The Trillium Cup has never been decided like this.
Toronto FC pried the last bit of meat out of the Columbus Crew this season after taking all three points in a 3-2 victory at Crew Stadium, which marked the first time that the Reds have swept the Crew in their three-game regular season series. The triumph also gave Ryan Nelsen’s side a solid playoff position ahead of the final stretch of the season.
“This was a huge game for us,” Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com on the phone after the match. “Absolutely a huge game. This is a game against a rival who was on our heels and it gives us that separation. We want to hunt down [second-placed] D.C. United and it was a really critical game for this part of the season.”
Toronto FC sits comfortably in third place in the Eastern Conference with 32 points in 21 games, but are these three results a case of rewriting club history? Nelsen doesn't want to think that way.
“We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves,” Nelsen said. “We know we have a lot to improve on, we know we can get a lot better but what we’re trying to do is evolve the team. We’ll do it gradually and do it right. The results, even though we got three wins against a very tough team that historically has done really good here, it’s something that we can pat ourselves on the back for but that’s it. We know we have a lot to improve on. So, rewrite history, no, we’re going to make our own history.”
That history is being written with a squad of players that has plenty of talent. Forward Gilberto netted his fourth goal of the year to open the scoring for Toronto, but Luke Moore was the hero of the night. He had a hand in all three of his club's goals, including scoring the late winner.
It seemed almost destined that Moore’s glancing header off of Collen Warner’s cross would find the back of the net considering Toronto FC had been practicing corner kicks in training during the week.
- Get more Toronto FC news at TorontoFC.ca
“We worked on that,” Nelsen said. “We saw certain areas that we thought we could exploit but the delivery was brilliant. I’m glad Luke scored it because he deserved a goal. He probably should have had a couple. That was a really well-taken goal.”
Toronto FC’s four-game road trip winds to a close with one more away clash against Sporting Kansas City next week, Nelsen’s men have proven themselves quite capable of picking up points away from home, which is another area that this side has struggled with in the previous seven seasons.
“We do have a confidence about us when we’re away from home because we know we play a brand of football that’s very dynamic,” Nelsen explained. “It’s very attack-minded and it causes teams trouble away from home because a lot of teams, at home, open themselves up. At home, they’re a bit more carefree and open and we play an attacking brand of football that can hurt teams if they’re not in the right kind of organization.”