Toronto FC were on the wrong end of a 5-4 scoreline in their clash with New York City FC last time out, but coach Bob Bradley had plenty of praise for his team.
NYCFC came out on top in a thrilling clash in the Big Apple, coming from two goals down to take a 5-2 lead.
However, Toronto hit back and Michael Bradley’s 90th-minute score set up a grandstand finish, but NYCFC just held on.
That ended a four-match unbeaten run for Toronto, who now host struggling FC Cincinnati.
“I want the guys to feel good about that,” said coach Bradley after the NYCFC defeat. “There was a period where things got away from us, but then on the field you saw guys pick themselves up, keep going. We started to have the confidence to get into their end again.
“When we got up the field today we did some very good things, but when they played through us and got into the final part of the field, that’s where we had such a tough time. “I see the good things that we were able to do when we got forward, I saw the push late in the game, now I need to look harder at the different situations that arose and our ability to handle some of those moments better.”
This is the first of back-to-back meetings between Toronto and Cincinnati, who welcome the Canadian side south of the border next week.
“You can see, our opponent continues to improve each week,” said Cincinnati coach Pat Noonan. “Maybe not with the result in their most recent game, but with their ideas with and without the ball, they continue to grow and improve. We’re prepared for a team that can get after the ball defensively in ways that can make you uncomfortable.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Toronto FC – Jesus Jimenez
Jesus Jimenez scored twice in Toronto’s loss to NYCFC on Sunday taking his total to six goals on the year. No Toronto player scored more than four times during the entire 2021 regular season.
FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta
Luciano Acosta scored his second goal of the season in the loss to Los Angeles FC on Sunday. Acosta is one of three Cincinnati players with a goal this season (excluding own goals), the fewest players with a goal of any MLS team this season.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Toronto have won four of its six all-time matches against FC Cincinnati (L2), through both of Cincinnati’s wins came last season.
– Toronto won the last meeting, 3-2, at home in September, as the Reds have won both of their meetings against Cincinnati in Toronto (also 2-1 in 2019).
– Toronto’s 5-4 defeat to NYCFC was just the 20th time in MLS history that a match featured at least nine combined goals and the first time one of those involved Toronto.
– After back-to-back wins in mid-March, Cincinnati have taken just one point from their last four games.
– Cincinnati have recorded just three wins in the last 33 games (D8 L22) dating back to the start of July 2021, though one of those was against Toronto, a 2-0 win last September.