TORONTO FC AND STATE OF CONNECTICUT SET TO WELCOME FANS AT NOVEMBER 1 GAME Toronto FC and the State of Connecticut announced today that fans will be able to purchase tickets for Toronto FC’s last regular season home game at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field on Sunday, November 1 against Inter Miami CF.
“We look forward to having some fans in the stands for our final regular season game in East Hartford,” said Toronto FC President Bill Manning. “Toronto FC is so grateful to the state of Connecticut and everyone at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field for providing us with such an outstanding facility during this unique stretch of games. Our players feel the support already and having some fans will make it even better.”
The attendance will be capped at 5,000 with two prices points in the 38,000 seat stadium. Select seating will be available in both the lower and upper bowls of the stadium. All patrons in attendance will be required to wear a mask or face covering and adhere to social distancing within the stadium.
“We’ve consulted with state and local public health officials and as long as certain health protocols are met, we believe that having a limited audience can safely be done, especially considering that this is an outdoor stadium,” Governor of Connecticut Ned Lamont said. “I look forward to the day when we can fill the Rent back up to capacity. I appreciate Toronto FC and Major League Soccer for working with our administration so that we could make this happen.”
Toronto FC currently sit atop the standings for both the Supporters’ Shield and Eastern Conference with a record of 11-2-5 and 38 points from 18 matches. The Reds have five matches remaining in the regular season. TFC host Atlanta United FC on Sunday, October 18 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. The Reds will then travel to Philadelphia to meet the Union on Saturday, October 24, followed by home matches with New York City FC on Wednesday, October 28 and Inter Miami CF on Sunday, November 1. TFC will conclude the regular season on Sunday, November 8 at Red Bull Arena against the Red Bulls in MLS Decision Day.
TORONTO FC (1) – NEW YORK RED BULLS (1) POST MATCH SUMMARY
TFC – Alejandro Pozuelo 23’ (PK)
NYR – Caden Clark 77’ (Marc Rzatkowski)
NYR – Dru Yearwood 22’ (caution)
NYR – Marc Rzatkowski 52’ (caution
TFC – Pablo Piatti 53’ (caution)
TFC – Ayo Akinola 60’ (caution)
NYR – Amro Tarek 71’ (caution)
TORONTO FC: 11-2-5 38 PTS.
NEW YORK RED BULLS: 7-8-3 24 PTS.
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr., Omar Gonzalez, Chris Mavinga, Richie Laryea; Jonathan Osorio (C), Marky Delgado, Nick DeLeon (Patrick Mullins 82’), Pablo Piatti (Tsubasa Endoh 67’), Alejandro Pozuelo, Ayo Akinola
Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Silva, Laurent Ciman, Tony Gallacher, Erickson Gallardo, Liam Fraser, Ralph Priso, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty
NY RED BULLS – Ryan Meara; Kyle Duncan, Tim Parker, Amro Tarek, Jason Pendant; Jared Stroud (Caden Clark 59’), Dru Yearwood, Florian Valot, Marc Rzatkowski (Sean Davis 82’); Brian White (Daniel Royer 59’), Tom Barlow (Samuel Tetteh 68’)
Substitutes Not Used: David Jensen, Mandela Egbo, Aaron Long, Sean Nealis, Mathias Jorgensen
GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
On the Red Bulls goal, it’s a spectacular strike, but could your players have done a better job of nipping that play in the bud?
“Yeah possibly, I mean I would like to get pressure to the ball. When you play the Red Bulls it’s all about where you lose the ball and we lost the ball in our half of the field, which turns into a little bit of a quick counter where we have to reorganize and figure out how to get pressure to the ball. I have to see it again to see who should have stepped, and what happened but…it’s a great strike too. So, you have to give credit for that. But we should have gotten out of that transition and not lost the ball in the position that we did and then we put ourselves into a defending scenario in transition and we didn’t get pressure to the ball. So now, having said that, we had more than enough chances in the game … especially leading up to that point … that it would’ve been nice to pick up the second one. I think that would have iced it for us. But I’m proud of the guys to put in a shift today because this is a game on three days rest and the fourth one in a series of five here and the guys battled. No matter what Red Bulls team, they’re always gonna be chaotic. They’re just launching the ball up the field. You have to win first balls and second balls. If you try to get pressure to the ball then they’re gonna try to play through, over the top and pick up second balls so it’s always going to be a little bit funky and tonight we lost a few too many balls in our half of the field that we don’t like to lose. A couple guys taking too many touches and getting caught in possession that led to transitions. But having said all that, we had four quality chances to get ahold of the game on the second goal and just weren’t able to put it away.”
Given the schedule did you expect this game to be a grind?
“I was concerned about this game. We’ve been on a great run. They’re a team coming off of one day extra of rest. There were a number of other things that concerned me a little bit about this game, as it being one where we really needed to try to get on the other side of it in a positive way. Every point matters, so I’m not going say anything bad about us being able to take a point away tonight, which is a good thing. Now, we get the extra day of recovery and as we go into the final game of the stretch, we’ll get guys turned around and a group ready to compete again on Sunday. So, every point matters. So that’s critical. Our guys are disappointed because they want to win every game and we had the chances to win the game. That’s the way we look at it but we’re going to regroup. We will be ready to go for the next one against Atlanta.”
You’ve been able to win a lot of 1-0 games, but does that become tough to do repeatedly?
