The first half of the 2022 season was always going to be difficult for Toronto FC, revamping their team and electing to field a side flurried with a handful of young and inexperienced players. But with big-time reinforcements on the way, Bob Bradley’s squad is rounding into form at an auspicious time.
With superstar signing Lorenzo Insigne in the stands, Toronto beat Atlanta United, 2-1, at BMO Field Saturday night, picking up their second-straight win after a 4-0 midweek triumph over CF Montréal to advance to the 2022 Canadian Championship Final.
Insigne, who arrived in Toronto on Friday, won’t be eligible to make his MLS debut until July 9 when TFC take on the San Jose Earthquakes at BMO Field, two days after the MLS Secondary Transfer Window opens. But the sheer presence of the league’s record-signing has appeared to give a lift to the Reds, who are now unbeaten in six of their last seven matches in all competitions.
“It’s a good time to get going,” Jonathan Osorio told reporters after the match. “I think the guys that have been [here] for a while, the core guys, we know how important these summer months are in this league – especially this stretch with the amount of home games that we have. We understand the importance.”
“Now with the summer window coming, I know the club is going to be making moves as you’ve already seen and you’re hearing, and so it’s exciting," Osorio added. "It’s exciting that everything is coming together as it should all at the right time it feels like.”
Toronto FC have two matches remaining before the opening of the Secondary Transfer Window, both at home, where they’ve found a ton of success this season. All five of Toronto’s wins this season have come at BMO Field.
Dating back to last September, their last eight wins in MLS have all come at home, meaning this next stretch of matches could be pivotal for the club to position themselves in an ideal position ahead of Insigne’s potential debut.
After Week 16, Toronto are just five points back of the seventh and final Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs spot in the Eastern Conference with a 5W-8L-3D record (18 points).
Furthermore, for 19-year-old midfielder Ralph Priso, who scored a golazo to propel the Reds to victory on Saturday night, the experience Toronto’s youngsters have been given will only benefit the team heading into the second half of the year.
“I know fans are frustrated because maybe the results haven’t been great, but I think in the long term the minutes that young guys are playing are going to help us,” Priso told TSN sideline reporter Matthew Scianitti after the game. “We have guys coming in to help us push forward and the experience we’ve acquired while other guys weren’t here will only help the team going forward, so I think it’s been great.”
Toronto will try to pick up their third win in as many matches on Wednesday when they take on the Columbus Crew (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; TSN in Canada).
Could this be the start of TFC’s turnaround?
WATCH: Toronto FC finding form before Lorenzo Insigne debuts