With the Columbus Crew earning their fifth Trillium Cup trophy with a tidy 2-0 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday, TFC were once again frustrated by their longtime rivals from Ohio.
Following the match, TFC Head Coach Ryan Nelsen was quick to credit Columbus for their performance while also lamenting the fact that his young side once again showed their inexperience against an MLS club that have proven themselves year after year.
“It was just one of those days where we had a bad day and they had a good day,” Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com. “And we can’t really afford to have a bad day.”
“To be fair, Columbus played really well and we played into their hands and were kind of our own worst enemies to tell you the truth,” Nelsen added.
While Federico Higuain’s spectacular chipped goal over TFC keeper Joe Bendik in the second half was the clear highlight of the game, Nelsen was more concerned about the manner in which his team made exactly the types of mistakes that a club can’t make when playing against quality opposition on the road.
“We were flat and gave the ball away cheaply,” Nelsen said. “When you start doing that, your confidence often goes a bit and you start taking a backward step instead of a forward step.”
According to Nelsen, TFC’s inability to retain possession not only prevented his team from finding their own offensive mojo, it also played right into the hands of the Crew’s one-two punch of Higuain and Dominic Oduro.
“They are so potent when the opposition isn’t good with the ball and when they give it away cheaply, thus allowing them to break,” Nelsen stated. “Higuain has the ability to find the pace of Oduro. When you give the ball away like we did tonight, those two will hurt you.”
While Columbus fielded a lineup dominated by veteran players such as Higuain, Oduro, Chad Marshall and Jairo Arrieta, TFC actually went with a group in which nine of their eleven players late in the match were 25 or younger, once veteran striker Robert Earnshaw was replaced by recently signed 22-year-old Maximiliano Urruti in the second half.
In Nelsen’s opinion, Toronto’s youth and inexperience simply showed on a day in which his young squad was never able to make the requisite adjustments to get themselves back into the match.
“We are a very young team and we are still learning how to deal with certain things like this,” Nelsen said. “We’ll learn from it and we will move on and try to get better. We have to grow through these kinds of pains.”