“Yeah, for sure. I would say especially against a team like the Red Bulls who are super opportunistic. That’s their whole game for ninety minutes, it is about being opportunistic. It’s about second balls, transitions, short possessions where they can win the ball in turnovers in the attacking half of the field. Or if they can clean up a second ball when they lump it up to the forwards, then they’re trying to play for direct off of that. And set pieces obviously. So, for them, those are the moments they play for. That’s the whole style. And so, they’re trying to create a little bit of chaos within the game and utilize those transitions and so that’s the team that you always want to put away when you have the opportunity. Because the game never looks as clean as you’d like it to, especially when you have guys with a little bit-tired legs and just are not as sharp, as clean as you would like them to be. For sure, you want to get the second one and you want to try to put the distance in between when you have those opportunities.”
QUENTIN WESTBERG – GOALKEEPER, TORONTO FC
Red Bulls goal was a terrific strike into the top corner, could anyone of stopped that?
“I wish I had. Sometimes you need to give the goal scorer credit for doing what he did, and I think that’s the case tonight. It looks like he turned in a very tight space and in a small pocket and he released a nice strike. I wish I made the save but sometimes you need to appreciate the game and goods goals being scored and I think tonight, this young guy had a banger, so congrats to him. It’s just unfortunate it happened against us but in the end, I love soccer, when I look back, I think it’s a beautiful goal.”
In a game where you made a number of good, key saves, do you let that goal linger in your mind or do you get on with it and take solace in the fact that you kept the team in the match?
“As soon as you take it, it’s part of the past. You maybe take 5-10 seconds to reassess to realize it, but it’s onto the next. I like to think my position in particular you need to be struck by amnesia a little bit. You need to forget on one hand the good saves but also the mistakes or goals taken, you need to concentrate on your task and do what’s necessary for the team and make good decisions. If you want to make good decisions, you need to have a clear mind so whether I take a goal or whether I make a save it’s all part of the past as soon as it’s done. Being as calm as possible, being as lucid as possible to make good decisions, to give good information and if you’re still under the emotion of this or that then maybe you’re taking away a little something that can create another chance for the opponent or that can create a little bit of frustration for your teammates or yourself. As soon as it hits the net it’s finished and it’s onto the next task.”
What were some factors that decided the game tonight?
“There are a few, but it was a particular style of play they have and we were well prepared, we knew they were going to come out hard or it was a possibility, which they did, they were very aggressive but they still left us with a few chances in transition, so it was a game of styles. For sure, we didn’t play our best football tonight, but we did alright adapting. We created chances without possession which is always a good sign but also it’s a little different for us to not have the ball that much and it was a challenge, it was a challenge for sure and you need to give the Red Bulls some credit for their mentality and their efforts. They created a lot of chaos and trouble for us but at the same time, playing the long game, I like our style of play better and we just need to be very well aware that whatever the conditions, whatever the press, whatever the team this is where we find refuge, our style of play, our possession based football, our position football needs to be established whatever the context.”
TORONTO FC CLINCHES SPOT IN 2020 AUDI MLS CUP PLAYOFFS Toronto FC has become the first team in Major League Soccer to clinch a playoff berth in the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, following tonight’s 1-0 victory over FC Cincinnati. This marks the club’s fifth playoff appearance in the past six seasons.
Toronto FC currently sit atop the standings for both the Supporters’ Shield and Eastern Conference with a record of 11-2-4 and 37 points from 17 matches. The Reds have six matches remaining in the regular season. Next week, TFC will host the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, October 14 and Atlanta United FC on Sunday, October 18 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. The Reds will then travel to Philadelphia to meet the Union, followed by home matches with New York City FC and Inter Miami CF, before concluding the regular season on Sunday, November 8 at Red Bull Arena against the Red Bulls in MLS Decision Day.
The 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs will consist of single-elimination matches following a bracket format with MLS Cup set for Saturday, December 12.
TORONTO FC (1) – NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (0) POST MATCH SUMMARY
TFC – Ayo Akinola 29’
NE – Tommy McNamara 40’ (caution)
NE – Henry Kessler 48’ (caution)
NE – Brandon Bye 63’ (caution)
TFC – Auro 71’ (caution)
TFC – Richie Laryea 84’ (caution)
NE – Teal Bunbury 90’+3 (caution)
Alex Bono made his 100th start, earned his club leading 50th win and set a new club record for clean sheets with 29 (all totals in all competitions)
Toronto FC recorded its first win in New England since August 4, 2013
TORONTO FC: 10-2-4 34 PTS.
NEW ENGLAND: 5-4-7 22 PTS.
TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Richie Laryea, Laurent Ciman, Chris Mavinga, Tony Gallacher (Auro 56’); Jonathan Osorio (C), Marky Delgado, Nick DeLeon (Liam Fraser 70’), Pablo Piatti (Omar Gonzalez 85’), Alejandro Pozuelo; Ayo Akinola (Patrick Mullins 86’)
Substitutes Not Used: Quentin Westberg, Eriq Zavaleta, Erickson Gallardo, Tsubasa Endoh, Jayden Nelson
NEW ENGLAND – Matt Turner; Brandon Bye (Kelyn Rowe 68’), Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler, DeJuan Jones (Alexander Buttner 80’); Scott Caldwell (C), Tommy McNamara, Tajon Buchanan, Lee Nguyen (Cristian Penilla 68’), Diego Fagundez (Teal Bunbury 80’); Adam Buksa
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton, Michael Mancienne, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Seth Sinovic, Kekuta Manneh
GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Three wins in a row and unbeaten in six, you must be feeling good about your squad?
