Toronto FC's Ryan Nelsen acknowledges defensive shortcomings after loss: "We are who we are"
TORONTO – With their 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday evening, Toronto FC supporters saw their club lose by a single goal for the ninth time this season.
Once again a young TFC squad played well enough to earn a result, but saw defensive breakdowns result in the opposition walking away with a win at their expense.
Toronto head coach Ryan Nelsen was pragmatic after the defeat, praising his team for an overall quality performance while once again lamenting the defensive miscues that have seen the Reds drop points all season long.
“We are who we are at the moment,” Nelsen said. “It was just two silly goals off two silly errors. I’m very disappointed in the first goal. The second goal was a bit unfortunate and unlucky, but the lead up wasn’t good.
“However, the guys worked their backsides off against what I think is one of the best teams in this league,” Nelsen added. “When you have Clint Dempsey and Shalrie Joseph coming off the bench, you must have a pretty decent squad. On paper, they are ridiculous. Hopefully soon we will have players come in that could potentially help this team and turn 2-1 losses into 3-2 wins.”
While the two mistakes made by Toronto’s backline were ultimately the determining factors in Dempsey’s victorious Sounders debut, Nelsen once again chose to dwell on the positives from a TFC side made up almost entirely of players in their early stages of their careers.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” he said. “I thought they played really well. They kept possession really well and were really creative going forward.
“When you are down 2-0 to Seattle with the individuals they have, you could go one way and it could have got a bit ugly. They came out and they were determined and showed character and belief. I’m just devastated that they didn’t get what they deserved from that game.”
With Seattle logging the winner via an own goal by Doneil Henry, the 20-year-old TFC Academy graduate will be pegged by some scapegoat for the defeat. However, Nelsen was quick to stick up for his talented young defender.
“I thought he had a great game today,” Nelsen said. “He’s playing against a US international, a Nigerian international who has played at the highest level in the English Premier League and a player who was one of the most sought after players in Europe when he came home. I thought he handled himself really well.”
“He has only just turned 20,” Nelsen continued. “When I turned 20, I was nowhere near the level of what he is doing. He is such a bright spark for this club and he will only get better and better.”