Making the postseason proved to be too tall a task in the Reds’ first year under Bradley. Despite flashes of attacking brilliance, Toronto won just three matches since the start of August. Down the stretch, they conceded four goals in three consecutive games, an unceremonious and brutal way to be eliminated.
“You hurt yourself over and over in the same ways, in the latter part of the year where we thought we could put together a run,” said Bob Bradley, ruing the defensive mistakes that allowed Orlando to score four times at Exploria Stadium.
“It’s easy to see that we still make mistakes in key parts of the field,” the American coaching legend added. “In this stretch, in this last period, we’ve talked about our goalkeeping; it hasn’t been as good as it needs to be if you’re going to make a real run. And then the number of guys that you can count on every game that keep up with the game, make the right choices, make the right plays, compete at the highest level… we still need to add to the group.”
While Toronto have enhanced their roster significantly, including reportedly making Insigne the highest-paid player in MLS history, it’s still early in the new project and a third DP spot will likely be used in the winter. Perhaps the issues ran deep enough that a single season was never enough time to turn things around. But missing the postseason for a second straight year is still painful.
“You know it’s not going to be easy to get into the playoffs, to do the things that we would like to,” said Michael Bradley. “But the frustration of certain things, the disappointment in certain moments, we’ve let that get the better of us.”