“Yeah, tonight is a different kind of proud. This is a tough place to play. It hasn’t been friendly to us over the years. And this was a tough game. This was a scrap it out battle for every inch kind of game. You’ve got to protect your goal, protect your box. You’re fighting for space just to move the ball and you’re trying to break on the counter sometimes. A little different look, but I’m proud of the guys. They stood strong and resilient and we created some good chances in the transition. I know Ayo when he came off said, “I should have had three.” But that’s him being humble and being the kind of worker that we need at the top right now. The release that he was able to give us throughout the game when everybody else was working. You’ve got to win like this, especially in places like this and I thought it was an incredible effort.”
Can you talk about the job Richie Laryea did on the defensive side?
“This is a tough game for both fullbacks. They’re a team that really gets their fullbacks pushing high. If you don’t get a lot of pressure on the ball early, they get those fullbacks high and there are a lot of decisions to be made. You get put in a lot of one on one situations with the overloads they put on one side and Richie did a phenomenal job of making good decisions, which is showing more of his progression in the position. His ability to close down, get tight to guys and defend one on one, to stand guys up at the right times, I thought he had a very mature performance, and a different kind of performance. Usually, in games he impacts a lot more on the attacking side. Tonight, he showed that he continues to grow on the defensive side. I thought he was excellent.”
Was there a particular reason for Omar Gonzalez not starting?
“No, not really. Just a little bit of a rotation. We have to play these games back to back on turf. So, with that being said, I don’t really want to put any of these guys, if I don’t have to, two games in a row on turf, especially with the way these games are coming so fast. So, it’s more of a management choice. I thought Laurent stood strong tonight. He did a great job. He and Chris are a nice pair. They do well on the field. They have such a good relationship on and off the field that they did a nice job. We saw it in the playoffs. I have full confidence in those guys. That gave us a chance for Omar, who has played a ton of minutes through all of these stretches, to catch his breath tonight and it was nice for us to not have to put him on the turf two games in a row.”
Can you talk about Alex Bono and what kind of teammate he has been?
“Yeah, Alex came in the offseason. He went off and trained somewhere and he just gained some experience in that trial. He also gained some perspective. He came back talking about how happy he is to be here, and he saw things from a little different perspective. He just came back ready to work every single day. What I’ve seen is him get back that full level of confidence that he had, that certainty. He has belief, but I think now he’s confident and really believes that he is again back to where he was. I don’t need to document it, but he had a tough stretch, where everybody had a tough stretch in 2018. And I think over the course of this time and a bit at the end of last year, he’s really just found some peace and some confidence again, and assuredness. He looks solid back there. I know there were a couple of crosses he’d like to have back. That’s one of his bread and butter strengths and one of the reasons why we thought he would do great in this game, to help us snatch some of those crosses that were hanging up there. But he just looks really assured out there and he has three shutouts, and all three of them were great performances. He continues to compete. We’ve got two good goalkeepers right now. Two goalkeepers I believe are in form and we’re going to try to keep it that way and see where we go.”
ALEX BONO – GOALKEEPER, TORONTO FC
Every time you’ve been called on you’ve done the job, you haven’t let a goal in, how difficult has it been this season?
“Yeah, it’s obviously difficult but I just want to start off by thanking this organization. Thanking Toronto FC, thanking the front office and my coaches for allowing me to have the opportunity to play as many games for such an awesome club. This is all I know from a professional standpoint and I’ve learned so much here along the way. I’ve been here for six years now, if you told me that six years down the road I would have started 100 games when I first walked into the training facility, I probably would of thought you were crazy and I’m so honoured and I’m so blessed to be part of this organization and so grateful for the opportunity they’ve given me. 100 games is 100 games, whether you get it in three years, four years, six years, it’s 100 games and I’m obviously very proud and very honoured. It has been a different role for me and all I’ve been focusing on is going in day in and day out training as hard as I can, try to put myself in the best position that when I do get these opportunities that I take them with my full ability because I’ve lived it as much as anyone, you don’t know when the next one is going to come, so for me to be able to take them one at a time. I thought I was a little sloppy today but at the end of the day, it’s another shutout, that’s a full team shutout, full team effort and I’m really proud of the game today.”
What are your thoughts on passing Stefan Frei for most clean sheets in club history?
“I’ve played against him a few times and in the limited conversation, he seems like an awesome guy. He was obviously before my time here and he’s a fantastic goalkeeper, so I’m not going to speak to his tenure at Toronto FC. For me again, I’m just so incredibly honoured and grateful for the opportunities that have been put in front of me from the team and the organization and the coaching staff. I can’t say enough that it is the guys around me that make my job easy. You’ve seen these last few games that I’ve been playing have really been scrappy games, fights, dog fights from minute one to minute 90 and you can’t keep zeros on the board if all 11 guys aren’t on the same page, so I can say that for every single shutout that we’ve accumulated that I’ve been in net for. From that perspective, I’m not too focused on the individual records, I just want to play games and I want to have fun and I want to win, that’s all that matters to me. So as long as I get opportunities to do that, I’m a happy man.”
