By Jerry Mancini at BMO Field.
Toronto FC failed to take points for the second game in a row losing 2-0 at home to the Seattle Sounders.
Toronto remains 12th in the Eastern Conference, six points from a playoff spot, with the final spot in the top seven currently occupied by New England Revolution.
Dylan Teves scored his first Major League Soccer goal on his first start for Seattle in the 39th minute which started them on their way to victory. Fredy Montero added a second in the 60th minute to secure the victory.
As for Toronto, it was the fifth game of the season where they failed to score. In recent years, Seattle have gotten the better of TFC and this was their fourth straight win against them.
It was the first meeting between the two opposing conference teams since the 2019 MLS Cup Final which Seattle won 3-1 at CenturyLink Field.
The last time Toronto tasted victory in this game was in the 2017 MLS Cup Final which they won 2-0 at BMO Field.
It was Toronto’s fifth game in 15 days and fatigue may have set in. Countless times they failed to make the most of their opportunities in the final third.
Head coach Bob Bradley alluded to it during his post-game press conference.
“We started the game slowly and [Seattle] were able to obstruct the midfield, it took us too long to get into a real rhythm,” Bradley said. “You might see fatigue as a factor for many guys, yes.”
The home side managed 13 shots including six on target, with a number coming from outside the box. Creativity around the Seattle box was lacking as the TFC seemed predictable and slow when trying to move forward.
Sometimes this resulted in an easy save or turnover that led to a counterattack.
“The first half wasn’t good enough,” said TFC captain Michael Bradley. “Too slow, not sharp enough, not enough intensity, but not the way we want to play in any way.
“I think we had a good start to the second half. Some good little advantages, I can’t do enough and obviously give up another mediocre goal.
On top of Toronto’s poor attack, the defense continues to be a problem (not the best combination) as they have now conceded one goal in 26 consecutive league appearances.
Throughout the game, they struggled to maintain their defensive line, which allowed Seattle to capitalize and score twice.
26 consecutive league games without a clean sheet for Toronto FC
Generated some really good chances in the final third, need to be more creative and move the ball faster. Too predictable.
The backend was disorganized, can’t keep a straight line. Salcedo & Mavinga have been poor pic.twitter.com/ktCb5Yu9Ed
—Jerry Mancini (@jmancini8) July 3, 2022
Chris Mavinga and Carlos Salcedo each had nights to forget, the latter being edged out by Leo Chu for the opener. Chu managed to get behind Salcedo before delivering a cross to an unmarked Teves that passed Quentin Westberg.
The game marked Alejandro Pozuelo’s 100th appearance for the Reds and the loss definitely made it a disappointing night for the midfielder. Nonetheless, the Spaniard was one of Toronto’s standout players and one of the few who could create chances.
He finished the match with the most successful dribbles (4), the most touches (117), being the victim of four fouls, a key pass and a pass accuracy rate of 92%.
Pozuelo signed with Toronto on March 4, 2019 and has been great for the Reds since his arrival.
During these 100 matches, he compiled 30 goals and 27 assists. He has been a leader and a key figure in this side and continues to put in strong performances in an effort to help his team out of the rut they find themselves in.
“He is in good shape. We know his ability to make special plays,” Michael Bradley said of Pozuelo.
“In that last streak, he was able to help us in important moments, be it assists or goals. We’re going to continue to need him badly.”
Toronto will be aiming to bounce back next weekend and break their two-game skid against the San Jose Earthquakes when Lorenzo Insigne and Domenico Criscito are set to make their highly anticipated debuts…