Toronto FC's Ryan Nelsen laments missed breakaways: "At this level you have to take them"

TORONTO — Following another home fixture in which his side was unable to come away with three points, Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen was lamenting missed chances that led to a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire on Wednesday evening.

TFC recovered from a slow start thanks to a Robert Earnshaw equalizer three minutes after going down 1-0, then had multiple opportunities to really put the Fire under their boots. But poor decision-making meant chances, once again, turned into not much at all.

“We had four 2v1’s,” Nelsen said at his post-match press conference. “At this level you have to take them. If we had taken one of them I think the game would have been won comfortably.”

Toronto were repeatedly able to get behind the Fire defense – it happened in both halves – but never found their go-ahead look.

“I don’t think it was the players being selfish,” Nelsen said, before hedging a bit. “Maybe in the way that they are strikers who want to score goals. It is just about taking the right options. Unfortunately, we had a few of them that we didn’t take. They were extremely good chances. They were the best chances of the game. It was basic kind of stuff, which is frustrating.

“If had scored one, then they would have had to go after the game even more because they needed to win the match,” Nelsen added. “That would have opened up even more opportunities for us. You can’t understate what situations like that do to opposition teams when you do score.”

Even taking into consideration another slow start, another soft goal conceded and Toronto’s inability to put away their chances, Nelsen was still buoyed by the spirit, work ethic and character that he felt his players continue to exhibit.

Toronto are all but mathematically eliminated from the MLS playoff picture, but the roster seem to have responded well to the idea that they’re fighting for their jobs this season and beyond.

“What I love about the guys is that we were the team that should have been falling over and not making those runs and not working hard considering our position [in the standings] and their position,” Nelsen explained. “Besides the first 20 minutes, I think any neutrals watching the game would not have known which team was really pushing for that playoff spot.”