Will Johnson made his return to Providence Park for the first time Sunday since joining Toronto FC from the Portland Timbers five months ago. And considering he spent three years as the Timbers captain before joining the Reds, the return to Portland was a hard one--especially since his new team limped away with a 2-1 loss.
“It was bittersweet, obviously,” said Johnson after the game. “It was fun to play against those guys, fun to bring my guys here to play against a team and an organization that I have a lot of respect for. I am disappointed that we didn't leave with points, but the experience was good.”
Closing out Toronto's slate of eight road game with a match against his former side, Johnson was his usual all-action self. He threw himself into challenges and, in the 40th minute, scored Toronto's lone goal with a simple, side-footed finish from the top of the Timbers' box. Still, it was another shot that Johnson was talking about after the match.
Asked about his goal, Johnson could not help but bring up his point-blank header in the 92nd minute that Timbers 'keeper Jake Gleeson managed to parry away.
“[The goal] was good,” Johnson said, continuing. “I wish that I would have gotten the second one. I am more bummed out about missing that one than scoring the other one. But, to score in any game in this league is not easy to do and that feels good. I just wish it would have counted for more than just a consolation.”
Despite the loss, Toronto do have something to focus on as they return home. With the refurbished BMO Field hosting its first game of the season on Saturday, the Reds will need to shake off today's result and look to their homestead.
“We have got to turn around quick,” said Johnson. “We've got a game in six days and we have got to travel home tomorrow with some positive energy and understand that 11 points from eight games is still a good clip. We feel that we left some points out there today, but we can't let that feeling linger because we are going home to beautiful new stadium.”