Sports

Michael Bradley labels 2022 MLS campaign as ‘disappointing’ after being ruled out of playoffs

Toronto FC fell 4-0 to Orlando City on Saturday night at Exploria Stadium, cementing 13th place on the Eastern Conference table and officially eliminating themselves from Major League Soccer playoff contention.

“It’s been disappointing. Really disappointing. It’s been a hard year,” midfielder and captain Michael Bradley said postgame.

The Reds have seen a turbulent 2022 campaign, kicking off the season with three consecutive defeats before somewhat adjusting to new head coach and sporting director Bob Bradley, who historically led LAFC since its inception.

But the team’s inconsistency has largely contributed to their downfall. Even with impressive reinforcements during the transfer window like Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi, Toronto has failed to string together more than two victories.

“You hurt yourself over and over in the same ways, in the latter part of the year where we thought we could put together a run. It’s easy to see that we still make mistakes in key parts of the field,” Bradley said. 

“In this stretch, in this last period, we’ve talked about our goalkeeping; it hasn’t been as good as it needs to be if you’re going to make a real run. And then the number of guys that you can count on every game that keep up with the game, make the right choices, make the right plays, compete at the highest level… we still need to add to the group.”

But before looking ahead to strengthening the roster during the offseason, Toronto FC will host Inter Miami at BMO Field and visit Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union to conclude the campaign. 

“We’re going to train and try to play two good games. Try to continue to use every opportunity, every training session to try to keep moving this thing along,” said Bob Bradley. “The building of a team doesn’t start at the beginning and then end at some point in a season or after the season. It keeps going.”

Michael Bradley echoed his father’s sentiment, adding the team remain motivated for the last two games. 

“We’re not in the offseason yet. We have two more games to play. After that, then there will be plenty of time to do everything – look at ourselves in every possible way. But we’re not to that point yet,” Michael Bradley said. 

“Again, the work that’s being done right now, while it’s not going to pay off in terms of the success we would like this season, we still absolutely believe that the work to become a really good team is ongoing, every single day. We’re going to use every moment we have to try and keep pushing ourselves forward.”

The 2022 MLS season concludes on October 9.

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