Marky Delgado

Getty Images

Toronto outclass helpless FC Cincy (video)

Leave a comment

The game in 200 words (or less): Toronto played a near-flawless game, but the reflectors are on a wounded FC Cincinnati. Saturday’s 5-1 loss is a fourth straight for the expansion side, who haven’t won a regular season game since mid July. Over the course of the season, FC Cincy have conceded 72 goals, tying the league record set by Orlando City last season with five games left to play. Thus far, there are no sings of improvement under coach Ron Jans, who was appointed over the summer. The Reds, on the hand, benefited from a poor opponent and from having the likes of Michael Bradley and Omar Gonzalez on the field, who were denied to join the USMNT by Toronto in order to focus on the team’s playoff push. It worked this time around, but they’ll need similar shifts from them – and Jozy Altidore – moving forward with the Reds just four points above the red line.

Three moments that mattered

10′ — Mullins opens the floodgates  — Superb finish by Mullins, horrid defending from Cincinnati.

28′ — Delgado headers it home   — Again, where are the defenders?

63′ — Bradley scores Toronto’s fourth  — This is exactly why the Reds didn’t allow Bradley to join the USMNT.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Marky Delgado

Goalscorers: Mullins (10′), DeLeon(21′), Delgado (28′), Bradley (63′), Benezet (85′), Ledesma (92’+2)

McKennie latest youngster to pull out of USMNT injured, Delgado added

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Christian Pulisic. Tyler Adams. Weston McKennie. What do all three of these players have in common?

If you answered that they’re all young, promising American talent who represent the core of the national team’s rebuild, you would be correct. You’d also be correct if you said they’re all injured.

Pulisic and Adams both pulled out of the USMNT squad for the upcoming international break last week, and on Sunday U.S. Soccer announced that McKennie would be the latest casualty.

The 20-year-old midfielder was withdrawn in the 79th minute of Schalke’s 2-0 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday. Before the injury, McKennie had enjoyed a fantastic week. He scored his first goal for the club on Wednesday, the winner in a 1-0 Champions League victory over Lokomotiv Moscow. He followed that up in Saturday’s win with his first Bundesliga goal, striking the decisive goal just minutes after the halftime break.

Since the United States failed to make the 2018 World Cup, McKennie has been a central figure in Dave Sarachen’s youth movement. He has earned six caps, including appearances in each of the last five USMNT games. He scored on his debut, a 1-1 draw against Portugal.

Toronto F.C. midfielder Marky Delgado was added to the roster in McKennie’s place, another young player who has impressed with the national team of late. The U.S. takes on Colombia and Peru this coming week in a pair of international friendlies.

TFC on CCL loss: “Feels the heart has been ripped from the chest”

AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo
Leave a comment

Michael Bradley went 90 minutes at center back, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco scored, and Toronto FC nearly, oh-so-nearly, became the first Major League Soccer side to win a continental title in the CONCACAF Champions League era.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

“We wanted to be the first (MLS side) to lift the CONCACAF Champions League trophy,” said goalkeeper Alex Bono, according to “We failed in that goal; that’s massively disappointing. … This is the way the game goes, it’s unjust; it feels the heart has been ripped from the chest sometimes.”

Bono made some big saves in regulation as TFC flipped its 2-1 first leg loss on its ear over 90 minutes, but Chivas Guadalajara scored all four of their penalty kick attempts as Jonathan Osorio hit the bar and Bradley set his effort on a path to the moon.

That part was possibly academic, as Chivas could’ve sealed it with their fifth penalty, but Marky Delgado’s miss of a perfect Sebastian Giovinco stoppage time cross is what sent the match into kicks.

Here’s how The Toronto Sun’s Kurt Larson framed his post-match interview with Delgado, described as one of the few players not to walk past the media after the loss:

“That’s football sometimes,” Delgado searched for words. “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes it goes in. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s heartbreaking.”

It felt cruel to keep him standing there any longer.

“Wherever we are, we want to win,” the soft-spoken American said. “Unfortunately today we didn’t, but we know we dominated the game.”

