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Three Takeaways: The Toronto FC Defence Has Been an Issue

Charlotte FC Forward, Patrick Agyemang Battling For The Ball With Kevin Long

ANALYSIS – The Toronto FC defence is something that can be improved on as this is the third-straight game that they gave up more than two goals. However, credit should be given to Charlotte FC, who was able to take advantage of their scoring opportunities.

Toronto FC Defence Not Great in a 3-2 Loss to Charlotte FC

Third-Straight Game of Giving up More Than Two Goals

After such a positive start defensively, TFC had trouble keeping the ball out of the net. This was made apparent in Charlotte’s second goal, when Liel Abada took advantage of a bad TFC pass in their end of the field. This resulted in Abada scoring Charlotte’s second goal. This goal also concerned TFC head coach, John Herdman (Source: The Canadian Press):

“We can’t afford to give up goals like that,” said Herdman. “We had that conversation in the (post-game) huddle. There were so many things that I liked about the performance.”

Charlotte though deserved credit for the other two goals they scored. This included the first Charlotte goal scored by Kerwin Vargas, which was a very well-struck goal. Yes, maybe TFC could have made the space a bit tighter, but it is not an easy place to score a goal and Vargas took advantage of his scoring opportunity.

Substitutions Worked Well for Charlotte FC

The substitutions worked well for Charlotte FC. The most notable substitution made was for Patrick Agyemang, who scored the game-winning goal. It was a well-worked goal and Brecht Dejaegere got credit with the assist because of his well-placed pass. Jaylin Lindsey should also get credit for setting up the play, as he saw Dejaegere all alone with lots of space to work with. This was also actually something TFC head coach, Herdman, was not happy about (Source: The Canadian Press):

“That stuff is just criminal. … How on earth did we not have a player go and press (Dejaegere)?” mused Herdman.

Then, when Charlotte was winning, they substituted Abada out of the game and brought in a defensive midfielder in Júnior Urso. Urso was able to help close the game for the Crown and Charlotte secured the 3-2 victory.

Toronto FC Had Some Chances to Score

TFC, like Charlotte, had five shots on goal and 11 shots overall. There were some good moments from Toronto FC, as some of these chances included:

  • Bernardeschi getting close to the goal, but unable to put the ball into the back of the net.
  • Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty had a clear header near the goal, but his header was off-target.

Bernardeschi was really doing an excellent job of creating scoring chances for Toronto, but felt like TFC did not give him enough help to get scoring opportunities, especially in the first half.

Other Factors – Toronto FC Prince Owusu Had a Game to Remember

Owusu, the German forward for TFC, had himself a great game. In his two goals, Owusu put himself in the right positions to score. That is hard to do, and not everyone has that skill. The closest comparison to that might be Adriana Leon for the Canadian women’s soccer team. Herdman also noticed Owusu’s big game (source: The Canadian Press):

“A real big step for him.”

It also helped that Bernardeschi created scoring opportunities. This played a big role in Owusu scoring two goals for the club. The second goal in particular was a beautiful goal as it also involved other TFC players like Marshall-Rutty.

One also has to credit the fact that TFC found a way to bounce back after trailing twice. That first goal scored by Owusu happened after some sustained pressure to start the second half. There was also the second goal, which was scored eight minutes after Abada got a goal for Charlotte.

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This sentiment can be shared with Owusu, who even though was disappointed with the result, also acknowledged that TFC never gave up in the game (source: James Grossi of Toronto FC):

“I came from the bench and tried my best to help the team. We played a good game. Away at Charlotte, we knew it wouldn’t be easy. We knew it would be a tough game,” he continued. “How we responded, getting those two goals, tells a lot about the team, we don’t give up.”

What might be disappointing though is Kevin Long getting a red card late in the game. Long’s first yellow card, where he complained to the referee on a call, hurt him when he got his second yellow card late in the game. As a result, Long will not be in next weekend’s game against the New England Revolution.

Games Coming up for Both Teams

READ MORE: Charlotte FC Vs Toronto FC: Both Look To Get Back On Track

For TFC, they have two games coming up in quick succession, both taking place at BMO Field. The first, against the New England Revolution, takes place on April 20, 2024 at 7:30pm ET. They then start their Canadian Championship campaign against the Simcoe County Rovers on April 23, 2024, with a time yet to be announced.

READ MORE: Three Takeaways: Luka Gavran Earns First-Ever MLS Clean Sheet

As for Charlotte FC, they continue their home-stand against Minnesota United FC on April 21, 2024 at 6;00pm ET at the Bank of America Stadium. Charlotte has not been great as of late, but maybe this win will help them and their confidence as they have played well at home recently.

Both MLS games for TFC and Charlotte will be shown live on Apple TV. As for the TFC Canadian Championship game, that can be watched live on OneSoccer, as well as Telus and FuboTV Inc.


Photo Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports, of a Patrick Agyemang Headshot and a Kevin Long Headshot, on April 13, 2024.


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