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Toronto FC (3) - FC Dallas (1) Postgame Summary

May 4, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Toronto FC News Release


TOR - Federico Bernardeschi 45+3'

TOR - Federico Bernardeschi 52' (Jonathan Osorio)

TOR - Matty Longstaff 82' (Federico Bernardeschi, Tyrese Spicer)

DAL - Sam Junqua 87' (Jesús Ferreira, Dante Sealy)


DAL - Petar Musa 9' (caution)

DAL - Ema Twumasi 67' (caution)

TOR - Nicksoen Gomis 72' (caution)

TOR - Sigurd Rosted 90+6' (caution)


Toronto FC 6-4-1 19 points

FC Dallas 2-6-2 8 points


TORONTO FC - Sean Johnson; Kevin Long, Nicksoen Gomis, Raoul Petretta (Sigurd Rosted 17'); Federico Bernardeschi, Alonso Coello (Matty Longstaff 64'), Deybi Flores, Tyrese Spicer; Jonathan Osorio (C), Derrick Etienne Jr. (Kobe Franklin 65'), Prince Owusu (Deandre Kerr 78')

Substitutes Not Used: Luka Gavran, Aimé Mabika, Kosi Thompson, Cassius Mailula, Jesús Batiz

FC DALLAS - Maarten Paes; Sebastien Ibeagha, Nkosi Tafari, Sam Junqua; Ema Twumasi, Patrickson Delgado (Asier Illarramendi 55'), Liam Fraser, Marco Farfan (Eugene Ansah 68'); Bernard Kamungo (Tsiki Ntsabeleng 55'; Dante Sealy 72'), Paul Arriola (C) (Jesús Ferreira 46'), Petar Musa

Substitutes Not Used: Jimmy Maurer, Omar Gonzalez, Carl Sainté, Logan Farrington


Federico Bernardeschi scored his first goal of the 2024 Major League Soccer season.

With two goals and an assist, Federico Bernardeschi registered three goal contributions in a single match for the first time in his Toronto FC career.

Matty Longstaff scored his first goal for TFC.

Tyrese Spicer registered his first assist for the Reds.

Jonathan Osorio registered his first assist of the 2024 Major League Soccer season.

Derrick Etienne Jr. started his first match for Toronto FC.


Q. Big night for Federico [Bernardeschi] and big day for the Longstaff brothers.

It's funny, once it went in, the curse broke, I said that at halftime to Fede [Federico Bernardeschi], when he missed the penalty and was able to make it in there. That was it. I knew. I had a chuckle at halftime. I think that curse that was on him is lifted, and in the second half, we [Matty Longstaff] watched the Newcastle match at the same time, so we usually send text messages back and forth. And I sent him a text that said, "Your brother [Sean Longstaff] scored and I fancy you scoring, Longy," and he did. Grabbed the match ball. I'm proud of him. Proud of him.

But proud of all the boys tonight. I thought that was a really good home performance against a Dallas team that you could see came in with a bit of confidence. I think once we settled in to our rhythm, we were in control. It was nice. I enjoyed it.

Q. What do you gain by playing Derrick Etienne Jr.?

Well, he's the profile we were looking for, that top of the box in 3-4-3. He hits that perfectly. I think he's just clever. He's got a real high IQ. He understands that space. And we see that. We are here. I used to keep saying to him, we used to come on and cause this absolute mayhem off the bench in those pockets of space.

Again, he draws plays, so that brings more space for Oso [Jonathan Osorio] and Prince [Owusu] and hoping to lead Fede [Federico Bernardeschi] out wide. Really happy with his performance tonight. He didn't get a goal or an assist but you can see he's a handful.

Q. I thought we saw some of the relief from Fede [Federico Bernardeschi] after the first goal. What did you see?

It was a nice moment. I think the whole team, when it happened, you know, when he took it away, I thought, this guy, he's cursed, he's generally cursed.

But getting the penalty, and when he missed it, but great he knocked it in. It set him up. He's been setting that left foot shot up for nearly a year and a half, hadn't he, waiting for that one. But it was a beautiful goal and one that only he can score in this league.

So it's exciting. I enjoyed it tonight. Yeah, I think the fans are starting to believe that this TFC team is going to, one, put a shift in for them; two, turn up; and three, keep them in the running.

Q. Fede [Federico Bernardeschi] is a veteran guy that's been around the block, but do you have to talk to him when he's going through this kind of a stretch he was going through? Because he was doing a lot on the field. He just wasn't getting good balls.

Our conversations, I really enjoy working with Fede [Federico Bernardeschi]. So many different layers to him. I asked him just to stay focused on his leadership and as I keep saying to him, if you keep focusing on modeling your leadership, good things happen to good leadership, and the universe will turn, and it did. That's what happens.

It was on the day of my sister's passing; so I knew she would do something for us tonight, and she made some good things happen. So there's probably some divine intervention going on.

Q. Any early word on [Raoul] Petretta?

Yeah, it was naughty. I thought it was naughty. No word yet. We're thin enough as it is going into this stretch, and our fingers are crossed.

But if he has to come out that early, I can't imagine we'll see him any time soon. This will be a big problem for us, yeah.

