CCL: Despite big win, TFC's Lambe rues missing hat trick
TORONTO – Reggie Lambe was arguably Toronto FC’s best player Wednesday night, with two goals in a big win over CD Águila in both teams’ CONCACAF Champions League group-stage opener.
Yet the Bermudan was still left wanting.
“I got on the score sheet, but I still wanted to get my hat trick and I’m a bit disappointed about that,” the 21-year-old native told reporters after the 5-1 victory over the Salvadoran side. “I’m glad we did get the win.”
Lambe scored Toronto FC’s second and fourth goals as the Reds defeated travel-weary Águila 5-1 at BMO Field. But the fact that Lambe was lamenting missing a hat trick shows the kind of game TFC had as they rebounded from a disappointing 2-0 league loss to Houston last Saturday.
“I feel like I should have had it,” Lambe said. “I should have had a hat trick, I had two chances, a volley and one that Ryan [Johnson] played me through that I should have scored.
“A hat trick only come around so many times in your career, so I’m really disappointed I didn’t get it tonight.”
It was an important game for Toronto from two standpoints. They wanted to rebound from last Saturday’s poor effort vs. the Dynamo. And they know they must win at home if they are going to be a factor in the CCL, where a revamped format in the tournament leaves little room for error.
“I think we all wanted to bounce back from the Houston game,” Lambe said. “We wanted to get a result and then move on to Saturday’s game [at Chicago] and keep going, pushing it forward.”
Lambe was aware of the travel problems that left Águila stranded at the Miami airport on Tuesday night, delaying their arrival in Toronto until Wednesday afternoon.
“We knew their preparation wasn’t the best, but we were just looking at ourselves and wanted to make sure that we did what we had to do to get the win,” he said. “We weren’t really bothered about their preparation. We went out and did what we had to do. We gave away a sloppy goal, but we recovered from that and moved on from there. “
And Lambe said the game was not as easy as it looked.
“It wasn’t really easy,” he said. “I think we all just worked hard and put in the work that we needed to do. And we got the result.”
Lambe’s confidence seems to be growing with each game as well.
“I just think I’m getting into the league more,” he said. “I’m getting used to the league, I’m getting more comfortable playing. I think my confidence is rising.”