New-look Toronto backline continues progression with positive result

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When you have Sebastian Giovinco on your team, sometimes it’s a bit difficult to find the spotlight.

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Toronto FC underwent significant changes on the defensive side of the ball over the offseason, with the hopes of creating a more well-rounded squad. The high-profile additions of Drew Moor and Steven Beitashour, along with several other moves, made the Canadian club winners of the offseason, but now the team’s acquisitions are proving their worth.

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After falling behind 2-0 in the first half, Toronto rallied for a 2-2 draw against New York City FC, which Moor declared a testament to his team’s passion.

“It’s a sign of our character of this squad,” Moor said following the match. “Obviously we don’t want to put ourselves down 2-0 anywhere, but on the road, in a tough environment, against a good team, to fight back and stay calm with a chance there to win it at the end  it’s a good sign of things to come.”

Coming off of a 2-0 victory against the reining Eastern Conference champion New York Red Bulls, TFC can begin to feel encouraged about their squad. After conceding a league-high 58 goals in 2015, it seems as though Greg Vanney’s side will be much more stout this season.

“We have a very mature backline now, with guys that have played a lot of matches as professionals,” Vanney said. “Three out of the four of them have played a lot of matches in this league in particular, and Damien [Perquis] now has a year under his belt as well. Between those four and Michael [Bradley] in front of them, I think they’re very confident. Again, for us it helped when we started to get the organization of people in front of them and then their reads became much easier.”

An untimely challenge inside the penalty area by Marco Delgado led to New York’s first goal on the night, while a lack of clearance allowed for David Villa to find his second of the game, despite protest over a handball that occurred before the forward finished the chance.

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One thing that must be considered is that we’re only two matches into the season. While Toronto’s first half breakdowns weren’t ideal, the fact that Vanney’s new-look defense was able to rebound and preserve the game without another goal conceded shows the improvements from a season ago.

With the task of playing their first eight matches on the road, while BMO Field renovation is completed, Toronto will really have a gauge on how good their defense and team will be heading into the summer months.

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