Q. You've limited them [FC Dallas] to two shots on target, what was the key to limiting them in the final third?

We had a sense that they would be very direct. We had a sense that they would try and bring those center midfielders on to the ball and find the channels in behind. So they had a strategy to draw your wide center back into the half space and then try and find the player in behind.

I think the guys committed to that. We got caught early with the second phase pickups, but once we saw and solved that, I thought it was a strong performance defensively. So I just think, again, you come back to some of the key tactical challenges we knew they would pose and it played out how we thought once we got into the rhythm.

Again you're able to play a player like Federico Bernardeschi at wingback. He's going to do that work. That's a player that's willing to do the ownership for his team regardless. We have a lot of lads like that are putting big shifts in. I think, yeah, just a collective commitment to the strategy.

Q. How important is it for the team to have this performance?

It's critical. This is our new phase and we knew we had to start strong. We thought we did a good job in Orlando but it wouldn't have meant much if we didn't take the win here. I think the win here has solidified the charge that we are on at the moment.

Now more importantly, starting this phase the right way at home. I think all in all, when I look at what this performance meant to the group is just trust. It's trust that we can keep these winning habits and it is a habit, winning.

With Fede's [Federico Bernardeschi] performance, what you start to see is teams put more attention on him now. Similar to what was happening with [Lorenzo] Insigne and when he scores two wonder goals and all of a sudden you have three players over to that side of the field quickly. Fede [Federico Bernardeschi] is starting to show that he can win games on his own again.

Q. Is this about where you thought you would be at this point?

No chance. I mean, it's where you visualize. You have to visualize, and then you do everything you can to manifest it with the culture, with everything that you're throwing into it.

But if you think this team for the last three years have been nowhere near this sort of echelon. You know, you'll get the narrative, this is a good squad, it really was a good squad, and that's where it should be and that narrowed the shifts. But we're just focused on the next game, next three points.

We've got a target for this window, and if we stay as disciplined and committed, we can reach that target, particularly with the home games we've got. So stay humble. Keep our feet on the ground. One game at a time. Get the Cup game out of the way this week. That's going to be a tough match in Montréal. And then NYFC. I know the lads are really looking forward to that match.

Q. What do the next few days look like going into the Montreal match? And how does that affect squad rotation?

We've already spoke to a group of players. We tend to set missions up. So one group is already on mission for this game. They have been working as a unit. They have been looking at the scouting for the game.

So we've got one group already ahead of the game. And they are ready to take Monday, a heavy day tactically. We have about nine, ten players that are just ready to play this match, and we've got another group that will be ready to come into the match to finish. So as I've said to the lads, going into these games, we take nothing for granted. This is a quarterfinal.

You're two steps away from a Canadian Championship. It will be all hands to the punt, and there will be no one getting left home and there will be no one allowed to take a day off.

The lads, the best 18 players will be on that airplane and traveling to Montréal to get that result.


Q. Big day for the Longstaff brothers. John said that you watched your brother [Sean] score today. Did you think you might have one in you today?

I'm not sure on that. But I've been due a goal for a while. Just thankful it came today. Obviously, my brother scoring earlier, that gives you a bit of a push of a bit extra rivalry with the siblings. It's good that we both scored.

Q. A nice winning streak. What's working for you guys?

Obviously, we've got a top coach which always helps you that sets really good plans. I've seen that in games where we dominate. Like tonight, I think we dominated large spells, and then towards the end, we come under the cosh a little bit and had a good structure defensive.

Obviously, disappointed to concede the goal but I think that's nitpicking. But ultimately, that's what the best teams do. Obviously, we are disappointing conceding, but as I said before, I think we have good structure and yeah, we've got a good squad this year. I think it's been pretty big having everyone starting and on the bench pulling their weight, rather than just one or the other.

Q. Can you break down the goal? Did you anticipate Federico [Bernardeschi] playing in a six-yard cross?

Yeah, obviously I think when you've got someone of Fede's qualities, when he's on the ball, you try and make runs because he can find you. When he first got up, I thought he was going to shoot and then he touches behind him, and he makes reverse passes all the time in training. I just kind of thought if I go, he'll see me.

It was an unbelievable pass from Fede and made it easier for me to score.

Q. It looked like the whole team celebrated Federico [Bernardeschi] finally getting his goal. Is that the sense with the group?

Definitely, Fede is massive for us. I think we've shown in the good streak we are on how important he's been. Always say it's not just his ability. His determination, his mindset is unbelievable, and we see it every day in training. I think when you've got your top players who are training like that and have the mentality, you have to get on board. You have to get as close as you can to their level to be able to get near them.

Like I said, everyone is so happy for them because of all the hard work he's put in and all that he's done for the team, he deserves it.

Q. How special is it for the team getting that goal?

Obviously, it's good. Probably cliché, but I think the more important thing was kind of scoring to help the team obviously. I thought we dominated for such a long period of the game, and then we come under a little bit of pressure.

So when you score in the third, it kind of kills them. I know they got their goal but there's no real danger of losing the game once you get the third.

Q. It's a really busy stretch for you guys. What do the next few days look like?

Have to go to the gym after this, so I'll need to have a word with them. No, we've got a good squad here. I'm sure the team will get rotated this month. Just about recovering, doing the right things and getting ready for Wednesday.

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