Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen has quite often lamented that his squad’s results in his first year as head coach have not always been reflected in the final scoreline.
After Saturday night's 1-1 draw at RFK Stadium, Nelsen felt it was another one of those nights for Toronto FC.
“I’m really disappointed we didn’t take all three points, especially with the glorious chance that [Robert] Earnshaw had at the end,” Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com following the match. “I’m happy because we were away from home and came from a goal down to get a result, but I’m a wee bit disappointed that we didn’t take all three, because I thought the team deserved it.”
While Toronto were unable to earn their second road win against D.C. United this season, Nelsen was quick to state that he was generally happy with how his team played and also satisfied with how the squad responded following arguably their poorest display of the season last weekend in Columbus.
“I thought the guys were in control and their shape was really good,” Nelsen said. “I thought Ashtone Morgan was fantastic today and I thought Doneil Henry played extremely well also. We didn’t have two of our starting midfielders and Jeremy [Hall] and Darel [Russell] did extremely well in there.
“When you concede a world-class goal like that away from home, it takes a lot of character to come back,” Nelsen added. “I really thought that we controlled the play for large periods of the game and had the better of the opportunities in front of goal.”
After seeing his side fall prey last week to a sublime chip shot by Columbus Designated Player Federico Higuain, Toronto fell behind early to another cracker by a player who has often plagued the Reds in the past, as Dwayne De Rosario netted a wonder goal against his ex-club.
While Nelsen was quick to credit De Rosario for a fabulous strike, he also admitted that he thought Toronto were once again unlucky on the evening, with DC's lone goal likely coming in part as a result of an injury suffered by TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio.
“Jonathan had a sore ankle that he tweaked yesterday and then he aggravated it early in the game,” Nelsen explained. “He never looked over at the bench and he wanted to work through it, which is youthful enthusiasm. However, when Dwayne got that ball, he channeled into where Jonathan should take over the defensive pressure and he just couldn’t get there with his ankle."
The injury to Osorio required Toronto to make a first-half substitution, which Nelsen says impacted his plan to bring on recently signed striker Maximiliano Urruti for some minutes in the second half.
“Jonathan [Osorio] got through the warm-up and both he and the medical team were happy. Then something happened in the game where he rolled it," Nelsen added. "Unfortunately, if we had had a 100 percent fit player, we probably would have put pressure on Dwayne [De Rosario] that might have made it a different outcome on the goal."
Steve Bottjer covers Toronto FC for MLSsoccer.com.