Jermain Defoe delivers in his Toronto FC home debut: "It's a day I'll never forget"
TORONTO – On a day where Torontonians had their eyes glued to Jermain Defoe’s back, the English international did not disappoint.
Making his home debut with Toronto FC, Defoe scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over D.C. United, giving Toronto a historic 2-0-0 start to the regular season and notching his third goal in two games. In front of more than 22,000 fans at a packed BMO Field, Defoe slotted home a rebound effort of a Gilberto in the 60th minute and celebrated to cheers of the home faithful.
“It’s a day I’ll never forget,” Defoe told reporters after the match, a smile painted on his face. “I was so much looking forward to the game at home, to see the fans and before the game you just hope you can give something back.”
The atmosphere at BMO Field was the one talking point shared amongst the players on the day, something Defoe says is much-needed on the field.
“It was unbelievable,” Defoe said, of the Toronto supporters. “From minute one the stadium was rocking and that definitely helps the team. It lifted all the players. We owed it to the fans to get a victory today and we did that.”
Unlike last week’s two-touch, two-goal performance by Defoe, the encounter with D.C. United provided the English forward with several chances to score.
“I thought today was a great effort from the players,” Defoe said. “It was a difficult game. [D.C. United] made it difficult. The conditions weren’t the best but to win the game was so important and we did that and everyone’s delighted.”
Defoe’s first chance came after his partner up front, Brazilian forward Gilberto, managed to run through the D.C. defense. Gilberto slipped the ball over to Defoe, who tried to side-foot it past Bill Hamid, but the keeper made the save.
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In the second half, Defoe beat Hamid on a narrow angle and rounded for the shot, but hit the post. In total, Defoe managed seven shots on the day, three on target, but he doesn’t rue his missed chances.
“You don’t get frustrated,” Defoe said. “It’s football, you can’t score every chance you get. You’ve just got to stay cool and wait for your next chance and when you get the next one, just make sure you score.”