Greg said your training stint with a club in England left an impression with you, what impact did it have on you?
“Yeah definitely. The first day I went back in the training ground that I got back, I walked in the doors and said we’re so blessed to be part of this Toronto FC organization. The way that this club treats the players, the facilities that we have, all the people that surround us day in and day out all the resources we have as a club and as an organization are simply unmatched and that’s not just in North America. Granted, it was a Championship club that I was training at and they were fighting to stay in the Championship but it’s still a high level of soccer. For me to come back and walk back into our facilities and see the guys and girls that help us day in and day out from top to bottom it’s just a first-class organization and to be part of it I’m so incredibly honoured. I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it when I went to train, I learned a lot in the couple weeks I was there but at the end of the day I walked back in the training facility and said this is really really special. I hope that guys that have been other places that come here, obviously notice it. It’s the one thing I tell the young guys and the one thing that was told to me when I came in was listen it doesn’t get much better than this across the league and that really is the truth, you can’t say enough good things about this organization and the opportunities they provide for us.”
TORONTO FC (2) – PHILADELPHIA UNION (1) POST MATCH SUMMARY
PHI – Sergio Santos 5’
TFC – Ayo Akinola 58’ (Tony Gallacher)
TFC – Alejandra Pozuelo 76’ (Pablo Piatti)
PHI – Jose Martinez 83’ (caution)
TORONTO FC: 9-2-4 31 PTS.
PHILADELPHIA: 8-3-4 28 PTS.
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Richie Laryea, Omar Gonzalez, Chris Mavinga, Justin Morrow (Tony Gallacher 39’); Jonathan Osorio (C), Marky Delgado, Pablo Piatti (Tsubasa Endoh 86’), Alejandro Pozuelo; Ayo Akinola (Patrick Mullins 86’), Jozy Altidore (Nick DeLeon 53’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Laurent Ciman, Liam Fraser, Erickson Gallardo, Jayden Nelson
PHILADELPHIA – Andre Blake; Olivier Mbaizo, Jakob Glesnes, Mark McKenzie, Matt Real (Andrew Wooten 86’); Alejandro Bedoya (C), Jose Martinez, Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson (Anthony Fontana 66’); Sergio Santos (Ilsinho 71’), Kacper Przybylko
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Bendik, Aurelien Collin, Jack Elliott, Matej Oravec, Michee Ngalina
GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Third win over a tough Eastern opponent. Do you applaud your team for finding ways to win or do you think, ‘we’ve got to stop giving up the first goal to put us in a tough situation?
“Both. We do need to stop conceding the first goal. We need to start better. That’s one. But I do think that, by and large, in the last couple of games specifically, not so much in the New York game, we’re starting to control games. We controlled the game, we played the majority of it in the attacking half. We’ve had good possession, we’ve pinned the opposition back. The first half we didn’t create as many chances as I’d like for the amount of the ball that we had. So, we tried to adjust a little bit of our movements for the second half, to try to open up some spaces. I thought we got a little bit better at doing that and creating chances. But with the way the schedule is, with the way everything’s going, and good opponents and teams that specifically defend well like Columbus and Philadelphia, you have got to attack really well and you’ve got to really execute, because you’re probably not going to get as many chances as you get in some other games. And we executed in some moments today. So that’s really good, so you have to applaud the guys for finding ways. But to answer the first part of the question, we do need to stop playing from behind and stop giving up early goals. And they’re not even great goals, that’s the problem. They’re goals that one hundred percent need to be cleaned up.”
You take pride in being able to win in a variety of different ways with this group. How would you characterize this win, because it looked like there were a few themes on the night?
“Yeah, I think that there was some patience involved. Like I said, I felt like in the first half we controlled a lot of the possession, we played a lot of the game in their half of the field, that’s how I felt. But having said that, we didn’t create a lot of chances, a lot of great clear chances. But we are in good areas on the field. We had to manage the transition a few times and crosses things like that, we had to deal with it. Obviously, Q had to make an important save. Part of that was just in the transition, us getting a little bit pulled apart and them having too much space. But every now and then you’re going to give up a shot from distance and Q made an incredible save. But I thought we stayed patient in the idea that the chances and the goals were going to come if we just did the right things and made some adjustments in terms of how we were moving. The opportunities that we were looking for would come. But we had to also be solid defensively. They have two big forwards who are mobile, who are a handful to defend. And for a lot of the game, Aaronson, who plays underneath them, who is quick and shifty. And I thought we did a nice job of making it really difficult for him to impact the game. But those two forwards are handful, especially on balls that are served into the box. Or balls that are played out. But I thought we did a lot of things solid on the night. It’s the first game back after being away for eight days, and so we have to rebuild that rhythm. But it was a good start against a good team. Good start to the five-game stretch. Not a good start to the actual game itself.”
Can you give an update on Jozy and Justin?
