In the minutes after Michael Bradley skied the final penalty kick into the Guadalajara night and fans at the Estadio Akron serenaded Chivas for its first international championship in 56 years,
Soccer Twitter was harsh -- brutal, in fact -- on the Toronto FC captain.
Bradley has taken a lot of grief throughout his career and again when the U.S. national team, which he captained,
choked in World Cup 2018 qualifying, but his miss that clinched Chivas' 4-2 shootout win was far from the main reason the MLS drought in the Concacaf Champions League continued.
FC was the deserved winner over Tigres and Club America, both better teams than Chivas, in the previous two rounds, but you couldn't say the Reds were the better team in the final.
TFC was heroic, battling through injuries that decimated its backline and forced Bradley to play at center back on Wednesday. The Reds came back from a 2-1 defeat at BMO Field to beat Chivas, 2-1, in
Guadalajara and send the final to a shootout, but both legs of the final were struggles except for the latter parts of the two first halves.
The Concacaf Champions League title was lost
in the early moments of the first leg and dying moments of the second leg.
Chivas surprised TFC by scoring after just 63 seconds played in the first leg on a play that began innocently
enough with a throw-in. A mistake by keeper Alex Bono late in the game allowed Chivas to escape freezing Toronto with a surprise 2-1 win
Then after absorbing pressure from Chivas
for much of the second half with the series tied 3-3, Toronto FC made a late push for the winner. Sebastian Giovinco, voted the best player in the Concacaf Champions League, set the ball up on
a platter for Marky Delgado, and the 22-year-old American missed.
Delgado had a huge tournament, setting up two goals in the 3-1 win over Club America at home in the semifinals,
Jonathan Osorio's lone goal in the 2-1 loss to Chivas at home and Giovinco's series-tying goal on Wednesday night, but he took the blame for the defeat.
“At the end of the
day, we didn’t come out with it, but that’s football sometimes,” Delgado told the Toronto Sun afterwards. “I take responsibility for missing the last-minute shot. It went
TFC coach Greg Vanney wouldn't blame Delgado after having what he described as a "mammoth tournament."
“We had one opportunity at the very end that
could have been the difference," he said, "but I go back to Toronto: we can't give away two goals. That's the difference in the series. It wasn't the soccer, it was a couple of goals we shouldn't have
April 25 in Guadalajara Guadalajara 1 Toronto FC 2. Goals: Pineda 19; Altidore 25, Giovinco 44. Guadalajara -- Cota; Salcido (Godinez 55),
Alanis, Pereira, Hernandez; Pineda, Perez (Zaldivar 69), Cisneros, Brizuela (Lopez 68); Pulido, Pizarro. Toronto FC -- Bono; Auro Jr., van der Wiel, Bradley, Morgan; Delgado, Hasler
(Hamilton 57), Osorio, Vazquez (Chapman 71); Altidore (Aketxe 82), Giovinco.