movements like that all the time off of starting attacks, and then once the ball was in the net, a lot of things hit me. But then I heard Michael come over and say, “That’s for the Mullins family.” Then things really came down to earth to me. I had lost my grandmother this past week, so I had very much had a heavy heart in this game, and I think the team supported me so much through that loss of my family.

Once again, in that moment, in that goal, in a big game, that meant a lot to me, and then just to see how we continued on the last 20 to 25 minutes, even when it got close there at the end, I think once again, it just shows where our group is at now and kind of a little taste of what we can do when we put it all together and as we move forward now with the MLS season starting this weekend, and now of course we’ll be into the next round here.

Q. A lot of the young players, the young talent really put their hand up tonight and also in León last week. Can you just tell us a little bit about what you saw from these youngsters the last two games?

I saw a group of players that not only stepped up in this moment, they embraced it. They shined in that moment.

We’ve been seeing their qualities ever since they’ve been with us in training in this preseason, and I think we all had belief in what we could do as a group when they were all on the pitch, so we saw what Ralph does tonight and covering ground and turning balls over and being kind of the start of our attacks, and then Luke Singh anchoring us down in the back, making plays, blocking crosses. I already talked about Jacob Shaffelburg, some of the success he has, and Noble, when he’s on the ball and he’s getting touches, I think it excites our team.

So I think we saw in their performances from the guys who started and the guys who came in, too, that we have quality players, and I think we have hungry players that are just wanting to get started and keep showing what they can do on these types of stages.

Q. Sort of building off what you said there about Luke Singh, can you take us into the locker room before the match? Was there any sort of advice anyone was giving him, and how commendable was his story tonight making his first career start?

Well, we were all just so happy for him because, as I said before, we had been seeing these types of levels that he’s been hitting in training, and I think we all had a lot of belief in him to step up into the lineup tonight. I think he started the game well, and that continued on throughout the rest of the night.

Everything that I saw from him in the buildup to this game I think is a great credit to him to be ready for his moment and to take it, and he absolutely did. I think everyone was just so happy to congratulate him on his first start, and obviously he made the appearance last week in León. It must be an amazing feeling for him tonight.

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

CLUB LEÓN 1 – TORONTO FC 1 POST GAME SUMMARY

2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 – First Leg 

SCORING SUMMARY 

LEO – Fernando Navarro 25’ (Jean Meneses) 

TFC – Andrés Mosquera 51’ (OG)  

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY 

TFC – Richie Laryea 53’ (caution) 

LEO – Santiago Colombatto 56’ (caution) 

TFC – Michael Bradley 61’ (caution) 

LEO – José Ramírez 78’ (caution) 

LEO – Jaine Barreiro 78’ (caution) 

LEO – Fernando Navarro 90’+5 (caution) 

AGGREGATE 

CLUB FIRST LEG SECOND LEG TOTAL 
CLUB LEÓN April 14 TBD 
TORONTO FC 

LINEUPS 

TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Richie Laryea, Omar González, Eriq Zavaleta, Auro Jr.; Ralph Priso (Patrick Mullins 64’), Michael Bradley (C), Marky Delgado, Noble Okello (Erickson Gallardo HT; Griffin Dorsey 75’), Jacob Shaffelburg (Luke Singh 87’); Jozy Altidore (Liam Fraser 75’) 

Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Silva, Jordan Perruzza 

CLUB LEÓN – Rodolfo Cota; José Ramírez, Jaine Barreiro, Andrés Mosquera (Yairo Moreno 64’), William Tesillo; Santiago Colombatto (Jesús Godínez 90’+1), Fernando Navarro (C), Jean Meneses; Ángel Mena, Víctor Dávila (Emanuel Gigliotti 63’), Joel Campbell 

Substitutes Not Used: Alfonso Blanco, Pedro Hernández, Osvaldo Rodríguez, Fernando González  

MEDIA NOTES: 

  • Andrés Mosquera’s own goal marks Toronto FC’s first goal in competitive action under head coach Chris Armas. 
  • Luke Singh made his Toronto FC debut. 
  • Toronto FC have now gone unbeaten (1 win, 2 draws) in their last three Concacaf Champions League games played on Mexican soil dating back to 2018. 

CLUB LEÓN (1) – TORONTO FC (1) POST GAME SUMMARY 

2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 – First Leg 

SCORING SUMMARY 

LEO – Fernando Navarro 25’ (Jean Meneses) 

TFC – Andrés Mosquera 51’ (OG)  

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY 

TFC – Richie Laryea 53’ (caution) 

LEO – Santiago Colombatto 56’ (caution) 

TFC – Michael Bradley 61’ (caution) 

LEO – José Ramírez 78’ (caution) 

LEO – Jaine Barreiro 78’ (caution) 

LEO – Fernando Navarro 90’+5 (caution) 