“I don’t have great information yet. Jozy, it seems to be it looks like a minor hamstring issue. I don’t know how minor or not minor. He says that soreness is there. We’ll have to see. We don’t exactly what the time frame looks like until we get a scan and we get a sense of what it is. As far as Justin, it was more just calf tightness that started to build a little bit in the warmup. So, we were aware that he was feeling sort of the onset of it, but he felt like he could go, and he could give it a go. He wasn’t sure how long, or if it would continue to tighten. So, we were communicating because he was right in front of the bench, as things were going. He was going to go as long as he felt like he was in a safe zone but if it started to progress then we were going to get him off. So that kind of happens a little bit there before the end of the first half. But he thinks he’s fine. We will get him some treatment. We will try to loosen it up. We don’t think it’s anything specific. We think it might be just a byproduct of a change of surface, or something that’s maybe causing a little bit of that. So how it changes the rotation … obviously we’re down a forward if Jozy’s out for some period of time. That puts Pat back into the rotation. Maybe it brings, at times, Poz back into the middle. There’s plenty of things that we will do to adjust. We’ll miss Jozy because I really felt like he was starting to pick up his rhythm with everybody. I thought he was starting to move in a good way. He was maybe a little bit away from the goal through the course of the first half, but I think that was just a product that Poz was inside a lot so that Jozy was drifting a little bit wider and that was one of the things that we wanted to adjust a touch in the second half but it didn’t last too long for Jozy. So, we ended up moving Poz to the inside and bringing Nick to deal with the outside, and I think that opened up a few things for us.”
JONATHAN OSORIO – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC
Two wins against two top teams in the conference is Rentschler Field beginning to feel like home?
“Yeah, a little bit for sure. We’re doing our best to use it to our advantage and make it a home advantage and we’re trying to do that with the way we play here and getting two wins against two big opponents helps a lot. It helps for the confidence of the team to play on this field and we’re getting comfortable in playing in this environment. It’s not easy, of course we wish there was fans and it’s a much better atmosphere when there is and for our supporters and everything. It is what it is. We’ve been dealing with it for most of the year now, but these two wins definitely help get us more comfortable playing here at The Rent. It’s always nice to win.”
What does this team remind you of?
“I think a little bit of the 2017 team. We’re in a good rhythm right now, we’re playing really good football. I think we played well in the last game and a half against two really strong teams, two teams that are top of the league. I think this team is coming together now. We went through a little bit of a transition in the beginning of 2019. I still think that throughout the whole year we always had that quality it was just getting the system down, getting used to a little bit of a different system and players getting used to the philosophy that we play with here. Once that happened and everything started clicking and guys got healthy towards the end of last year that’s when you saw the quality that we had. Like you said, we were resilient, and I think we’ve brought that over to this year and you’ve seen over the last two games with the come from behind wins. But I think this year we’re dominating games in a better way, in the way we want to and we’re playing really positive football.”
ALEJANDRO POZUELO – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC
Another big game from you, is this best you’ve ever played?
“No, I don’t think so. I had a good period in another team, I know I feel good. The more important thing is the team. We play very good football, we started losing but we kept going and pushing and the three points is the most important.”
Do you set any type of goal to have an MVP caliber year?
“No, this is not my goal. My goal now in this moment is to be fit because we have a lot of games and the most important is not to be injured and try to play all the games possible and working for the team. This is my goal in this moment. If you’re thinking about the MVP (award) this is no good. Now in this moment we need to keep working for the team, we need to keep working in training and this is a good example for the young guys also.”
Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo was voted the MLS Player of the Month for the month of September of the 2020 MLS season.
The Spanish midfielder scored four goals and added two assists across six games in the month of September, leading TFC to wins over New York City FC and Columbus Crew SC. He has been involved in 15 TFC’s goals this season, registering six goals and nine assists. Earlier this season, he was named to the MLS Team of the Week for Weeks 1 and 2 during the MLS is Back Tournament, and Week 6 and 7. This season, Pozuelo has made 14 appearances, starting in all games.
Sunday night in East Hartford, Connecticut, Laryea earned two assists and scored TFC’s third goal to help lead The Reds to a 3-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC. This is Laryea’s first Player of the Week award. Earlier this season Laryea was named to the MLS Team of the Week for Week 2 during the MLS is Back Tournament. This season, Laryea has made 11 appearances and scored four goals with two assists for Toronto FC.
TORONTO FC (1) – NEW YORK CITY FC (0) POST MATCH SUMMARY
TFC – Alejandro Pozuelo 90’ (PK)
NYCFC – Alexander Callens 23’ (caution)
TFC – Pablo Piatti 25’ (caution)
NYCFC – Valentin Castellanos 36’ (caution)
TFC – Nick DeLeon 40’ (caution)
TFC – Jozy Altidore 56’ (caution)
TFC – Jayden Nelson 64’ (caution)
NYCFC – James Sands 72’ (caution)
NYCFC – Nicolas Acevedo 89’ (caution)
TORONTO FC: 7-2-4 25 PTS.
NEW YORK CITY FC: 5-6-2 17 PTS.
