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Colorado Rapids (0) - Toronto FC (0) Post Game Summary

September 25, 2021 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Toronto FC News Release


MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

COL - Mark-Anthony Kaye 45+2' (caution)

TOR - Patrick Mullins 70' (caution)

RECORDS (W-L-D)

Toronto FC 4-15-7 19 points

Colorado Rapids 12-4-9 45 points

LINEUPS

TORONTO FC - Alex Bono; Auro Jr., Eriq Zavaleta (Justin Morrow 75'), Chris Mavinga (Omar González 33'), Kemar Lawrence, Richie Laryea; Mark Delgado, Noble Okello, Jonathan Osorio (C), Yeferson Soteldo (Jacob Shaffelburg 76'); Patrick Mullins (Ifunanyachi Achara 71')

Substitutes Not Used: Quentin Westberg, Kevin Silva, Luke Singh, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Nick DeLeon

COLORADO RAPIDS - William Yarbrough; Lalas Abubakar, Danny Wilson (Jonathan Lewis 69'), Auston Trusty; Keegan Rosenberry, Jack Price (C), Kellyn Acosta (Braian Galván 80'), Lucas Esteves, Andre Shinyashiki (Younes Namli 62'), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Diego Rubio 62'); Michael Barrios (Dominique Badji 69')

Substitutes Not Used: Clint Irwin, Steven Beitashour, Nicolás Mezquida, Collen Warner

MEDIA NOTES

Toronto FC recorded its second clean sheet of the 2021 MLS regular season and its first in the league since a 2-0 victory against Columbus Crew on May 12, 2021.

JAVIER PÉREZ - HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC

Q. A clean sheet tonight against a team that has not lost in a long time. Did you like what you saw?

Yes, definitely. I think I like many things of the team. I like the energy, the intensity. Like you said, a clean sheet here is very important for us. The last game they had zero (goals conceded) for the visitors here, it was on August the 7th against Sporting Kansas City, that was nine games ago, and an opponent I think similar to Nashville and an opponent that is hot now in the Western Conference.

I like the way that the team -- I like the things I start to see, how we organized defensively, how we can be organized, how we can interact with each other. But I think we have some chances, as well. I think by the end of the game, the game could go either way for them or for us, and I think the 0-0 is a fair result.

But it's at a very difficult place to get a result, as I said before for the good moment that they are having right now, Colorado. But as well, the altitude, the time difference, a lot of components, so a big congratulations to the team.

Q. You guys managed a clean sheet, despite losing two center backs tonight to injury. How happy or how satisfied are you with just the way your team defended tonight overall and can you give us an update on how Chris [Mavinga] and Eriq [Zavaleta] are doing? Do you have any information?

Yeah, it's a little bit too soon to know what they are doing. I think they are both fine. Let's see what the extent of Chris is, it looks like it was his right calf. He had some issues during the week on his left Achilles tendon and I think he was just -- his right calf was compensating that. He couldn't go any longer.

And then Eriq had a hit, so one of the Colorado players hit him from the back, but it looks like he is okay.

I'm happy with the team. I'm happy the way we defended. I think as I said before, they did a great job pretty much taking out the wingbacks that they created so much danger in previous games for them, and then the three in the middle, they were spot on. Kemar, Chris, Eriq and then Omar and Justin when he came on, and that's what is a team; that is what a team is about. When one teammate goes down, we spoke about that at the beginning of the game before the game, when a teammate goes down, the next one is going to do the job at the same level, if not better. That was a clear example today. The three in the middle, as well, they were very good covering ground, sacrificing everything for the team, two and the two up front, Yeferson and Patryk, they gave everything, and then obviously Achara and Jacob, they created a few chances towards the end of the game.

Q. It was Noble's first MLS game since he got the red card against Montréal. Obviously he played against York but this was a very tricky road game. How do you think he rebounded off the disappointment of that red card, and starting a big game like this, what was your overall evaluation of him?

Yeah, he knew that he had to have a good game tonight. He had to have a good performance; that he couldn't go away with an average performance, and I think he did the job that we asked him. He was in that position in the middle of the field, and he was doing a great job when Mark-Anthony Kaye was trying to get the ball in the middle. He was trying to get inside, and as well, trying to balance with Mark and Oso when they were doing the same job in other parts of the field.

