Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen critical of referee decisions, but proud of his team's effort
TORONTO – With Toronto FC still searching for their first league win at BMO Field this season, TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen was once again lamenting the fact that his side can’t seem to get any calls to go their way following Saturday's scoreless draw with New York.
While an undermanned Toronto FC outplayed a Red Bulls squad featuring players such as Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and Fabian Espindola for much of the run of play on Saturday, the home team was unable to find a breakthrough goal that would have given Nelsen’s team a much-needed victory in front of their home supporters.
Nelson, who has not been shy to criticize referee decisions during his debut season as a head coach, was quick to point to what he perceived to be two game-changing calls which he judged to be incorrect.
“The first goal by Jeremy Brockie that we had called back looked like it was on side by a mile from where I was sitting,” Nelsen stated in his post-game press conference although replays seem to show Brockie was ahead of the last NY defender.
But TFC’s head coach was even more aggravated by the referee’s decision not to award a penalty kick when Brockie appeared to have been brought down by Red Bulls defender Markus Holgersson in the 22nd minute.
“These decisions are absolute game changers,” Nelsen said. “He stood on Brockie’s foot. It was so blatant and the whole crowd saw it. The explanation I got was that Jeremy Brockie reached his foot back so he could get tripped over.
“Jeremy Brockie is an intelligent man, but I don’t think he has eyes in the back of his head,” Nelsen added. “If he did that on purpose, I would be amazed. I’d rather they would just say that they made a mistake than come up with an excuse like that. We didn’t get the most stone-cold penalty last week (against Chivas USA), so I guess I shouldn’t have expected one this week.”
While Nelsen was again perturbed to see his side fall victim to what he felt were adverse calls, he was also quick to express that he was very happy with the manner in which his players grinded out a result under difficult circumstances against a quality side that currently sits in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference standings.
“I am extremely proud of the guys,” Nelsen said. “They had a couple of awkward games and difficult results out west and had to fly a long distance and then play a team like New York who were coming off a 4-0 win over Montreal. All the odds were against them.
“I think there was really only one team in it, especially in the second half,” Nelsen added. “I think a bit of fatigue and being so tired prevented the players from having that extra step and that extra yard to create the necessary space to finish them off. We got into really good positions and if we had been a little more fresh, we might have been all right.”
Steve Bottjer covers Toronto FC for MLSsoccer.com