The Toronto FC went to the Windy City confident and with a boost to their depleted roster from last week. Coming off a heart breaking loss in the last minutes of the match in Salt Lake, after appearing to have secured a point on the road, the club was hoping to take advantage of a weak Chicago side. The Chicago Fire are presumably one of the biggest contenders for the Wooden Spoon which is awarded to team with the season’s worst record. Although on the road, the match felt like it should be an easy three points, a holiday in comparison to their opponents in Utah, coincidentally the day before Easter Sunday.
With Steven Caldwell and Mark Bloom at Shoeless Joe’s in downtown Toronto, the back four continued to take a different look. Justin Morrow who is a left back, played out of position at centre back. The formation was similar to what Greg Vanney has displayed previously with a 4-3-1-2 putting Giovinco behind Altidore and Findley. On paper the team should be able to score goals, but could they stop them?
GK – Bendik
LB – Morgan (Lovitz 88’)
CB – Morrow
CB – Hagglund
RB – Creavalle
M – Bradley
M – Cheyrou
M – Osorio (Dike 81’)
AM – Giovinco
F – Findley (Jackson 71’)
F – Altidore
Right out of the gate, Toronto was playing catch up. Chicago was more aggressive and played as if they had nothing to lose in front a sparse holiday crowd just shy of 14,000. And their urgency paid off as Joevin Jones squeaked one past Bendik just fourteen minutes into the match.
One bright spot for the day was Sebastien Giovinco. The Atomic Ant showed his worth with his tremendously talented play. Only six minutes after being behind, Giovinco scores with the help of Ashtone Morgan and Benoit Cheyrou. In total, seventeen passes made up the goal. The finish wasn’t pretty but it was Giovinco’s first in a Toronto FC shirt. The goal put the Reds into the break tied at one.
Early in the second half, Giovinco makes a dazzling play to get the ball to Cheyrou to put TFC up 2-1 in the 54th minute. A lead on the road was all Toronto needed to bring home three points going into another early season week off. Although this was the first lead since their first match in Vancouver, similar to just six days earlier, they concede a goal to Shaun Maloney almost immediately afterwards. In total Toronto FC had a lead for all of two minutes in their past three matches.
Warren Creavalle was not sharp and got himself in trouble early, receiving a yellow card just five minutes in. In the 67th minute Creavalle receives another yellow for an unnecessary and overly aggressive tackle outside the box, dismissing him from the match and suspending him from the next match in Dallas. Jeff Larentowicz takes advantage of the set piece opportunity, now up a man, and puts one past Bendik.
The question of whether the goals were at the fault of Joe Bendik or his defence is still in question. Joe Bendik should be responsible for the wall which was misplaced leading to the winning goal. The previous two goals were simply due to poor defence. Sloppy play and taking their foot off the accelerator at the most inopportune moments unceasingly burn the Reds.
Outside of the bright spots in Giovinco and Cheyrou, the team showed something else. This loss hurts, and not just their unwavering supporters. The team is showing how upset they are and starting to at least take accountability for their own actions. Blaming referees or bad luck can only go so far and ultimately the excuses need to stop. After the match Greg Vanney even said the team was soft defensively. It was also learned that a garbage can took one heck of a beating afterwards. Let’s hope Greg Vanney is also tearing the team a new one.
Although this is only the fourth match in a long campaign, this loss in Chicago should ring some alarm bells. The goal for the first seven matches prior to finally being able to play at BMO Field was to have at least double digits in points. After dropping four points the past two matches, and only three matches left, it’ll be very unlikely for this to happen. Orlando City and Philadelphia should be places to gain points but in two weeks they go to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas is in good form and arguably the best in Major League Soccer. If the Toronto FC play the same as they did in Illinois, there may be more than beat up garbage cans afterwards. Toronto FC’s next match is on Saturday, April 18 at 8:30pm and can be seen on TSN.