3: Defence? Optional
The following are all score-lines from recent matches in the MLS is Back Tournament: 4-0, 2-2, 3-3, 3-1, 4-3 and 4-3.
This includes both of Toronto FC’s first two group games. It’s safe to say the defenders might take a little more time to get going when compared to the forwards.
Against D.C., it was the substitute defenders who took a lot of the flak for the late concessions. This time around, it’s the starters.
Problems for TFC’s backline started in the 14th minute, when a long ball got over the head of Omar González and landed with Romell Quioto, who put it in the back of the net. Both of D.C.’s other goals took advantage of the higher line set by Toronto, where opposing players were simply able to win both in the air and on the ground, and finagle their way around TFC’s defenders.
Just 23 minutes later, Mavinga gave away about as clear cut a penalty as you’ll see, leading to the second Montreal goal. Substitute Laurent Ciman also conceded a penalty for a hand-ball in the box, which led to the third Impact strike.
TFC fans should take comfort in knowing it’s not just their side dealing with defensive woes. However, as this tournament goes on, the Reds must figure out how to get more out of their back line if they want to challenge for the trophy.