FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Toronto FC are looking ahead to clinching the Supporters' Shield and their first domestic double, and not back at their recent failures.
If the third attempt to grab the silverware is the charm, they'll do it this coming weekend at home against the New York Red Bulls. And in the meantime, midfielder and captain Michael Bradley said, they aren't making excuses for their two losses over the past week.
"It’s unfortunately part of the season where you can go through a little stretch where you give up some strange goals,” Bradley said after Saturday's 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution. “We’ll find the right way to keep going and know, just as we said when things were going along in a good way, we have a good team. Nothing in that regard has changed.
"We’ll use the week in the right way now and make sure we get ready for a big game at home.”
Saturday's loss closed a seven-day stretch that included a cross-country trip to the LA Galaxy, a return home to take on rivals Montreal Impact, and a jaunt to Gillette Stadium three days later to face a wounded Revs side.
They took only the first match, falling 5-3 to Montreal at midweek before Saturday's loss -- which they played without star forwards Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco. That caused them to shift the lineup around, placing Steven Beitashour and Justin Morrow at center back instead of their customary wingback spots.
None of those justifications, however, were acceptable to Bradley.
“We have flexibility. We have guys who can play in a lot of different spots and a lot of different spots well,” Bradley said. “We felt good about the team that was out on the field. There was no doubt we were missing a few guys, but that’s not fazed us one bit all year. We certainly won’t use that as an excuse. We should’ve found a way to come away with at least a point.”
Toronto manager Greg Vanney, who has already led his side to the Canadian Championship this year, said that's what the club expect from Bradley.
“He’s our captain, our leader, he’s always there and up for the battle,” Vanney said. “He’s there to play, and he sits in our midfield and helps to link everything together from the back group up to the front guys."