Toronto FC were defeated 2-0 by their Western Conference rivals, the Seattle Sounders, on Saturday night at BMO Field.
Goals on either side of halftime from the Sounders provided Brian Schmetzer’s side with their fourth consecutive victory over TFC.
Schmetzer opted to rest key players on Saturday with Stefan Frei, Cristian Roldan, Albert Rusnak, and Jordan Morris all allowed to stay in Seattle.
For the home side, Quentin Westberg reclaimed his place between the posts after a knock kept him out of the match against the Columbus Crew. Carlos Salcedo returned to the defence following his time away from the team, and Jonathan Osorio got the start in the middle of the park.
The Reds found it difficult to break out of their own half early on, with Seattle’s midfield pushing high and keeping the home side penned in their own half. Both teams struggled to find the killer pass when in the final third, in what was a cagey start to the match.
Jonathan Osorio had the prospect of opening the scoring in the 36th minute after Kosi Thompson dashed down the right and chipped a ball to the midfielder. Osorio’s half volley was inaccurate as he perhaps rushed the shooting chance.
Just three minutes later, Seattle would quiet the BMO Field crowd.
Brazilian winger Leo Chu got by Carlos Salcedo down the left and crossed into the box. Dylan Teves got free and slotted home for his first MLS goal in his first league start, leading the away side into the half with a 1-0 lead.
Bob Bradley would make a couple halftime substitutions in hopes of sparking some life into his side, with Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty and Deandre Kerr replacing Luca Petrasso and Ayo Akinola.
Kerr had a chance to equalize in the 50th minute, but the Ajax native couldn’t get his head on the end of a sublime diagonal from Michael Bradley.
Seattle would then get a chance of their own in the 52nd. Fredy Montero brought down a ball in the box and fired it past a panicked Westberg, but it would hit the crossbar and bounce back into play.
In the 54th, Jesus Jimenez fed a clever ball into Alejandro Pozuelo, but Sounders keeper Stefan Cleveland came out to to stretch the leg and deny the Spanish midfielder on what was his 100th appearance for Toronto FC.
With the match starting to open up, it would be Seattle who found the crucial second goal of the game at the hour mark. Montero doubled his side’s lead after Nicolas Lodeiro threaded the ball behind Toronto’s backline and into the path of the Sounders’ all-time leading scorer. Montero made no mistake with the finish, sliding it past Westberg.
TFC would have a few opportunities to get back into the game, but the shooting boots seemed to be missing for the hosts on Saturday night.
In the 73rd, the ball would fall to Osorio from a Pozuelo corner, but the Canadian international was unable to make clean contact with the ball, sending it wide.
With seven minutes of normal time remaining, Ralph Priso tried to replicate his winner against Atlanta United with a left footed effort from distance. Cleveland dove to his right to gather the ball. Cleveland, who is usually the backup to former TFC keeper Stefan Frei, made six saves on the night for his fourth career MLS clean sheet.
With the 2-0 scoreline, TFC were shutout for the fifth time in MLS this season and will feel disappointed that they couldn’t pick up at least a point against an undermanned Sounders side.
The Reds have now conceded the first goal in seven of their ten MLS home matches this season.
Speaking to the media postgame, Bob Bradley spoke about his side’s poor first half performance.
The Reds will host the San Jose Earthquakes on July 9th in their next match, where Lorenzo Insigne and Domenico Criscito are both in line to make their long-awaited Toronto FC debuts.