With a large portion of his starting 11 unavailable due to injury or International duty, Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen did not point to the absence of key players as the main reason his team suffered a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday evening.
Instead, he once again lamented yet another performance in which he believed the final score line did not reflect the quality of performance that his squad delivered.
“The frustrating thing is that it definitely wasn’t a 4-0 performance,” Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com. “For the most part, the guys did really well. It was just the turning point that came on the second goal [that set the floodgates open]."
According to the Nelsen, TFC were still very much in contention to come away with something from the game until the 83rd minute when Timbers Designated Player Diego Valeri took advantage of the a mistake by 21-year-old Toronto defender Gale Agbossoumonde to set up Rodney Wallace for a back-breaker of a goal.
“Even with that, we were 1-0 down and we had got into a really nice position where we were in the game and you could tell that they had run out of ideas, the crowd had gone silent and it was getting a bit anxious for them,” Nelsen said.
“And the second goal was obviously devastating for our team. After going down 2-0, the crowd obviously got back into it and they got their confidence back and we got caught trying to get something out of the game.”
Despite Agbossoumonde's gaff, Nelsen had some positive words and educational advice for his young defender who saw his unfortunately timed defensive miscue become one of the key determining factors in the defeat.
“I thought Gale was tremendous,” Nelsen added. “He was so impressive in the air and did everything well. Unfortunately, this is the harsh reality of professional football and the young man has to learn from it. Especially with center backs, you don’t want to make the headlines.
“If he had just kicked the ball into the stands, nobody would have remembered that play. He made a mistake and young players make mistakes.”