By Jerry Mancini.
Toronto FC played out a 0-0 draw with New England Revolution on Saturday evening, earning a rare point on the road.
This was Toronto’s first point away from home since May when they tied DC United 2-2. Winning on the road has been difficult this season as they remain winless (0-7-4) and have earned just four of 33 possible points.
In the 81st minute, Toronto was denied the opportunity to take the lead and earn their first win away from BMO Field. New England goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic made a massive save as he stopped Lorenzo Insigne from the penalty spot.
It was a frustrating night for Insigne, who had his opportunities yet failed to convert.
“I think he stayed in the game in a good way. He was disappointed afterwards with himself,” TFC manager Bob Bradley said of Insigne missing the penalty.
“You know, as the game went on, you get a little bit more used to some of the bounces. He had some moments early where he was just frustrated with touches and things like that but he stuck with it.
“He got some chances. He’s always, in terms of finding space, sewing certain passes, being creative. I think he does a lot of good things.”
However, as time progresses, Insigne will adapt to MLS. He arrived late along with Federico Bernardeschi and they have had minimal training, which has made it difficult as they are still settling into the league.
“It’s just so important to keep reminding everyone; that for both Lorenzo and for Federico, this is still like preseason,” added Bradley.
“I mean, there’s been so few training sessions that we’ve even had regular full training sessions. The day before a game or a recovery day — those aren’t real training sessions.
“When guys arrive, and now the season is going, we’ve passed the midpoint, and these guys are trying to jump in, understand the league, get a feel for things — travel, different kind of surfaces, it’s not easy.”
Although TFC failed to register a goal versus New England, the defensive side of their game has vastly improved in the past week.
After struggling to record a shutout in 29 straight matches, they have managed to earn back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season. The last time they managed this was October 2020 with a pair of 1-0 wins versus New England and FC Cincinnati.
The production from their No. 9 has diminished significantly. Jesus Jimenez has one goal in the last fourteen league matches and two goals in the past seventeen matches across all competitions. After a strong start to the year, he’s cooled off and lost his form.
Change from Bob Bradley could be on the horizon. Ayo Akinola has earned seven starts this season and an increase in playing time could benefit Toronto and the player as they look for a spark upfront in their attack.
Toronto now travels to Nashville FC as they look to extend their unbeaten streak to three matches.