Canadian Championship: Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen highlights growth of young side despite loss

Disappointed? Check. Gutted? Sure.

For Toronto FC, the polarity of soccer was on full display after a late 1-0 loss saw the Montreal Impact beat them to the 2014 Canadian Championship title. This, after Toronto FC boss Ryan Nelsen and his side jubilantly celebrated a Trillium Cup win just a few days prior.

Nelsen opted to look for the positives in the match, though.

“I thought it was a very entertaining game for us,” Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com after the game. “I thought we dominated the first 30 minutes and then we got a wee bit comfortable and sloppy on the ball and they came back into it. And then the second half, they started well and we dominated again, we got control of the game.”

“I suppose the turning point of the game was the Jon Osorio shot that just came off the post and a couple millimeters the other way, it goes in, 1-0, and we’d probably win the tie,” Nelsen added. “Once it came out, we tried to flood guys forward.”

While the Impact celebrate another Canadian Championship title in successive years, Nelsen highlighted the growth of his young side as a positive to take away from the tournament.

“Last year, we got torn apart in this leg and it kind of shows where we’ve gone as a squad,” Nelsen continued. “We’ve evolved. They had to put out their strongest side to beat our side, which is made of the whole squad. The young guys have gotten a lot of experience out of this.”

Nelsen also pointed out that his starting XI had been limited due to the number of unavailable midfielders in Collen Warner, Jackson and Michael Bradley. Still, his makeshift team will look back and want for more from a match that could have given the club its second trophy of the year in as many weeks.

“Of course they’re very disappointed, we’re all disappointed,” Nelsen said. “But, I don’t try to look at it as what happens tomorrow, I look at the future as well and what I like about it is we’re producing young players that will be at the club for a while and they know they can perform under pressure against these guys, and that’s very pleasing.”

Nelsen also saw a silver lining in the result, one that allows him to “singularly focus” on the league.

“If you look ahead at our schedule, the one positive – of course we’re disappointed at losing – but the one positive thing is that we play three games a week all of July and some of August as well. This would have been eight or nine weeks of three games in a week in the middle of summer. If we had gone through, it would have been a phenomenal fixture list build up.”

One of the recurring themes in Toronto’s camp this year has been the “highs and lows of football” and Nelsen explained that the weekend home clash against the San Jose Earthquakes will provide his team with the opportunity to “swing back the pendulum” with a positive result.