Criscito, Bernardeschi lead Toronto FC to 2-2 draw against New England Revolution

·4 min read

TORONTO — Despite picking up one point and extending its unbeaten streak to five games, the general feeling around Toronto FC players and coaches was that of disappointment.

Behind an early goal from Federico Bernardeschi and the game-tying marker from Domenico Criscito, TFC finished with a 2-2 draw against a short-handed New England Revolution team Wednesday night.

Still sitting on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, being three points out in 11th place, head coach Bob Bradley felt as though the team could have done more and given up less to win.

"A good team on a night like tonight scores more than two goals, especially when you consider that one's a penalty and one's just the wonder strike," he said. "And we don't give up two goals given the way the game went.

"At 2-2, there's real momentum to just finish the game (and) get a third, and we weren't able to do that. So disappointed on that."

The concern for Toronto, despite many chances created, were the ones that were missed.

After multiple missed scoring chances by Lorenzo Insigne and Ayo Akinola in the box, Jayden Nelson opened the door for the easiest scoring opportunity of the night.

Following a Nelson through ball to Akinola that led to a Christian Makoun penalty inside the box, Bernardeschi scored with ease on a penalty kick in the 31st minute.

Six minutes later, the Revolution answered back as Thomas McNamara scored in front of the net after TFC goalkeeper Alex Bono saved two shots from McNamara and Justin Rennicks from inside the box.

Multiple opportunities that Bernardeschi allowed Jonathan Osorio and weren't taken advantage of closed out a half in which Toronto had 61.5 per cent possession.

"Some of the key moments tonight, I don't think we were as sharp as we needed to be," said Bob Bradley. "For the number of times we were right around their box, I think we needed to do better."

In the second half, the Revs got going early as Rennicks received a pass from midfielder Carles Gil who found him behind Toronto defender Lukas MacNaughton and fired one past Bono to quickly put his side up 2-1.

With the crowd silenced, it took TFC some time to get past the string of continued missed opportunities — and a bit of bad luck on a questionable call.

In the 59th minute, Richie Laryea found himself streaking to the net taking a pass from Nelson, but was tackled in the box by DeJuan Jones as the ball rolled away. The crowd followed it with deafening boos as no call was made.

Two minutes later, Bernardeschi struck a shot right into Petrovic's hands inside the box. The 28-year-old threw his hands up in disappointment after. In the 70th minute, Insigne headed the ball off a Bernardeschi cross that was narrowly cleared by Omar Gonzalez at the goal line.

After five minutes passed, Bernardeschi passed the ball on a corner to Michael Bradley who sent a cross to the opposite end of the box. Criscito volleyed it straight past Petrovic as the crowd of 28,464 went into a frenzy with the game tied 2-2.

Another missed opportunity from forward Jesus Jimenez, who sent a shot wide left of the net as he streaked into the box in the 82nd minute all but sealed it.

"This is definitely two points that we definitely did miss out. Especially in the second half when it was just literally us, pinning them back down," Akinola said. "We had chances on chances on chances. This was definitely a game that we definitely slipped up, for sure."

Toronto (8-12-6) now sits in a two-way tie with Chicago (8-11-6) at 30 points. Charlotte is in 10th with 32 points, while Cincinnati (8-8-9), Miami (9-10-6) and Orlando (9-10-6), who hold the final playoff spot at seventh, are tied with 33 points. Orlando holds the tiebreaker having beaten Miami, which is in eighth, in their lone meeting this season.

New England (8-7-10) was able to jump from eighth to sixth with the one point from Wednesday's draw.

With eight games remaining, Michael Bradley still feels as though his team could make the best of what's left in the regular season.

"Frustrating to leave two points on the table, especially at home," he said. "There's still a lot of points on the board and we're in a good way. We just got to keep going one game at a time."

Midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye missed his fourth consecutive game for Toronto. On the other end, New England was missing leading goal scorer Gustavo Bou due to a leg injury.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2022.

Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press