Overall I think he was really good. He completed passes, as well, so I'm very happy with his performance tonight.

Q. You touched on this a little bit but how much of the game time was just keep things in front of you and was that the rationale behind the formation change?

Yeah, the formation change, it was just to adjust -- you have to adjust to the position, as well. It's not only how you play but as well how the opponent is playing. And in this case, we needed to make some adjustments but I think we didn't lose the sense, or we just tweak it a little bit, the formation, just to have a little bit more control.

We knew that the outside backs or wingbacks, they were creating a lot of disruption in the teams, especially we watch the game against Kansas City where they played 4-3-3 and when they played the wingbacks, the whole formation of the position gets a little bit disrupted or modified.

So we knew that we have to adjust a little bit with our shape without changing the essence. The good thing is that the players stayed faithful to the style of play and we a bit more defensive, but at the end we were solid. So that was the important part.

Q. In your previous answers, you kind of mentioned about it just kind of clicking; that it's starting to click for the team. Defensively, why do you think that is? The team has had problems keeping clean sheets but now it's two in a row. What is it specifically that you see the team is clicking at the back?

Yes, I think I said it the before. It's at the back but it's not only at the back. I think I said it the other day in the press conference. It's as well the work that the players do in the midfield.

I think, Oso, Mark, Noble tonight, as well as Michael, they do a tremendous job in the midfield, up front when we put pressure, when we do the job. It's just everybody's engaged and everybody's doing the job. It makes easier the job for the defensive line, and I think we start to get rewarded because it's a collective effort, it's a team effort.

So the players are the same, but now, we have a much better understanding of each other and how we can help each other. We know that if a guy is not having a very good game or is maybe out of play, it's not a problem because the player next to him is going to do the job and he's going to help him and he's going to cover him and he's going to watch his back. In the end that's what it's about to be in a team, and this team is changing from being a number of individuals to be that, to be a team.

NOBLE OKELLO - MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC

Q. Your thoughts on how that played out and how it felt to be back out on the pitch today?

Yeah, it felt good to be back out on the field. I thought that we played well. I thought we were very good defensively and we countered the team very well and were unlucky with the tie. I thought the team came out and did very well.

Q. Mark-Anthony Kaye is a very talented and tricky player and can create a lot for Colorado. But you and the rest of your teammates did a pretty good job of containing him and Acosta and Barrios for much of the game. In terms of Kaye, what's it like going up against him and what's the key to if not stopping him, minimizing him a little bit?

I think it was all about communication when one of the players went to the left of me or Mark or Oso, we communicated and handled him. I think we did a good job with that and asserting our presence, I thought we had a good game in the middle of the park.

Q. You haven't lost in three games. What's your take on just what the team has done overall sort of to turn things around here?

I think we just keep looking forward and each game we are looking to get better and looking to improve every day in training, and it's showing in the last games that we've played. We just keep on focusing on the next one and hopefully we can do the same thing against Cincinnati.

Q. It's our first time talking to you since you get sent off in the last MLS game. What did you take away from that experience and did Javier in or anyone else say something to you about that and what did you learn about that?

Yeah, it was a mistake I made and I learned from it and I move forward and try not to make that mistake again. It cost the team but I learned from it for the future.

Q. I know a lot of people can look at a 0-0 game and think there wasn't a lot in it but how much of a stable platform does a performance like that give to you guys in terms of moving forward?

Yeah, I think it gives us confidence going into the next game, seeing as Colorado is one of the top teams in the west, and I thought we matched up pretty well. Yeah, we'll keep working hard in training the next couple days, and we look forward to bringing the same intensity and same work rate in the next game.

Q. Again, circling back to a recent game, obviously you scored your first goal there for Toronto FC. What was that like to come out there and get that goal there against York United?

Yeah, it felt good. Obviously it was a good feeling to score my first goal at BMO Field for a club that I've been at since I was 12 years old. Yeah, I was very happy to get that milestone. I got to do it in front of all my family, as well. It was a good feeling.


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