Toronto FC: Michael Bradley puts blame on players after embarrassing loss

Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley (4) walks off the pitch after Toronto FC's game against D.C. United. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley (4) walks off the pitch after Toronto FC's game against D.C. United. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) /

Losing 7-1 to D.C. United, the heat is on Toronto FC manager Chris Armas but captain Michael Bradley wants the players to own for the team’s struggles.

Toronto FC has faced a lot of challenges the past few seasons and eventually, something has to change and many are calling for the end of Chris Armas’ tenure as manager after a 7-1 loss to D.C. United.

Understandably, there is frustration among TFC supporters. Their team is at the bottom of the MLS standings and is on a six-game losing streak. That’s unacceptable for a club that has been a consistent contender for years.

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Like the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays, TFC has been playing in a home away from which is not easy but certainly not an excuse for their performance. Someone has to take ownership and captain Michael Bradley is suggesting that this is on him and the players.

"“It’s nobody’s fault but ourselves, the players,” Bradley told reporters after the match. “People want to look around and point fingers and say it’s (head coach Chris Armas’) fault, he hasn’t done a good enough job. (Expletive.) The players, we have to look at ourselves and find more.”"

Taking over for Greg Vanney was not going to be an easy task for Armas considering the years of success Toronto saw during Vanney’s tenure. However, he inherited a club that finished second in the Supporters’ Shield race.

Last season, they allowed 26 goals through 23 matches and they’re well over that with 27 goals against in 11 games. So unless they turn into the AC Milan teams from the late 80s/early 90s, Toronto will continue to suffer the same fate.

To give you some context on how bad things have gotten for TFC, they were outshot 21-6 by United and Alex Bono made three saves on the nine shots on-target he faced. They never stood a chance and when things were going bad, the players crumbled and could never recover.

At this point, no one should be spared from criticism. Armas hasn’t shown that he can find solutions on the field, management’s decisions should be questioned and obviously, the players haven’t performed to their abilities.

The troubling part is that when you listen to Armas’ postgame press conference there doesn’t seem to be a quick solution in sight.

"“We’ve just got to get going,” Armas explained via the Toronto Sun. “But there has to be a real shift in what goes on. We’re looking for solutions. Is it formation? Is it a couple of starters? Is it my fault? You start looking every which way. Something has to give.”"

So either the players need to get their act together as Bradley suggests or Armas has to consider something drastic to whip his team into shape.

Toronto FC situation with Jozy Altidore underscores troubling time for club

It doesn’t seem like a solution between Jozy Altidore and TFC will come anytime soon. For the past few weeks, one of the top paid Americans in MLS has been training on his own casting doubt on his future in Toronto.

This all started when Altidore and Armas got into an argument on the field when he was taken off during a game in the 70th minute. After that point, the team has told the striker to not participate in team training and we haven’t heard much about the situation since general manager Ali Curtis spoke about it briefly.

"“In terms of moving forward, obviously I think much was reported regarding when we came off the field against Orlando, and like I said, that we didn’t like.,” Curtis said. “At the end of the day also, I’m sure he wanted to play and stay in the match, but it was a situation that we didn’t like and we’ve had conversations with Jozy about that. I’ve had a conversation with his representative about that.“We’ve had good in-person conversations with [Altidore’s] agent, we met on Friday, and so we’re trying to work through this, and I think that as much as we want to be transparent and open on the outside, we want to be fair and do justice and find the right solution.”"

According to Joshua Kloke of The Athletic (subscription required), TFC has been looking to move Altidore as they don’t feel he’s performed to the salary he’s being paid (sixth highest in MLS). After signing a new deal in 2019, Altidore’s contract is guaranteed to 2022 prolonging his tenure which started in 2015.

Altidore’s performance has been impacted by injuries over the years but he’s also had big moments with this team and that made it easier for TFC to go forward with an extension. Now it looks like another messy split between the club and a top player.

We remember the way things ended with Jermain Defoe who was hyped up as a “Bloody Big Deal” only to last 19 games with the club. Funny enough, sending Defoe to Sunderland brought Altidore to Toronto in the first place.

Even the end of Sebastian Giovinco’s tenure wasn’t a happy one as he was sold to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal. That seemed to take away a player many fans had a connection to only for it to end with Giovinco feel unwanted.

TFC has still found ways to bring in quality designated players and develop some young talent but this past year hasn’t been ideal for the club and distractions like Altidore’s situation doesn’t help matters.

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What are your thoughts on TFC’s struggles this season? Does Altidore’s situation play a part in what’s been plaguing the team? Let us know in the comments below.