And Bradley, in the season after Toronto won a trouble but also 18 months removed from missing a PK in the MLS Cup Final — not to mention marshaling the USMNT midfield in its monumental failure to qualify for the World Cup was mostly good in playing out-of-position.

“In the biggest moments, we threw caution to the wind and played with balls, bravery, and pride in ourselves, in each other, in our club and our city,” Bradley said on Canadian television outlet TSN.

They did, and now they must hope to win the Canadian Championship, MLS Supporters’ Shield, or MLS Cup to get another shot at qualifying for the Club World Cup.

Toronto loses CONCACAF Champions League in PKs

AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo
Leave a comment

Chivas Guadalajara scored on all of its penalty kicks to clinch a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League Final, breaking the hearts of Toronto FC in Mexico on Wednesday and earning a berth in the 2018 Club World Cup.

Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore scored in regulation as Toronto FC picked up a 2-1 win to reverse their first leg loss and push it to kicks.

Orbelin Pineda scored Chivas’ goal.

Hometown kid Jonathan Osorio hit the cross bar on Toronto’s second PK and Michael Bradley sent the fifth offering into outer space.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

Toronto flew out of the gates, and Rodolfo Cota came flying off his line to deny Altidore a 10th minute chance.

Alex Bono collected a header off a Chivas corner kick earned by a counterattack.

Pineda then made Toronto’s task even harder with a 19th minute goal, cooking Auro’s mark to reach a through ball and dancing around Bono for 1-0.

But Altidore was somehow unmarked for Nic Hasler’s pass despite five Chivas defenders and Cota inside the six-yard box, and TFC leveled the second leg at 1.

And TFC got the next goal through Giovinco, slipped through by Marky Delgado and taking advantage of a yard of space and a second to shoot with his fourth goal of the CCL knockout rounds.

The Reds kept coming in the second half, with Delgado winning a big 50-50 ball deep in Chivas territory and Victor Vasquez ripping a shot that Cota dove to smother.

Chivas found its footing in 58th minute, sending a shot over the bar before Jesus Godinez hit the post in the 61st (though his dive seemingly had the near post covered). Bono the next knocked a free kick over the bar from a similar position as the ball that beat him in the first leg.

Javier Lopez curled a vicious attempt just over the goal in the 72nd. He’d have the next best chances moments after Altidore subbed off with an apparent hamstring injury, but dribbled onto Bono’s lap and fired off the keeper.

Giovinco worked a 1-2 with Osorio and cruised a shot just wide of the far post in the 87th minute. Delgado then mailed a sitter over the bar in the first minute of stoppage time.

CCL: Toronto FC takes 3-1 lead over Club America

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
Leave a comment

The CONCACAF Champions League delivered on the day’s UEFA predecessors, with Toronto FC and Club America providing thrills and outstanding goals on Tuesday.

The semifinal first leg saw Toronto FC seize a two-goal advantage at a cold, sloppy BMO Field, boasting a 3-1 win ahead of the April 10 second leg at Estadio Azteca.

[ RECAPS: Juve-Real | Sevilla-Bayern ]

Sebastian Giovinco had a goal and an assist, Marky Delgado had two assists, while Jozy Altidore and Ashtone Morgan also scored for the hosts.

TFC went ahead early, with Sebastian Giovinco earning and converting a penalty kick in the ninth minute, but saw momentum halted by a mazy dribble from Andres Ibarguen. The diminutive Colombian winger took Michael Bradley twice before belting this shot past Alex Bono to make it 1-1 in the 21st minute.

Yet two of Toronto’s outstanding DPs teamed up to restore the Reds’ lead heading into halftime. Look at this ball from Giovinco to Altidore.

Being a Toronto playoff game, the event couldn’t be complete without tunnel drama. Plenty of arbiters were needed to separate several America and TFC players heading into the locker rooms a la Kljestan v. Altidore 2017.

The 58th minute saw TFC pick up what will feel like a comfort to many Canadians: a third goal. Ashtone Morgan burst into the 18 to reach a ball that was set to just miss Altidore.

Those who regularly criticize MLS will do well to witness this team goal.