This past Saturday, Toronto FC travelled to Nashville with the hopes of gathering a win. It had been more than a full calendar year since their last road victory. The Reds had previously come close against the Revolution but would depart New England with only a tie.
This time the boys would finally break the streak, winning 4-3 in exciting fashion. Lorenzo Insigne would record his first MLS goal, cranking one in from about 20 yards out. Although quiet throughout a large majority of the match, the Italian was able to produce a sudden moment of magic to secure the win.
Much like Lorenzo’s goal, most of the team’s production was due to individual quality. Richie Laryea’s elusiveness in the box led way to a penalty - as a means to prevent a clear opening on net, the Nashville defender was left with no choice but to foul him.
Toronto FC’s opening goal was another display of solo effort. Brampton native Jonathan Osorio evaded two defenders while smashing the ball past the keeper from outside 18 yard the box. The keeper had no chance to react as his vision had been impaired from the accidental screen set by his centre backs.
The individual performances of this past Saturday match up to the very best in Major League Soccer. It is without a doubt that the superior talent of Lorenzo, Richie and Jonathan Osorio can help push this team forward especially in games with lesser competition. What causes concern is that their performances alone might not be sustainable for long term success.
Nashville had outranked Toronto FC in expected goals (2.43 vs 1.84) and had outshot them by nearly double (21 vs 10). By those metrics, it would appear as if Nashville was the superior team - which at times they were. Toronto FC also struggled in set-piece defending allowing for Nashville to score on 2 corner kicks. Had it not been for the efforts of individual Toronto FC players, they could have lost considerably.
These individual moments of brilliance don’t always repeat themselves and must not be relied on upon game-in and game-out. Greater teams will be able to minimize the impact of these individuals, further exaggerating Toronto FC’s weaknesses. The hope is, as this new Toronto FC squad begins to gel, they play a more team-oriented style. Going forward, this will be the key element to more sustainable success throughout the remainder of the season.