Postmedia might earn an affiliate fee from purchases made via our hyperlinks on this web page.
TORONTO — The Italian job is understanding properly for Toronto FC.
Late targets by Italian stars Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi lifted Toronto to a 3-1 win over Portland in Main League Soccer play Saturday night time, ending the Timbers’ unbeaten run at 10 video games.
TFC (8-12-5) is now unbeaten in 4 video games (3-0-1) for the reason that Italian duo took the sphere, amassing 10 of a doable 12 factors with Insigne and Bernardeschi main the best way. The membership had managed simply eight factors in its earlier 14 league video games (2-10-2) relationship again to mid-April.
Bernardeschi (three targets and two assists) and Insigne (two targets and one help) have been concerned in eight of Toronto’s final 10 targets.
Toronto coach Bob Bradley, who should have been awaiting their midseason arrival like a child on Christmas Eve, shouldn’t be stunned.
“Look, these guys carry some particular qualities,” he mentioned by the use of understatement.
Since their arrival, Toronto has defeated Charlotte 4-0, tied New England 0-0 and overwhelmed Nashville 4-3 and Portland 3-1. The membership has additionally posted its first shutout and highway win of the season.
With 9 video games left, Toronto shouldn’t be out of the playoff hunt, though there are various groups between it and the playoff line within the congested Jap Convention. And TFC is exhibiting itself to be a prickly opponent.
The Italian tide is lifting everybody.
Jonathan Osorio opened scoring Saturday along with his team-leading ninth of the season — and third within the final two video games. Captain Michael Bradley, Bob’s son, arrange Insigne for the second time in as many video games — though he didn’t get an help Saturday — and had two targets himself towards Charlotte.
“When you may have good gamers, it doesn’t take lengthy for different good gamers to measurement them up,” mentioned Bob Bradley.
Fullback Richie Laryea had two assists on the night time, bringing his whole to a few within the two video games he has performed since rejoining the staff on mortgage from England’s Nottingham Forest.
Whereas Toronto dominated the sport for lengthy stretches, it appeared headed for a 1-1 draw after Portland defender Josecarlos Van Rankin’s objective within the 73rd minute. Yimmi Chara despatched the ball towards the penalty field and veteran playmaker Sebastian Blanco flicked it on to fellow Mexican Van Rankin, who beat Alex Bono for his first MLS objective.
Toronto had been in command of the match, pulling forward on Osorio’s objective within the forty first minute.
Insigne and Bernardeschi restored order late.
Bradley made Insigne’s objective within the 79th minute, scooping the ball into the penalty field towards Insigne. His go bounced off a defender and Insigne swung his leg, slotting it house. The objective was properly deserved for Insigne, who had been harmful all sport lengthy.
Then, after a marvellous save by Portland’s Slovenian goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic on substitute Ayo Akinola, Bernardeschi scored with a curling left-footed shot within the eighty fifth.
Toronto outshot Portland 23-3 (12-2 in photographs on track) and had 56.7% possession..
Toronto might have scored extra on the night time, coming on the Portland defence in waves on Canadian Armed Forces Evening earlier than an appreciative sellout crowd of 28,598 at BMO Discipline.
Ivacic was a standout, maintaining the Timbers within the sport till the Italian duo struck.
The Timbers (7-7-12) had been coming off successive ties towards Minnesota, Nashville and Dallas and had gone 4-0-6 of their earlier 10 outings, making for the longest energetic unbeaten streak in MLS. Their final loss was Might 28, a 2-1 setback at Inter Miami.
“It’s painful, however I believe there’s rather a lot to be taught from this sport,” mentioned Portland coach Giovanni Savarese.
“I consider we performed a good match,” he added. “I felt that in moments not everybody was placing the identical quantity of labor that wanted to be put in. However we had been nonetheless in a position to defend properly nearly all of time and create moments offensively.”
Toronto had the very best probabilities of the primary half, turning up the stress as the sport wore on. That produced a objective within the forty first minute when, after a pleasant give-and-go with Insigne, Laryea reduce into the field, danced previous defender Claudio Bravo and fed an open Osorio, who slotted the ball house for his team-leading ninth objective of the season — and fifth in six video games.
The shifty Laryea, marking his return to BMO Discipline since returning on mortgage from Nottingham Forest, is a penalty ready to occur when he enters the opposition penalty field.
Toronto outshot Portland 12-1 (6-0 in photographs on track) on the primary half with 57.2% possession.
Portland went into weekend play in seventh spot within the Western Convention, simply above the playoff line.
Toronto was thirteenth within the East however simply 4 factors out of the playoffs. Nonetheless, there have been 5 groups — Orlando, Miami, New England, Charlotte and Atlanta — between TFC and seventh-place Chicago, which held down the ultimate post-season berth.
Referee Nima Saghafi’s name of the sport appeared to displease either side, with loads of protests over each calls and non-calls.
Saturday marked the groups’ first assembly since April 2019 when the Timbers gained 2-1 for the primary time in six profession visits (1-4-1) to BMO Discipline. Portland had gained the final two matchups with TFC’s final victory a 4-1 choice at BMO Discipline on Aug. 12, 2017, when Toronto topped the league in its championship season.
Solely Michael Bradley, Osorio, goalkeeper Quentin Westberg and defender Chris Mavinga stay from the Toronto starters that day.
Toronto midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye missed his third straight sport with a decrease physique harm.
Toronto hosts New England on Wednesday earlier than visiting Inter Miami subsequent Saturday.