Toronto FC: Still winless after stunning loss to Montreal Impact

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 30: Jozy Altidore
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 30: Jozy Altidore /

Toronto FC traveled to the Montreal Olympic Stadium to take on the Montreal Impact and came away with their second loss in two MLS games.

The MLS season hasn’t been kind to Toronto FC in the early going. Two games in and already two losses that will stay with them for the rest of 2018.

The Champions League looks to be the focus now. However, a date with Club America will really test the structure and tactics of Greg Vanney’s squad.

Club America is one problem, but the Montreal Impact look to be another for the defending champions. Interestingly, Montreal dropped their first two games in league play, but still managed to knock off the Reds 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.

The numbers didn’t matter one bit in the fixture, even if they were stacked against the home side. Sebastian Giovinco tested Evan Bush early with a shot from outside the box, which stung the hands of the keeper and went out.

Maybe to one’s surprise or not so to others, Ignacio Piatti led the rush down the heart of the TFC midfield and fed Jeisson Vargas, who cracked the ball past Alex Bono.

The strike took the Reds off-guard, and Piatti took numerous shots afterwards to try and put the game out of hand. However, they were both blocked by Nick Hagglund, with Drew Moor all out of sorts in this sequence.

Keep in mind that this was only the first half. As soon as the second frame began, Sam Piette was sent in by none other than Piatti, but the 23-year-old’s shot went just wide. It was an enormous break for the Reds, but one that didn’t matter in the end.

Jozy Altidore has been really silent thus far. The American tried to chip Bush, but there was no luck for the striker.

Altidore tried again with a toe poke that hit the fingertips of Bush and almost went over the line, but was cleared by Michael Petrasso.

Giovinco won a free-kick on the edge of the box right before the game would’ve ended. The Atomic Ant took the hit from his sweet-spot, but the chance went sailing over the bar. Game over for Toronto.

Key Stats

Toronto FC

  • 14 shots
  • 5 shots on target
  • 63 per cent possession
  • Key Player: Eriq Zavaleta had himself a good game with a 97 percent pass accuracy

Montreal Impact

  • 14 shots
  • 3 shots on target
  • 5 yellow cards
  • Key Player: Piatti was on fire in the early stages of the fixture

TFC Subs: Clint Irwin, Jay Chapman, Marco Delgado, Jordan Hamilton, Chris Mavinga, Nicolas Hasler, Auro

TFC Stats to Keep an Eye on (WhoScored) 

  • Giovinco continues to make up for the shots on target. The Italian finished with two of the five chances in the contest, and also had seven shots in total. Age isn’t on his side, and you can tell he’s going for a good 20 goals this year.
  • Gregory Van der Wiel is not what was expected so far in the campaign. Vanney is trying him in the left midfield, but something just doesn’t seem right for him there. The former PSG product had the lowest pass accuracy, while notching a 6.5 rating on the day.
  • Big day for Zavaleta. The 25-year-old finished with four interceptions, five clearances, three blocked shots and one tackle. The defender was the Man of the Match according to this database.

Around the MLS

  • DC United 2-2 Houston Dynamo
  • Minnesota United 2-1 Chicago Fire
  • Philadelphia Union 0-0 Columbus Crew
  • NYCFC 2-0 Orlando City

Updated MLS tables can be found here.

What’s Next for the Reds?

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Toronto get another relatively long break before they host Real Salt Lake on Mar. 30. There’s no Champions League action until April, so Vanney and the squad really need to draw some attention to league play.

Despite looking good on the pitch, the Reds have yet to find the finishing touch in MLS play. Advanced stats suggest their luck will change soon, so the Reds need to stay with the system.

Maybe it’s a bit of a reach to say they are putting all their attention into the CL. However, it’s very rare for a squad from North America to claim so much silverware in a short span of time, so it might be true.

If Toronto keeps dropping games in the fashion they are now, it will be too late to catch up later in the season. In terms of talent, MLS is more spread out and TFC will not be able to stroll into the playoffs as they have the last couple of seasons.

Here’s to hoping for the best going forward for Toronto.

As always, continue to get your TFC coverage right here on Tip of the Tower.

Next: TFC display passion to advance in Champions League

Are you concerned by Toronto FC’s start to the MLS campaign? Or are you confident they will turn things around sooner than later? Share your thoughts on the performance in the comments section below!