TORONTO, ON – Trillium Cup rivals, Toronto FC and Columbus Crew SC, ended in a 1-1 draw. Toronto FC for most of the game was compact defensively and tactically was the better side. However, the Columbus Crew SC found a way to get past TFC’s defence and had better scoring opportunities.
Trillium Cup Rivals Draw in Toronto FC’s Season Home Opener
Three Keys to the Game
Three Keys to the Game:#TFCLive has trouble keeping leads late in games.#TheyWillSeeRed played well tactically until they gave up the equalizer.#Crew96 had the better scoring chances.#TORvCLB | 1-1 | #MLS
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) March 12, 2023
Toronto FC Has Trouble Keeping Leads Late in Games
This is the third-straight game that Toronto FC did not close out a game. They had a lead in all three of those games but gave up late goals in all three of them. In fact, against D.C. United, they lost the game as they gave up two very late goals in the U.S. capital city.
FREAKY FAST DELIVERY FROM JIMMY#Crew96 | 1-1
— The Crew (@ColumbusCrew) March 12, 2023
TFC really fell apart late in the second half. This started with Jimmy Medranda getting a great pass from Aidan Morris. The call was originally called offside, but the goal was given thanks to the VAR call.
- Most notable was Cucho Hernandez’s shot that hit the post and then Alexandru Matan missed a very good scoring chance and missed the net.
- Lucas Zelayan’s shot went straight to TFC goalkeeper, Sean Johnson.
After the goal, Toronto gave up too much space and Columbus took advantage. It felt like TFC’s defence was not as compact as it was for most of the game, which was a shame.
Toronto FC Tactically Played Really Well
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) March 12, 2023
Looking at the first half, TFC tactically was able to effectively counter-attack Columbus’s possession. There were a few moments of this, which were:
- Jonathan Osorio has a great chance to score late in the first half.
- Deandre Kerr’s goal was assisted by Osorio.
As mentioned in the preview article, the Columbus head coach, Wilfried Nancy wants their team to have possession with purpose. In this game, it looked like Toronto knew that and counter-attacked when able to. TFC was also to play well and put themselves in great positions defensively, as they were able to not give Columbus too many shots on goal.
- Richie Laryea cleared the ball in the 55-minute.
- Matt Hedges generally had a good position with defending as he made some key plays.
This all fell apart late in the second half. Still, it showed what Toronto is capable of on the defensive end. It also showed that Toronto can defend for large stretches of the game.
READ MORE: 2023 Toronto FC Season: Cautious Optimism
Columbus Crew SC Had the Better Scoring Opportunities
Columbus had the better scoring chances overall in the game. Even when Toronto was defending well, the Crew still had chances to score and seemed to start off the game strong. The big problem was Columbus’s inability to get a shot on goal, which they solved late in the game. Some chances that came earlier on included Lucas Zelayan’s cross from a free-kick in the first half, which could have resulted in a goal.
What was a bit more worrying was that Columbus had more shots and shots on goal than TFC, despite having many of those shots off-target on the road, which will need to be looked at for future home games.
Other Factors with the Trillium Cup Rivals Draw
Both teams had chances to win the game. Columbus’s chances were discussed, but there were two big chances Toronto had in the game.
- Jonathan Osorio’s shot was stopped late in the first half.
- Richie Laryea had a chance to win the game for Toronto FC, but his shot went above the net.
Specifically, Laryea’s shot was a missed opportunity as it was in front of the net. Both Raoul Pettreta and Federico Bernardeschi worked hard for Laryea to get that shot off, and he missed the target.
The other factor was the goal awarded to the Crew. It was very close, but it looked like Matt Hedges did just enough and the goal should have been called offside. Still, there are a lot of positives to take from the game, but also things that can be improved on for TFC.
Bob Bradley says he’s again ‘hopeful’ that Lorenzo Insigne (groin) will be back next weekend, but Insigne’s still experiencing a little pain when reaching for the ball. The first scan they did showed a very minor strain, but he may have to get a 2nd scan done
— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) March 12, 2023
Toronto head coach, Bob Bradley, stated that Lorenzo Insigne is still experiencing a groin injury. He hopes to have Insigne play in next weekend’s game. This is what Bernardecshi said about the game yesterday (source: Michael Singh, a Toronto FC and Canada Soccer beat writer):
“I’m very disappointed today. I feel bad because it’s the first match in our stadium, with our fans, it’s cold & the people come in the stadium for us—and the people need the win, need the three points to be enthusiastic about the game.”
It is still early, but Toronto FC only has two points to show in their first three games. It is fine to have a bad start, but they do need to get some wins on the board so they do not leave it until it is too late in the MLS season.
Games Coming Up for Both Teams
Both teams have two games remaining in March. For Toronto, they host Inter Miami CF at BMO Field on March 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET before travelling to PayPal Park against the San Jose Earthquakes on March 25 at 10:30 p.m. ET.
This is while Columbus will now travel on the road. They will first play at Red Bull Arena against the New York Red Bulls on March 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET before facing Atlanta United FC on March 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET. All four games will be shown live on Apple TV.
Lastly, the Trillium Cup will be determined on August 26, 2023, at Lower.com Field at 7:30 p.m. ET between TFC and Columbus. Toronto is now winless in their last four games against their rivals in Columbus.
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports on March 11, 2023, of Toronto FC’s Headshot.
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