Toronto FC forward Robert Earnshaw had two excellent opportunities to add to his team-leading tally of five goals on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids, but was unable to finish when he would usually deposit in the back of the opposition net.
Those missed chances came on the heels of another golden opportunity against the Montreal Impact last Wednesday that would have put his team up 3-0 on aggregate in their Amway Canadian Championship semifinal series that Toronto ultimately lost.
With Danny Koevermans still unavailable because of an ACL injury and Justin Braun missing significant time following an injury as well, Earnshaw has been logging heavy-duty minutes as Toronto’s lone experienced forward.
That workload has left many wondering if Toronto’s past two games are an indication that the combination of a grinding schedule, significant travel and the pressure of being Toronto’s main goalscoring threat is finally catching up with the Welsh international.
“I just didn’t get the right connections,” Earnshaw told MLSsoccer.com via phone from Northern California, where TFC are encamped ahead of Wednesday's match against the San Jose Earthquakes (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). “ I had two chances where I definitely should have scored and normally they definitely would have gone in. But this will happen sometimes.
"In most of the games, I have had much less chances and worse chances and I have scored. It is just something that comes up in games. What you have to do is not get too worried about it, because when you over think it and overanalyze it, you will get yourself worked up a little bit.
“I’m confident enough that if I get the same chances again, I will score,” Earnshaw added. “You just have to be composed in your next game. These little things are what you learn off. I know that in the next game I will be better at it. You just have to be confident, especially as a striker – you can’t be worried about missing chances. As soon you start worrying about it, you will be finished.”
The 32-year-old scored five goals in his first six games after signing with Toronto during the preseason, but has now been held scoreless in TFC’s last three league fixtures. Rather than dwelling on Toronto’s current lack of depth up front, Earnshaw was quick to credit his teammates for creating chances for him.
“It’s funny because we have a couple of guys that I have played up front with – Hogan Ephraim and Luis Silva – and Luis created the two very good chances for me the other day,” Earnshaw said. “We have linked up very well. That is a credit to the guys that have stepped in because it would have been very easy to say that the other strikers have been injured and we will struggle. If anything, we have been just as strong.”
As for the fatigue that is surely creeping in amid a trip across the continent while bearing the brunt of three matches in nine days, the Cardiff City product admitted that the career rejuvenation that he's felt since joining Toronto FC and MLS hasn't abated in the slightest.
“I’m happy when I’m out there playing,” Earnshaw said. “If it is three games a week, I am happy doing that. I feel exactly the same as when I was getting ready to travel to Vancouver for our first game. [The heavy schedule] doesn’t concern me. It is tough on your body, but I embrace it."
“I’m here to enjoy it all. I’m here to enjoy the difficult times, too. It is easy to enjoy playing matches at home and not having to travel. I’m also here to enjoy the traveling and seeing all these different places and going to these difficult places to play.”