After another late-game collapse, Toronto FC in need of "strong personalities" to secure points

TORONTO — Toronto FC Head Coach Ryan Nelsen didn’t mince words on Saturday after his team conceded yet another late goal and suffered another collapse in the dying minutes of a match.

“It was a disappointing performance from us,” Nelsen said following Toronto’s 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon. “From the first minute to the 90th minute, it was by far our worst performance. Even taking away the score line, the performance wasn’t good enough.”

Tim Cahill’s winning goal in the 90th minute marked the fifth goal that Toronto has allowed in the final 15 minutes of a game this season, and it likely left long-suffering Toronto FC supporters feeling genuinely snake bitten. 

And according to Nelsen, luck has nothing to do with his squad’s run of bitterly disappointing league results.

“It’s not a jinx or anything like that,” he said. “It’s just that we need personalities to go and clear the ball and win the ball, strong personalities in the back who want it. Every successful team in the world has one or two defenders that the ball seems to go to like a magnet to their heads because they want it so much.”

“We don’t seem to have that personality and character to go and put out the fire, clear it into the stands or smash it miles away,” he added. “Every successful team in the world has that. Good teams take responsibility. They don’t talk about it, but actually do it through actions.”

READ: Cahill's brace lifts Red Bulls past Toronto FC

With their defeat to New York on Saturday, TFC still haven't won an MLS regular season game at BMO Field since July 18, 2012, a span of 11 games. Nelsen was plain in describing Toronto’s home performances to date as missed opportunities that could eventually turn out to be catastrophic with respect to the team’s chances of making the MLS playoffs.

“This is seven points that we have thrown away now,” he said, recalling late-game flops against LA and FC Dallas in recent weeks. “Seven points which would have put us at fourteen and in a really nice spot. These guys have to want to be good. They have to want responsibility. Winning is hard and it takes responsibility. Guys have to understand that they have to take it.”

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While Nelsen used much of his post-match press conference to send out the message that his players need to step and do whatever is needed to end Toronto’s current run of disappointing results, he was also adamant that he has to take the ultimate responsibility with regard to how Toronto Football Club performs.

“I take total responsibility. I will never accuse the players of anything,” he said. “They are trying their hardest and I feel really bad for them. The responsibility lies with me.”