TORONTO, Canada—Sunday night mercifully put an end to Toronto FC’s 2021 MLS regular season, which was essentially over months before their final game. Though they were officially eliminated from playoff contention on October 16, less than a month before their season finale on November 7, TFC did not offer very many optimistic moments throughout the year.
Defensive miscues haunt TFC yet again
Almost every aspect of TFC’s game was below league standard this season, but their defensive miscues may have been the most consistent part of their game.
Sunday night’s match with DC United followed a script that TFC became all too familiar with this season. Toronto conceded three goals in the first half on the way to their eighteenth loss of the season.
Allowing three goals in a game became a somewhat consistent trend for TFC this year. The reds allowed three or more goals in nine different games this season, all of which were losses. To put that in perspective TFC allowed three or more goals three times in 2019, seven times in 2018 and three times in 2017.
The reds had a negative 27 goal differential this season to go along with 66 goals against, both of which stand alone as club records. In a sense TFC made history in multiple categories this year, unfortunately all of these records were the worst in team history.
A little too easy for DC here— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) November 7, 2021
Laryea gives the fans a reason to celebrate
Not every aspect of TFC’s season should be considered a failure. The progression of Canadian born right-back Richie Laryea has been exciting to watch for his club, national team and clubs all over the world.
It would appear that Laryea is one of the most intriguing MLS players who could potentially move to a club in Europe once the next transfer window opens. Having already represented his country on multiple occasions, Laryea is rapidly drawing interest from big name clubs oversea — and wants to move overseas if the right transfer presents itself.
Laryea has always been known for his speed and ability to draw fouls, but a new skill that he showed off today was his ability to shoot from distance. Laryea received a pass from fellow Canadian international Jonathan Osorio roughly thirty yards away from goal. He dribbled the ball forward a few steps before firing a shot past DC United goalkeeper, Bill Hamid. Lareya’s third goal of the season was TFC’s lone goal of the game, but it was certainly one that scouts will look back at when determining whether or not to pursue Lareya this off-season.
Whether or not Laryea has played his last MLS game for TFC is yet to be seen, but if today was in fact his last game in a TFC uniform, he will at least know that he brought the fans at BMO Field to their feet with an impressive goal from long range in his final match with the club.
One (potentially) last standing ovation for Justin Morrow
The soccer game between Toronto FC and DC United was rightfully the second biggest event at BMO field tonight. Longtime TFC defender Justin Morrow announced earlier in the year that this season would be his last playing professional soccer.
The 34 year old played 254 MLS regular season games where he scored eighteen goals and had nineteen assists for TFC since his arrival from San Jose Earthquakes in 2014. Morrow was a fan favourite in Toronto and he was a crucial member of the 2017 MLS cup championship team.
During pre-game warmups a video consisting of former and current teammates as well as members of Morrow’s family was playing on the scoreboard. Just before kickoff TFC president Bill Manning and General manager Ali Curtis presented Morrow with a framed jersey while Morrow’s wife and kids brought him flowers. A nice touch to commemorate his special day was the fact that Morrow was wearing the captain’s armband for the match.
The most memorable highlight of the night came in the 90th minute when Morrow was subbed off for forward Patrick Mullins. Morrow was bombarded with the applause of every fan, staff member and player at BMO field that night. At the conclusion of the game TFC players thanked the fans for their support all season by throwing hundreds of miniature soccer balls into the stands. A few players signed autographs and took pictures with fans, one of course being Morrow. The last action of Morrow’s night was running around the stadium trying to high five all the fans crowded near the front row of seats. It was truly a night filled with magical moments for a player who devoted so much of his time and effort to the club and city of Toronto.