On a night in which his team lost to a Chivas USA side that played with ten men for more than an hour, Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen expressed his belief that the sending off ultimately ended up working in favor of the team that was penalized.
“When it was 11-v-11 we were by far the better team,” Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com following Toronto's 1-0 loss to Chivas USA on Wednesday night. “We looked very comfortable and we were controlling the game. The sending off was one of those ones that made Chivas go into a shell and become very defensive while putting numbers behind the ball.”
“It kind of gave them an opportunity to sit in and we didn’t really find that one opportunity where could get the goal we needed,” Nelsen continued. “Sometimes it can make it even harder to break them down and then you are vulnerable to the sucker punch. Unfortunately, that’s what happened.”
With Toronto held scoreless by Kansas City in their previous fixture, TFC supporters were likely overjoyed when former TFC midfielder Eric Avila was sent off in the 24th minute for a reckless tackle on Darel Russell. However, Chivas 'keeper Dan Kennedy made the key saves when he was tested, and the Goats frustrated a side that ultimately did not move the ball with the same authority in its last two matches as it had prior to the current two-game road trip.
Nelsen admitted after the match that his team’s inexperienceshowed on the night given the manner in which his squad was unable to utilize the man advantage towards engineering a much-needed road victory.
“It is a learning experience for the young guys,” Nelsen said. “I thought they did well and worked really hard. If we could have got that one goal, it would probably have led to a comfortable two or three goals for us. They would have had to come out of their shell and play and we would have been fine. We just couldn’t get the goal.”
In addition to lamenting his team’s inability to deal with the cards they were dealt in the match, Nelsen also admitted his frustration at a missed call by the referee when it appeared that TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio had been fouled in the Chivas box late in the game.
“It was stone cold penalty,” Nelsen stated. “But the referee probably didn’t want to make two big calls in the game. The first one was a definite red, but when it is a stone cold penalty you have to give it. In saying that, I wasn’t surprised that it wasn’t given.”