Chris Mavinga made his 100th appearance for Toronto FC tonight (all competitions), he becomes the 12th player in club history to make 100 appearances for TFC
Jozy Altidore made his 150th appearance for Toronto FC tonight (all competitions), he ranks 6th on the club’s all-time appearance list
With the clean sheet tonight, Alex Bono ties a club record with 28 clean sheets (all competitions)
Tony Gallacher made his Toronto FC and MLS debut in tonight’s match
TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Richie Laryea, Omar Gonzalez, Chris Mavinga, Tony Gallacher (Justin Morrow 61’); Jonathan Osorio (C), Nick DeLeon (Erickson Gallardo HT’), Pablo Piatti, Alejandro Pozuelo; Ayo Akinola (Patrick Mullins 87’), Jozy Altidore (Jayden Nelson 61’)
Substitutes Not Used: Quentin Westberg, Eriq Zavaleta, Laurent Ciman, Jacob Shaffelburg, Tsubasa Endoh
NEW YORK CITY FC – Sean Johnson; Anton Tinnerholm, Maxime Chanot, Alexander Callens, Gudmundur Thorarinsson (Ronald Matarrita 70’); James Sands, Keaton Parks, Jesus Medina (Alexandru Mitrita 70’), Valentin Castellanos (Heber 57’) (Nicolas Acevedo 88’), Alexander Ring (C); Gary Mackay-Steven (Ismael Tajouri-Shradi 70’)
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Stuver, Sebastien Ibeagha, Joe Scally, Tony Rocha
GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Was this a case of a good team winning on a night when it didn’t play its best?
“Yeah very much so. We had a bit of a makeshift group, a makeshift midfield. We tried something a little bit at first just to get … because we just don’t have many midfielders, to get a couple forwards on the field. The game just worked out that way. We just didn’t have much possession and because of that it wasn’t a good shape for us to defend in. So, we had to make some adjustments. Credit to the guys, because guys are playing roles that they don’t usually play. They are doing things defensively that they don’t necessarily always do. The guys, they just gutted it out, they grinded it and they did whatever they had to do. Bones made some big saves, and we had a few chances through the course of the game as well. Even though the game wasn’t perfect, for me, wins like tonight are sometimes more valuable than the wins you get when you play teams off the field. Just for our group, we know we have a group that can play good soccer and tonight is just a character win. I think the guys feel more proud of this win than sometimes, you know, the other wins when we play well. So, I’m really proud of that, just the effort and just a couple of adjustments which slowed them down on the attack in the second half, which gave us a little bit of a chance to recover from a first half that was quite wide open.
Did you have a hunch that Alex was the right man to play against NYCFC tonight? Was it his turn?
“I don’t know if it was his turn. It was something that we had kind of mapped out. We’re just getting these guys opportunities. We’ve got to get everybody games. This season has to be something where everybody is able to move forward. Bones been outstanding in training. He was very good in the game against New England when he played earlier in the year. So, you know he’s showing why he’s capable of playing. So, we’re going to keep getting him games in order to keep both of them ready to go at all times. And we’ve got to continue to build in our depth, so tonight we saw a few more guys that haven’t played in a little while. But they came on and helped contribute towards an important win. So, we’ve got to do that with the goalkeeper position. We’ve got to do that with other positions. We have to turn around in four days and we emptied the tank tonight for sure. And we’re going to turn around and do it again against another good team. So that’s just the nature of where we’re at right now and the way the league is setting up.”
How important was it, after the way the game ended the other night, for the group to get the late result today, and get the win? And then talk a little bit about Jayden’s performance…
“Yeah, it was big. You know there’s obviously been games this year where we’ve had leads and we didn’t close out. We’ve talked about that this week ad nauseum. Just closing out games. But I also think it was just the character of the whole game, just hanging in there. Again, problem solving throughout the course of the game, figuring out better ways to deal with situations. Again, we’re a bit of a makeshift midfield, guys in different positions, and everybody just had to put in the work. So, huge win as far as that. As far as Jayden, I thought he came in and he kind of grew into the game. At first, it’s a tough game to come into. Because we don’t necessarily have control the ball and control of the midfield. So, he came into the game with a lot of defensive work. I think he learned, even as the game was going, he was learning a little bit positionally. He met the competitive level of the game. He made some good solid plays down the stretch. So, I think these experiences are important. This is where these guys are going to learn. Tonight, was a big game and a big win and he was a contributor. I’m proud of him and he’s going to keep earning his chances.”
What does it say about Alex, being that was just his second start since May 2019?
“Alex has been extremely focused all season. You know, in fairness to him, he trains hard every day. His mentality has been great just. He’s just buying his time for his opportunity. And the two opportunities gotten so far this year, in what’s obviously been a stop-start season, he’s been fantastic. So, I think a lot of that is a tribute to just where his mind has been during the season. He just works every day. He is working to get better and he’s been a top team guy. And so, when he’s got his opportunity, he’s answered the bell and shown his quality. So, I’m proud of this guy because he’s hanging in there and he’s really doing the work, and tonight he was huge. He really made some huge saves for us.”
ALEX BONO – GOALKEEPER, TORONTO FC
Impressive performance tonight, what’s been the key for you to stay sharp and focused
“I feel like I’m training as well as I ever have and that’s the honest opinion that I feel. I feel really good about my game right now, I feel really confident about where I’m at. Everything seems to be coming together for me. That helps with confidence and obviously everyone knows confidence is a big part of goalkeeping. That’s something that I lacked a lot of in the last few years but from the middle of last year on I felt really good about the way I’ve been playing and really good about my shape, feel like I’m in shape, feel like I’m in form right now I’m grateful to get a game here and happy we were able to get all three points.”
Is that the type of gutsy win that you can build off of?
