San Jose scores late to earn tie and give Toronto FC another painful lesson – Toronto |

TORONTO — A 2-2 draw that felt like a loss turned out to be another painful lesson for Toronto FC as it rebuilds under head coach Bob Bradley.

Jack Skahan, who entered the game in the 83rd minute, scored his first MLS goal two minutes after stoppage time to give the San Jose Earthquakes an away point and spoil a spirited Toronto comeback on Saturday.

“Painful,” said Toronto goalie Quentin Westberg, who made a great save to deny Jeremy Ebobisse seconds earlier. “Yes painful but also (a) great reaction in the second half.”

Goals from Deandre Kerr and Jonathan Osorio appeared to give Toronto (5-10-4) three much-needed points.

But an Ifunanyachi Achara clearance attempt deflected off San Jose captain Jackson Yuell and sent the ball back into the Toronto penalty area, allowing Skahan to hit a low shot past Westberg in the 92nd minute.

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“I definitely have that salvation in me,” said Westberg, who was being hard on himself.

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Toronto, coming off back-to-back home losses to Seattle and Columbus, has managed just two wins in its last 12 league outings (2-8-2).

And with four of their next five games away from home, TFC was looking to pick up points against a San Jose team yet to win away from home (0-6-3) this season.

Bradley liked his team’s response in the second half, if not the end.

“We moved forward in a more aggressive way, we played at a higher tempo,” he said. “And now you have to finish the game. It’s just a game you have to win. We let the points slide.”

It takes more work to close a game.

“In the end, when everything requires a little more focus, that little bit more of knowing what each moment is about, you have to get everyone to understand,” Bradley said. “Even if you have a large percentage of the guys on the field at the time who get it, if a couple don’t, you can still pay the price.”

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Toronto outscored San Jose 16-9 (6-3 shooting on goal) and had 56 percent of the possession.

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The ‘Quakes (4-7-7) are now undefeated in their last four meetings (1-0-3) with Toronto.

Ebobisse scored his 10th of the season to put the ‘Quakes ahead in the 26th minute.

But after an unproductive first 45 minutes, Toronto came out with more determination in the second half, eventually beating ‘Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski in the 71st minute on a fast break.

Osorio sent the ball ahead to Kerr and, with the defense falling back, the 19-year-old academy graduate hit a low shot from outside the penalty area that passed Marcinkowski into the corner for his third of the season.

Four minutes later, Kerr played provider, sending a ball into the box that hit a defender and found Osorio on a late run. The Canadian midfielder did not fail at point-blank range to score his fifth of the campaign.

Saturday’s game was a matchup of the league’s two worst defenses, with Toronto ranked 27th (conceding 1.89 goals per game on average) and San Jose ranked 28th (2.06 goals per game).

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The match followed a week of negotiations in which Toronto sent Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo to Inter Miami for a modest return and acquired Canadian midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye from the Colorado Rapids for a hefty price. The future of star center back Carlos Salcedo, like that of Pozuelo as designated player, remains up in the air with the expectation that he will return to Mexico for family reasons.

Salcedo was not in the matchday squad, but he posted the latest in a series of cryptic tweets. The post featured a play button next to “Mx?” suggesting that the move to Mexico’s Liga MX is a done deal.

“I don’t think anything is final, but it’s just as likely that I’ll end up with a club in Mexico,” Bradley said. “Because of (his) personal situation of his, his family, it was important for him to be back.”

Kaye, for her part, has not yet reached the city,

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With the MLS secondary transfer window opening on Thursday, fans were hoping to see Italian star Lorenzo Insigne on the field. But the former Napoli captain, whose move to Toronto after the end of the Italian season was announced six months ago, has delayed his TFC debut later this month due to a calf injury sustained in Europe.

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Insigne, 31, watched from the stands, signing autographs before the game. Former Toronto midfielder Ralph Priso, who is headed to Colorado in the Kaye trade, was also in attendance.

His compatriot Domenico Criscito, former Genoa captain, made his first start. The 35-year-old left-back took corners, was cool on the ball and displayed a deft passing touch. Suffering from cramps, he walked out in the 80th minute to applause from the announced crowd of 27,149.

Toronto had more of the ball early but couldn’t do anything with it.

San Jose scored on their first shot on goal, taking advantage of a Toronto toss at their own end. Benji Kikanovic passed a ball between Michael Bradley and Shane O’Neill and Ebobisse slid a right footed shot past Westberg and into the corner of the goal.

The toss came after Toronto defender Chris Mavinga, from the corner, sent a dangerous ball up midfield in the direction of Jayden Nelson.

TFC has not posted a shutout in the league since September 25, 2021, in a 0-0 tie at Colorado with the streak of MLS games without a clean sheet now at 27 games.

San José said goodbye to coach Matías Almeyda after going winless in their first seven games (0-4-3). Alex Covelo, who was the head coach of Earthquakes II in MLS Next Pro, is now 4-3-4 as interim coach.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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