It did not take long for Freddy Hall to learn what it is like to play goal for Toronto FC in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew.
The 27-year-old Bermuda international was barely more than four minutes into his first league game for the Reds when he was picking the ball out of the net after a goal by Eddie Gaven.
Hall had no chance on the shot from outside the penalty area, playing the role of spectator as it was deflected by a TFC defender before going in. And the way Toronto came out playing, the early goal was hardly surprising.
HIGHLIGHTS: CLB 2, TOR 1
"It was the opposite of what I asked for in the dressing room,” head coach Paul Mariner told reporters. “If you’re not going to close people down, you’re going to get punished.
“Whatever you call it, but it’s just not being ready to play and we’ve done everything to get the lads ready to play.”
Toronto FC controlled the game in the second half, particularly after falling behind 2-0, but they could not get Hall a result in his first start.
“I'm just gutted that we didn't get the victory,” Hall said. “The second half, we played so well. We controlled it and dictated the pace of the game. It's heartbreaking.”
Hall, who knows Mariner from their days together at Plymouth Argyle, was signed July 31 to provide an experienced backup to Milos Kocic, a role made all the more important given Stefan Frei's absence through injury for the entire season.
Before Wednesday, Kocic had played every minute of every league game for Toronto and had missed only one game in all competitions this year, before Frei broke his leg.
“Milos has been absolutely fantastic for us,” Mariner said. “He was thrown into the firing line after losing Stefan Frei, our No. 1. He’s come in and done everything we wanted him to do. For various reasons, professional reasons and other reasons, he just needed to rest mentally for maybe a game or so. But he’s been spectacular for us and Freddy is a guy I’ve known for a long, long time and I knew that he would do perfectly fine.”