“Yeah. The game by no means went the way we wanted it to. We adjusted and at a certain point we realized that it wasn’t going to be a game where we could play through them and play out of the back a lot. I told the guys early, we got caught in the back last game, let’s play up early, let’s let the big guys eat, let Jozy and Ayo eat and give them a chance to play us into the game because first 10-15 minutes we were just kind of launching it and letting those two fight and scrap and trying to pick up second balls and that kind of set the tone for our physicality and our fight going into the game. That was the plan from the start by no means was it an awesome performance from us but we found a way and that’s what this is going to be about for the rest of the season it’s extraordinary circumstances and for us to be able to fight and scrap and get three points on the road and not having been in Toronto for a while, that’s what it’s going to be about.”
TORONTO FC ANNOUNCES REMAINING MLS REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Toronto FC announced the club’s remaining nine matches in the 2020 MLS Regular Season today. Toronto FC will have five home matches at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut and four on the road to close out the regular season.
The Reds will play both home and away to the Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls in addition to hosting Atlanta United, New York City FC and Inter Miami CF. TFC’s additional road matches will be at New England Revolution and FC Cincinnati. The Reds will conclude the regular season on Sunday, November 8 against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena for MLS Decision Day. The remaining schedule is listed below.
TORONTO FC (2) – D.C. UNITED (2) POST MATCH SUMMARY
DCU – Ola Kamara 5’
TFC – Alejandro Pozuelo 17’
TFC – Ayo Akinola 60’ (Pablo Piatti)
DCU – Griffin Yow 88’
TFC – Nick DeLeon 25’ (caution)
TFC – Pablo Piatti 41’ (caution)
TFC – Richie Laryea 67’ (caution)
DCU – Kevin Paredes 81’ (caution)
TORONTO FC: 6-2-4 22 PTS.
D.C. UNITED: 2-5-5 11 PTS.
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Richie Laryea, Eriq Zavaleta (Chris Mavinga 75’), Omar Gonzalez, Justin Morrow; Nick DeLeon (Laurent Ciman 82’), Jonathan Osorio (C), Marky Delgado, Pablo Piatti (Patrick Mullins 90’), Alejandro Pozuelo (Tsubasa Endoh 90’); Jozy Altidore (Ayo Akinola, HT’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Tony Gallacher, Erickson Gallardo, Jayden Nelson
D.C. UNITED – Bill Hamid; Chris Odoi-Atsem (Erik Sorga 87’), Fredric Brillant (C), Donovan Pines, Joseph Mora; Junior Moreno, Yamil Asad (Federico Higuain 78’), Mohammed Abu (Griffin Yow HT’), Julian Gressel (Moses Nyman 78’); Ola Kamara, Gelmin Rivas (Kevin Paredes 68’)
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Earl Edwards Jr., Axel Sjoberg, Oniel Fisher
GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
What went wrong with the team’s defending?
“I think the first half it was very random. Guys were moving all over the place trying to find the ball. We didn’t have much shape. And as we were running all over the place trying to find the ball and trying to create things and leaving spaces open, we become vulnerable in the transition. And in the defensive transition, we don’t control the game. It seems like we normally control the game. It wasn’t anything overly sophisticated or complicated about what they did. It was a pretty straight up 4-4-2, but we have to be more disciplined about the areas of the field that we need to have players in. And we need our players to be in the right positions at the right times and we were very busy. That left us vulnerable in the first half. It cost us a lot of energy in the first half because we end up running at times we don’t have to run, for no purpose. We end up getting exposed in the transition, which means a lot of work in the transition because spaces are open, they get out in those spaces and we need to sprint to recover. And it becomes incredibly inefficient. And we’re on the road and the start of a tough road trip, and we burned a lot of energy for not a lot of gain in the first half. We give away an absolute howler on the first goal, which is never the way you want to start a game. And we come out in the second half a little more structured, we switched some things around to get some structure out of the game, and I thought we had a little bit better, for the first 25-30 minutes, had a little bit better shape in terms of with the ball, moving a little more purposeful, we created a few more chances, got in deeper into their half. But still we started to fatigue. These games a bit of a war of attrition, between travel, between injuries and guys carrying things, and these games come back to back to back, so you try to push guys through. They’re having the same issues as we’re having and we’re thin in the midfield right now and trying to work our way through it. And so, the second goal comes off…our midfield is physically struggling a little bit, so we went with a third centre back, thinking if at least we can force them to put crosses in we will have numbers in front of the goal. We need to protect the middle of the field. And sure, enough they put a cross in and Q (Westberg) comes to get it, calls for it, Omar stays in and heads it. So either Q needs to get it, or Omar needs to clear space for him so he can take it, or Omar’s got to make sure he clears it, so neither of the above happened, so we head it back down and their guy smacks it into what’s a relatively empty net. So, yeah, the other part of it is there’s some defensive things that … we have this sense right now that we have to win every single ball and every single pass, so our defensive shape is at times very impatient, and because of that we expend a lot of energy chasing balls. We just need to be more patient sometimes. We can’t press everything. And tonight, we were … because I think we started off playing from behind … our patience wanes a little bit and we are pushing the game a little bit too much and we’re expending too much energy through the course of it. So, there’s a synopsis of the game, I guess.”
How is Pablo Piatti? He looked like he was injured?
“Yeah, he was cramping. It wasn’t anything more than that, so he should be okay. We’ll hydrate and all that kind of stuff and he should be okay.”
What’s your sense on why you guys are giving up late goals so frequently?
