The challenge for new Toronto FC coach Bob Bradley is clear: fix the roster. Restore the identity. To win

On Thanksgiving south of the border, Michael Bradley, the American-born Toronto FC captain, knew exactly what his father was going to do: delve into his new job as the club’s head coach and sporting director.

The day before, at his introductory press conference, Bob Bradley said there was a lot of work to be done after a season lost by a team that had reached the MLS Cup final three times from 2016 and 2019.

“Wherever I’ve been, I’ve just tried to go in without pretending I have all the answers, and see if I can go in and turn my ideas into something,” said 63-year-old Bradley. Wednesday.

Here’s a look at four of the areas he’s likely to focus on:

The identity

Team president Bill Manning said on Wednesday that Toronto FC has lost the “great” culture that developed during a successful run, including winning the 2017 championship at BMO Field. Getting that back – involving everyone from players to staff to management – ​​is a high priority for Bradley, who sees the ability to challenge people to improve as one of his strengths. “There weren’t enough moments this year where everyone was really involved during the game,” said the new coach, who recently retired from Los Angeles FC and has seen all of his son’s games.

the grid

Manning expects significant roster changes in the off-season. That process starts with assessing what they have and what they don’t have.

Designated player Alejandro Pozuelo, who had had a bad year with injuries and a personal matter, said the Reds didn’t have “enough big players” last season. There are rumors that the other two designated players, Jozy Altidore and Yeferson Soteldo, both still under contract, are not coming back. By quickly resolving these situations, it becomes clear what resources TFC can use to bring in new talent.

“The situation with Jozy is unclear,” said coach Bradley. “That’s been part of the problem. It’s been up in the sky, so it looks like it’s just a cloud hanging around. I’m sure there will be discussions at some point, and that part needs to be clear.”

There are other important concerns. Canadian internationals Richie Laryea and Jonathan Osorio, both core players, have expressed interest in moving to Europe. Successful MLS teams need players like them, one level below designated players, but essential to make the lineup click. Finding a way to keep them happy and in the fold is a necessity to avoid a full rebuild in the near future.

“It’s a reset to say to players in some cases: you’ve had good days here, but where are you? Is this the right place for you? Are you committed?” Bradley said.

The style

Under former coach Greg Vanney, Toronto FC played a high volume of passing, moving the ball quickly and maintaining possession. That changed under replacement Chris Armas, who was sacked midway through last season. Bradley’s teams are known for hitting high and hitting the ball on the ground, while creating chances in the transition. The key for the coach will be to find and stick to the style that best suits his players.

That starts from the back. Toronto FC leaked 66 goals in 34 league matches this year. Better defense should be the number one priority – and not just from players in the backline.

“When you lose the ball, everyone is involved in the defense,” said Bradley. “There’s really an idea of ​​how you can make it difficult for the other team… this collective mindset and collective push.”

the next wave

The Reds’ newcomers, including Ayo Akinola, Jacob Shaffelburg, Ralph Priso, will play a big part in Bradley’s planning. The current roster consists of nine players aged 24 or under. The coach calls the emerging group ‘exciting’, but expects progress. It’s up to Bradley to put them in a position to improve while balancing the needs of the more experienced players on the pitch.


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. De Ster does not endorse these opinions.


Leave a Comment