ORLANDO, Fla. – Toronto FC have a lot of work to do and manager Aron Winter is running out of time.
Saturday night’s 2-2 draw against Orlando City in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic was far from a crisp performance by the Reds and the Dutchman has only 11 days remaining to address the deficiencies before facing the LA Galaxy in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
“I’m not happy about the way we played,” Winter said after the match. “I’m not happy about the result. We were a little bit lucky. You saw also some good things, but also some bad things. We have to work on it and improve it.
“It was too easy that we have given some occasions of goals away,” continued Winter in a criticism of his team defense. “It was too easy. But Orlando have got a decent team. They played well, organized and they were a little bit sharper than we were.”
Toronto’s new center back pairing of Ecuadorean Geovanny Caicedo and Miguel Aceval, playing their very first match alongside one another, were often exposed by the speed of Orlando’s Maxwell Griffin in the first half. Caicedo experienced the lion’s share of struggles, committing the foul that led to Orlando’s opening PK goal.
“Both need time but the problem is that we don’t have time,” Winter said of his two starting central defenders. “It’s also they need to communicate more with each other. I’m not worried about it. It’s just one game. Right now to give a judgment about things is a little bit too early.”
Whether it was the defense or in attack, Toronto FC rarely clicked on the night. The players’ movements with the ball weren’t coordinated and the ideas weren’t clear.
Winter won’t blame fitness but he did indicate that there might have been a psychological factor at play.
“I think we maybe underestimated the opponent and what we have not done well is working like a team,” Winter said.
Rookie Luis Silva and 2011 regular Ty Harden didn’t see time in the match because of a “little, little, little soreness,” according to Winter, who said the two are fit and should play in upcoming matches.
As far as designated player Danny Koevermans, Winter says the forward’s 32nd minute substitution was precautionary, but that he did have some problems with his hamstring.
Not as big as the problems that Toronto FC could have against the LA Galaxy in the CCL if they don’t address the issues seen against Orlando.