TORONTO – While Jermain Defoe stole the headlines leading up to Toronto FC's 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, it was Toronto’s other English forward who sealed the deal for the Reds at BMO Field.
However, the English Designated Player didn’t get to appreciate the finish like the fans watching did.
“Do you know what, it’s quite funny because I didn’t actually see the ball go in,” Defoe told reporters after the match. “As I went through, I was confident I was going to score, and as I hit it, I think the defender hit me after I got the shot off.
“I was on the floor and I sort of looked at the crowd and saw everyone celebrating so I thought, ‘OK, that went in!’”
It was Defoe’s fourth goal in five league games, but it was also his first goal scored after finding out he was omitted from the England roster for the FIFA World Cup. It made scoring just a little sweeter.
“It’s only normal when you get a disappointment to try to prove people wrong, and just to remind people, at the end of the day, this is what I’m doing,” he said. “I think I did that today.
“I think that’s a job well done,” Defoe added. “Even if I didn’t score and we got the three points, that’s the most important thing.”
Defoe had a few more chances to score, but found it difficult to carve out space amid the close attentions of Red Bulls defenders Armando and Jamison Olave. Defoe was visibly frustrated after being thrown to the ground on a few occasions, earning a yellow card for a tangle with Armando in the dying minutes and commenting after the game on the treatment he received.
“I don’t want to criticize anyone but everyone saw the game today,” Defoe said. “At times it was hard because you work so hard to protect the ball and keep the ball, and sometimes you do need that little bit of support from the referee. I’m not one of those players to roll around and try to get people sent off. I always try to stay on my feet.”
Still, Defoe will be pleased with the result on the day, as will his compatriot Moore, the recent arrival from Chivas USA who opened his TFC account after a fortuitous bounce fell to his feet in injury time, allowing him to walk the ball coolly into the goal.
How many walk-in goals has Moore scored in his time playing football?
“Not enough, to be honest with you!” Moore toldMLSsoccer.com. “I think any striker would take three or four of those a season. I kind of gambled and got out of the way a little bit and was lucky it dropped into my path.
“You just say a little thank you to the gods,” he added. “It’s a bit of a gift. You’ve got to be there to put it in so I was happy with it. It was a great little gift for me.”