“Yeah, the first 2-2 draw against them was a diabolical collapse of nonsense which is, you know, us giving away essentially goals very similar to the way we did tonight. You know, we lose a ball in a bad place they go on a breakaway. It was reminiscent of the Higuain’s goal against us and that first game. When you collapse like that and you put yourself in a tough situation. The second goal is reminiscent of how they how they scored at the very end. They just a lump of ball into the box we don’t clear it and you know … the last one they nodded it down and they were first to it, and tonight, we nod it down for them and they bury it. So, it’s you know, we’ve got to be a little to be a little bit more structured and cleaner about how we defend when we’re under a little bit of pressure. We’ve been the aggressors in many of these games, which has helped us a lot of times to get on top of the games. But you know, when we are seeing out leads, we need to recognize that, and be a bit more patient about our defensive structure and what we can deal with. And so, it’s something we definitely need to continue to grow at, as a group. Obviously, with guys slightly out of position, doing different roles, especially in the midfield, some of that structure gets a little bit lost in the midfield. But guys are putting in a heavy shift and they’re doing everything they can. It’s just sometimes they’re not used to the specific roles they have, so we’re trying to work through some of that as well. So, it’s the nature of the beast right now. Again, a lot of teams are dealing with it. We can’t give up silly goals like we did at the beginning and we have to do better to clear balls when we’re under a little bit of pressure at the end of games. That’s been a big chunk of it.”
AYO AKINOLA – FORWARD, TORONTO FC
Does tonight’s tie feel more like a loss?
“Yeah in a way. We had the lead for a good amount of time, a little bit of fatigue that caused the second goal. But yeah definitely this tie feels like a loss. One thing that’s good about us, after a result like this we usually bounce back. Going into the next game we’re definitely going to prepare ourselves a lot better.”
What’s it like playing in these games? Away to DC and New York then a home game in Connecticut. How do you prepare yourself? Do the games feel different?
“Prepare like we’re at home. Obviously, every game now is going to feel like we’re away. Some may think just because we’re away we’re going to be the underdogs, but we have the mindset that every game we play like it’s our last. We feel like sometimes we’re the home team with how we move the ball and possess it. It definitely feels weird, but nothing surprising to us, especially being down in Orlando. We were away from home for a long time. It’s like Orlando part two for us, definitely weird but nothing surprising to us. We should be ok with it.”
Can you break down your goal?
“I didn’t see who played the ball to Richie. Richie went down the line and crossed it. On his cross, I thought he missed everyone, I didn’t know who he was trying to play it to, but Pablo was there. At first, I thought Pablo was going to take a touch, but he put it back first time right onto my head. As I headed it, I thought for a split second that Hamid was going to save it, but it passed by him.”
Toronto FC announced today that the club has acquired Scottish defender Tony Gallacher on loan from Liverpool FC for the remainder of the 2020 MLS season. Gallacher will occupy an international roster slot and join the club pending receipt of his ITC (International Transfer Certificate). Gallacher has already received his P-1 Visa and completed the mandatory quarantine period under local government and MLS health and safety protocol.
“Tony is a young, promising defender that will provide us with additional depth on our backline for the remainder of the year,” said Toronto FC General Manager Ali Curtis. “We feel his character and personality will fit well within our group.”
Gallacher, 21, joins Toronto FC from reigning English Premier League Champions, Liverpool. Gallacher joined Liverpool in the 2018 January transfer window and made his senior team debut on December 17, 2019 in a League Cup loss to Aston Villa. He made 32 appearances for Liverpool’s U-23 team, scoring two goals with one assist over two seasons. Prior to joining Liverpool, Gallacher played for Scottish club, Falkirk F.C. He made his debut on November 28, 2015 and went on to make 26 appearances for the club. Gallacher played his youth football at Forth Valley Academy before joining Falkirk F.C.
Gallacher has represented his native, Scotland at various youth levels including U-16, U-17 and U-19.
TRANSACTION: Toronto FC acquires defender Tony Gallacher on loan from Liverpool FC.
TORONTO FC TO PLAY ITS HOME MATCHES IN CONNECTICUT
Toronto FC announced plans today to play their next MLS home game at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The Reds will begin this next portion of the MLS regular season on Saturday September 19 when they meet D.C. United at Audi Field. The Reds will play their second game at Red Bull Arena against New York City FC on Wednesday, September 23 and then host Columbus Crew SC on Sunday, September 27 in East Hartford.
“While we continue to work with government officials on our travel protocols, it is important to the club to have our own home away from home during this next phase,” said Toronto FC President Bill Manning. “The state of Connecticut opened their arms for us and my compliments to David Lehman and Governor Lamont for their leadership here. Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field is a great venue. They’ve hosted a number of international games and we’re excited to play there.”
MLS announced the next three games for each club as the league continues to finalize travel protocols. Pending further developments regarding travel, the next set of regular season matches will be announced.
“We felt that it was important to have a surrogate home field that had similarities to BMO Field, in dimension, surface characteristics, and field quality,” said Toronto FC General Manager Ali Curtis. “Also, from a competitive standpoint, a priority was to have our own home field. While playing at BMO Field is always our preferred and ideal option, we think the East Hartford location is the best available option for this next phase.”
Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, the home to the University of Connecticut’s NCAA Division I football team, has hosted a number of United States Men’s and Women’s National team games through the years. The pitch is Kentucky Blue Grass with dimensions of 115 by 75 yards.