AGGREGATE 

CLUB FIRST LEG SECOND LEG TOTAL 
CLUB LEÓN April 14 TBD 
TORONTO FC 

LINEUPS 

TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Richie Laryea, Omar González, Eriq Zavaleta, Auro Jr.; Ralph Priso (Patrick Mullins 64’), Michael Bradley (C), Marky Delgado, Noble Okello (Erickson Gallardo HT; Griffin Dorsey 75’), Jacob Shaffelburg (Luke Singh 87’); Jozy Altidore (Liam Fraser 75’) 

Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Silva, Jordan Perruzza 

CLUB LEÓN – Rodolfo Cota; José Ramírez, Jaine Barreiro, Andrés Mosquera (Yairo Moreno 64’), William Tesillo; Santiago Colombatto (Jesús Godínez 90’+1), Fernando Navarro (C), Jean Meneses; Ángel Mena, Víctor Dávila (Emanuel Gigliotti 63’), Joel Campbell 

Substitutes Not Used: Alfonso Blanco, Pedro Hernández, Osvaldo Rodríguez, Fernando González  

MEDIA NOTES: 

  • Andrés Mosquera’s own goal marks Toronto FC’s first goal in competitive action under head coach Chris Armas. 
  • Luke Singh made his Toronto FC debut. 
  • Toronto FC have gone unbeaten (1 win, 2 draws) in their last three Concacaf Champions League games played on Mexican soil dating to 2018. 

TFC OPENS SEASON ON APRIL 17

TORONTO FC ANNOUNCE 2021 MLS REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

            Toronto FC’s complete 2021 Major League Soccer regular season schedule was released Wednesday by MLS ahead of the upcoming season.

           The Reds will open the 15th season in club history on Saturday, April 17 at 2:00 p.m. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as the away team in a match against 401 Derby rivals Club de Foot Montreal. TFC will play what will be considered their first home match a week later at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, when they play Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 3:00 p.m.

During the 2021 season, Toronto FC is slated to play 34 regular season matches, with 19 on Saturdays, eight on Wednesdays, one on Friday and four on Sunday. All of Toronto FC’s regular season MLS matches will be televised across Canada on TSN. Additionally, four Saturday afternoon matches will be televised nationally by CTV.

As the MLS season begins, the league’s three Canadian teams will begin play in surrogate cities in the United States, with Toronto playing its home matches in Florida. Venues for home matches are subject to change, based on the Covid-19 situation in Canada and the US. 

For the complete 2020 MLS Regular Season schedule visit mlssoccer.com.

DATEOPPONENTVENUETIME (ET)BROADCAST
Saturday, April 17 Club de Foot MontrealFort Lauderdale2:00 PMTSN, CTV, TVA, TVAS
Saturday, April 24 Vancouver WhitecapsOrlando3:00 PMTSN, CTV 
Saturday, May 8 New York Red BullsRBNY1:00 PMTSN
Wednesday, May 12Columbus Crew SCOrlando7:00 PMTSN
Saturday, May 15 New York City FCNew York1:00 PMTSN, CTV
Saturday, May 22 Orlando CityOrlando7:00 PMTSN
Saturday, May 29 Columbus Crew SCColumbus3:00 PMTSN, CTV
Saturday, June 19 Orlando CityTBD7:30 PMTSN
Wednesday, June 23 Nashville SCNashville8:30 PMTSN
Saturday, June 26 FC CincinnatiTBD7:00 PMTSN
Saturday, July 3D.C. UnitedDC5:30 PMTSN
Wednesday, July 7 New England RevolutionNew England7:00 PMTSN
Saturday, July 17 Orlando CityTBD7:30 PMTSN
Wednesday, July 21 New York Red BullsTBD7:30 PMTSN
Saturday, July 24 Chicago Fire FCChicago8:00 PMTSN
Sunday, August 1 Nashville SCTBD7:30 PMTSN
Wednesday, August 4 Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia7:30 PMTSN
Saturday, August 7 New York City FCTBD8:00 PMTSN
Saturday, August 14 New England RevolutionTBD8:00 PMTSN
Wednesday, August 18 Atlanta United FCAtlanta7:00 PMTSN
Saturday, August 21 Inter Miami FCMiamiTBDTSN
Friday, August 27 Club de Foot MontrealTBD7:30 PMTSN, TVAS
Saturday, September 11 FC CincinnatiCincinnati8:00 PMTSN
Tuesday, September 14 Inter Miami FCTBD7:30 PMTSN
Saturday, September 18 Nashville SCTBD7:30 PMTSN
Saturday, September 25 Colorado RapidsColorado8:00 PMTSN
Wednesday, September 29 FC CincinnatiTBD7:00 PMTSN
Sunday, October 3 Chicago Fire FCTBD4:00 PMTSN
Saturday, October 16 Atlanta United FCTBD7:30 PMTSN
Wednesday, October 20 Inter Miami FCMiamiTBDTSN
Saturday, October 23 Club de Foot MontrealTBDTBDTSN, TVAS
Wednesday, October 27 Philadelphia UnionTBD7:30 PMTSN
Saturday, October 30 Atlanta United FCAtlanta6:00 PMTSN
Sunday, November 7 D.C. UnitedTBD3:30 PMTSN

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

MLSE signs Manning to extension

MLSE SIGNS BILL MANNING TO EXTENSION AS PRESIDENT OF TORONTO FC AND TORONTO ARGONAUTS

Manning to lead TFC and Argos through 2025 MLS and CFL seasons

Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) announced today that Bill Manning, President of Toronto FC and the Toronto Argonauts, has been signed to a five-year extension through the 2025 Major League Soccer and Canadian Football League seasons.

