3) The importance of Pozuelo and Piatti.
Back when TFC finally became good, Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore were prominent to the club’s success. How times have changed.
As mentioned already, despite his ongoing influence, Bradley is out for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, Altidore has yet to score in seven league appearances this season, and Giovinco is no longer with the club.
When the trio were clicking on all cylinders, the Reds were tough to stop. This was highlighted by Giovinco and Altidore combining for an impressive average of 28 league goals and 16 assists during their four seasons together in Toronto.
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Now, it is up to the likes of Alejandro Pozuelo and Pablo Piatti to pick up the mantle and perform to a similar level of consistency. Pozuelo gave a taste of what he was capable of during his first season with TFC, particularly in the playoffs, when his two goals and three assists helped the club reach their third MLS Cup final in four seasons.
Further, now Pozuelo has settled in, he appears to have taken his game to another level this year, with three goals and a league-leading eight assists through 10 league games. Meanwhile, Piatti seems to be finding his feet in his first season in MLS and is expected to build on his two goals and two assists through eight league games.
Critics may well point towards the botched penalty kick between the duo versus Montreal, which ultimately cost the club their chance to equal the all-time MLS league unbeaten record. However, at least this incident alludes to Pozuelo and Piatti building up a rapport with each other.
As this rapport continues to grow, it should result in the two designated players becoming even more productive on the pitch. This is something which should worry the rest of the league, as TFC aim for yet another MLS Cup appearance.
One thing which must be noted is that Pozuelo and Piatti are midfielders, and should not be relied upon to pick up the goal slack on a consistent basis – no matter how good they are. This brings us back to Altidore’s unproductive start to the 2020 season.
If the U.S. international is unable to find his form, Toronto FC will be hoping Ayo Akinola can build on his promising start to this campaign. He has five goals through five league games so far in 2020, albeit nothing in his last two appearances.
A lot of TFC’s chances of success in 2020 relate to potential. However, there is no reason the talent they have in the roster should not fulfill their promise and help the club once again challenge for honours.
How much do you predict Toronto FC will miss Bradley? Are you concerned after the two consecutive losses, or confident the club will get back on track sooner than later? Let us know in the comments section below.