CCL: Don't blame Michael Bradley for why Toronto FC lost

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.

Toronto 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.

Yes, 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 over.”

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 allowed.”

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.
6 comments about "CCL: Don't blame Michael Bradley for why Toronto FC lost".
  1. beautiful game, April 26, 2018 at 9:38 a.m.

    Headline should have been, "Toronto FC played well and missed out on OT PKs". Someone had to miss and for that Bradley gets most of the press?

  2. R2 Dad, April 26, 2018 at 1:48 p.m.

    "Marky & Mikey Choke" is better?

  3. beautiful game replied, April 26, 2018 at 5:24 p.m.

    R2 Dad... would have nver expected such a comment from you. It happens to the best of them; and Bradley is surely not one of the best.

  4. R2 Dad replied, April 26, 2018 at 6:54 p.m.

    Fair enough, bad on me. But now you have to one-up me--what's your headline?

  5. R2 Dad replied, April 27, 2018 at 1:08 a.m.

    ....and something click-baity--this is an entertainment site.

  6. frank schoon replied, April 27, 2018 at 9:12 a.m.

    Hey, guys, don't make a fuss about the penalty, for it does happen to some of the best, but did you see how the first goal by Chivas was scored. That was appalling, such a simple mistake by the Toronto defender, something you'd see in a HS or a youth game on sunday.

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