2) VAR proves to be instrumental
The theory behind the video assistant referee is a good one, but the reality has led to plenty of complaints by coaches, players, fans and the media. Regardless, it proved to be both positive and negative for TFC during Saturday’s game.
FC Dallas were early beneficiaries, as their goal on nine minutes was first ruled offside before being overturned by the VAR. Ironically the exact opposite happened to the home side on the half-hour mark, as a potential second goal was ruled offside after a video review.
In the second half, it was Toronto FC’s turn to be frustrated by the VAR. They were initially awarded a penalty in the 67th minute, but this was then rescinded after another video review.
Bradley was critical of the decision to overturn the penalty award, although it should be noted when he made these comments that he had yet to review video of the incident. In any event, fans can only hope he doesn’t have much cause to continually criticise the VAR as the season progresses.
1) Overall sense of optimism
TFC was a disaster last year, in what was arguably their worst season since entering MLS in 2007. They set unwanted franchise marks for most goals allowed and worst goal difference in a season.
This led to the hiring of Bradley and a much-needed revamp of the roster. If Saturday is any indication, this club is going to be just fine in 2022.
The Reds were organized, focused and played more like a team. Everyone worked hard to do their job and help each other out, with their ability to come back from a goal down also showing significant mental fortitude.
The impressiveness of all this cannot be emphasised enough, when considering the number of new signings and young players in the lineup. This is club which is only going to grow stronger as they become more used to each other, which is extremely encouraging for the fans.