2) Petrasso and Jimenez offer rare bright spots
It was a frustrating day for Toronto FC, as they dominated with 67.4 percent of the possession. They were the better team early on, before the Red Bulls opened the scoring against the run of play.
In fact, TFC had the clear edge in the majority of statistics, including passing accuracy (82.3%-63.6%), total passes (643-308) and crosses (15-9). In truth, the game was arguably closer than a 4-1 final scoreline would suggest.
However, the one area where Toronto FC didn’t have the edge was creating chances — quality or otherwise — when it mattered most. This represented another flashback to last season, when they struggled to score and had their worst goals-per-game average since 2013.
Having said this, it wasn’t all bad news for The Reds, as there were at least a couple of positive performances. More specifically, Luca Petrasso and Jesus Jimenez.
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Starting with Petrasso, Saturday represented his MLS debut and he showed little sign of nerves. He was excellent all afternoon, as he repeatedly troubled the Red Bulls with his aggressive, attacking play from the left wing.
The 21-year-old linked up well with Shaffelburg on the left, prior to the latter having to leave the game. The highlight of the Toronto native’s performance however, was recording his first assist at the end of one of his threatening runs.
The move was completed by Jimenez, who opened his MLS goal account just one week after picking up his first assist. He had shown glimpses of what he could do during the pre-season, so Saturday came as little surprise to those who count.
What was most impressive — and important — to note about the Leganés, Spain native, was his composure on the chance. It is this kind of calm under pressure which Toronto FC will need this season, if they are to have any hope of contending for a playoff spot.
Overall though, Petrasso was TFC’s best player on the day. Fans will obviously be hoping this is the start of something special for another product of the club’s excellent academy.