“MLSE’s ownership is extremely proud of the strength of the organization’s leadership at all levels, but that is especially true within our teams where we have some of the strongest leaders in our respective leagues,” said Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman of MLSE. “Bill has brought invaluable experience to MLSE as President of TFC and the Argos, but more importantly, he has had an important hand in creating a company culture focused on winning and giving back to our community.”

“MLSE’s teams have important voices in each of their respective leagues and an important voice in our organization as we work together to deliver championships to our city and our fans,” said Michael Friisdahl, President & CEO of MLSE. “As President of Toronto FC and the Argonauts, Bill’s wealth of experience and many accomplishments have helped shape our leagues for the better and his impact within our company is just as important. Both teams are well positioned for the future and we look forward to continued success for TFC and the Argos under Bill’s leadership.”

A 55-year old native of Massapequa, New York, Manning first joined MLSE in October 2015. Since then, TFC have advanced to three MLS Cups (2016, 2017 and 2019) while winning the MLS Cup and the Supporters’ Shield in 2017 and winning three consecutive Canadian Championships (2016, 2017 and 2018). In January 2018, Manning also later added the responsibilities of President of the Toronto Argonauts when the Canadian Football League franchise was acquired by MLSE.

“When I joined MLSE six years ago as TFC President, I stressed the importance of stability and continuity to achieve our goal of a championship, and we achieved that goal in 2017,” said Manning. “Today I am thankful to MLSE and our ownership group for their belief in me and I am so appreciative of all the talented staff members and great players who have worked with me here in Toronto. We will continue to fill the TFC trophy case, and I look forward to lifting the Grey Cup soon with Michael Clemons and Ryan Dinwiddie. I’m grateful to the fans of both TFC and the Argos for welcoming me and my family to this special city and for all of their support.”

Manning, a two-time MLS Executive of the Year, is one of the most successful executives in MLS history. His teams have achieved great success over the past dozen years, first as President of Real Salt Lake and now with Toronto FC. Manning’s teams have raised the MLS Cup twice, with RSL winning in 2009 and TFC winning in 2017, to go along with TFC’s Supporters’ Shield that season.  During his time with RSL and TFC, his teams have advanced to two Concacaf  Champions League Finals (2011, 2018), five MLS Cups (2009, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019) and seven MLS Conference Finals (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019) plus three Canadian Championships (2016, 2017, 2018) and a U.S. Open Cup Finals (2013).  

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

TFC SIGNS GM CURTIS TO EXTENSION

GENERAL MANAGER ALI CURTIS SIGNED TO CONTRACT EXTENSION

Toronto FC announced today that general manager Ali Curtis has been signed to a multi-year contract extension.

“We are thrilled to have Ali signed to a new contract,” said Toronto FC President Bill Manning. “I’m a big believer in stability and Ali has proved during his two seasons with the club that he’s a talented executive and a tireless worker. We have a great working relationship and I look forward to continuing our work to improve TFC in every way.”

During Curtis’ two seasons with TFC, the club has won an Eastern Conference title (2019) and finished second in the Supporters’ Shield race (2020). Included in his body of work, Curtis was instrumental in the signing of Designated Player Alejandro Pozuelo, the 2020 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player, and has overseen the signing of numerous TFC Academy players to first team contracts. He has also been a leading voice within Major League Soccer in its efforts towards greater diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“I am happy about extending my contract with Toronto FC,” Curtis said. “It’s a great club that resides in an incredible community. I am both honoured and appreciative of the support from ownership and MLSE Leadership and I can’t thank Bill Manning enough for his belief in me. I am excited about all of the work we have in front of us, in order to achieve our collective goals.”

Curtis joined Toronto FC after serving as sporting director for the New York Red Bulls. During his time with the Red Bulls, he oversaw the club win the 2015 MLS Supporters’ Shield and finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference in 2016. Curtis also helped establish NYRB II the club’s USL team to continue the development of players from the academy through to the first team. In the club’s second season, NYRB II captured both the Regular Season Title and the 2016 USL Cup.

Prior to joining the Red Bulls, Curtis worked in the MLS league office for eight years and held the position of senior director of player relations and competition. From 2004 to 2007, Curtis worked for JP Morgan as an analyst in its Chicago and Los Angeles offices. As a player, Curtis was awarded the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy as the top male collegiate soccer player in the United States in 1999. He also won the M.A.C. Player of the Year in 2000 and remains Duke University’s all-time leader in goals scored with 53. Curtis was drafted second overall in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft, where he played for the Tampa Bay Mutiny, D.C. United and Dallas through 2004.

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-