Regardless of taking only one level from its first two video games and struggling a lopsided 4-1 loss in its weekend residence opener, Toronto FC stays optimistic that brighter days are forward.
“I really feel that. I do know that the fellows round me really feel that as a result of this group has a ton of potential,” goalkeeper Alex Bono stated after coaching Tuesday. “We’ve proven lots of belief within the younger gamers early on this 12 months and so they deserved it. Each one that’s obtained minutes has had nice pre-seasons. They’ve come, they’ve built-in themselves within the group very well.
“Yeah we’re younger, our lineup is younger. At some factors, we’ve obtained younger guys coming off the bench however they’ve all deserved it. They’ve all obtained a ton of potential, ton of means and it’s going to take time. We’ve obtained a brand new employees, we’ve obtained a bunch of recent guys and so it’s going to take time simply primarily based on that alone.”
Bob Bradley has made wholesale modifications since taking up in November as head coach and sporting director. Eighteen gamers from the first-team roster that went a dismal 6-18-10 final season have left, with Jamaican worldwide defender Kemar Lawrence anticipated to affix the exodus any day.
Toronto opened the season with a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas earlier than taking it on the chin from the New York Pink Bulls in Saturday’s residence opener at BMO Discipline. Subsequent up is a sport Saturday at Columbus (1-0-1).
After conceding a franchise-worst 66 targets final season, Toronto revamped its defence, bringing in Mexican worldwide Carlos Salcedo, Lukas McNaughton and Shane O’Neill to affix holdover Chris Mavinga at centre again.
Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, 17, and Jacob Shaffelburg, 22, are feeling their means at fullback after being switched from the wing,
Yielding 5 targets within the first two video games, with the entire targets coming within the first half, shouldn’t be the beginning TFC wished.
However it’s a small pattern measurement. Bono takes coronary heart from the truth that Toronto placed on a greater exhibiting within the second half of each video games.
Nonetheless, the Pink Bulls ripped Toronto aside on the counter-attack within the first half Saturday, punishing Toronto errors 4 occasions.
“We got here into the locker room and, to everybody’s credit score, we stated ‘It’s not good. However it’s over. The primary 45′s behind us now. And all we are able to do is reply for the second 45,”’ Bono stated. “And the second 45, we had some good spells of play. We knew it was an uphill battle however there was no giving up.”
At this early stage of the season, Toronto is tied with Inter Miami for twenty fifth within the 28-team league in targets conceded. Solely San Jose and Cincinnati have given up extra.
Bono, who made some glorious saves within the second half Saturday to forestall a good worse loss, ranks twenty fifth within the league with a 2.50 goals-against common.
“Pay attention it’s a piece in progress,” Bono stated of the defence. “Chris (Mavinga) is actually our solely centre again that stayed on with us so we’re nonetheless constructing partnerships, we’re nonetheless constructing relationships on the sphere. We’re nonetheless sort of studying the opposite guys’ tendencies and what they like and what they don’t like.
“Once more, that’s simply one thing that takes time. The one factor is that we have now actually good defenders. We’ve actually good guys within the subject. We’ll make it actually powerful for groups to attain. We wish that to be an instantaneous factor,” he stated, clicking his fingers. “It hasn’t fairly been the case, particularly prior to now sport however it’s one thing that we’re engaged on consistently and it’s one thing that we actually attempt to do, to make it actually troublesome to surrender targets.”
On the plus aspect, striker Ayo Akinola was at coaching Tuesday, one other step again on the street to restoration from surgical procedure final August to restore a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his proper knee sustained on worldwide obligation with Canada finally summer season’s Gold Cup.
There was no fast replace on the timing of his return to motion, which was initially pegged at April-Might.
“He tells me he’s feeling stronger each single day … He’s been working his ass off for a very long time,” stated Bono.
The group was pressured to practise at BMO Discipline final week as a result of the pitches at its north Toronto coaching centre weren’t prepared. Most have been nonetheless below snow Tuesday however the group was in a position to practise on one pitch, permitting the considerably ragged floor at BMO Discipline a while to get well.