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Toronto FC 4-4 D.C. United: The good, the bad & the ugly

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A match befitting the bottom two teams in the Eastern Conference.

MLS: D.C. United at Toronto FC Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

The World Cup is coming to town!... Ryan Telfer’s first MLS assist... Nick Hagglund’s head... the return of Justin Morrow... Alex Bono’s two amazing saves late in the first half to keep the deficit at three... Jonathan Osorio equaling his goalscoring total from 2015, 2016, and 2017, combined... Michael Bradley’s chance-saving interception late in the second half... the move between Telfer and Vazquez in the fourth minute... Gregory van der Wiel with another strong showing on the left. He had eight recoveries, two victorious aerial challenges and a 91% pass success rate... Auro Jr.’s hustle and passion... the fans have finally had enough. The boos and whistles at the end of the first half were fully deserved and must continue with every sub-par performance. There are no more excuses!... in the same vein, Steven Caldwell’s call-to-arms during the halftime show was absolutely spot-on.

MLS: D.C. United at Toronto FC Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bad

TSN’s “keys to the match.” For Toronto it was “finish on a high.” For D.C. it was “kick start the season.” Those are slogans, not insightful analytics... TFC‘s meaningless possession in the first half — 59% of the ball and not a single shot on target!... Tosaint Ricketts was useless. He didn’t get on the end of a single pass. He was just a red shirt in the box that attracted attention. Anyone could have done that... Caldwell’s kiss of death. As soon as he pronounced the home side as the likely victors, Yamil Asad bagged D.C.‘s fourth goal... how did Hasler not get a shot on target when he was sprung in the fifth minute?... Alex Bono’s distribution needs a bit of work... given that seven of the eight goals were scored on the same net, the new pitch is clearly tilted towards the south end... speaking of the Supporters‘ Section, I don’t understand the “football without ultras is nothing” banner... Nico Hasler had a poor outing. He only attempted five crosses (all of which were unsuccessful), he only had one successful dribble versus five unsuccessful dribbles, and he didn‘t record a single shot on goal... the wind patterns at BMO. They are worse than at some USL facilities (see “ugly,” below).

MLS: D.C. United at Toronto FC Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Ugly

The excitement of the second half masked the fact that this was not a performance worthy of a U-12 squad, let alone the 2017 treble winners... Eriq Zavaleta’s brain fart on the third goal... TFC’s pathetic defensive effort for the entire match. The second half only seemed better defensively because the team forced the play offensively against a parked bus... the $1.3 million man (Ager Aketxe) remained on the bench despite the team desperately needing offence in the second half... imagine the massacre that would have been if Wayne Rooney was on the pitch... Bill Manning’s announcement that the current plan for 2026 is to install more temporary stands at BMO Field. In comparison to the newer MLS parks (and a couple of older ones), BMO Field needs a permanent facelift.