TORONTO – Things did not go as planned for Toronto FC against the New England Revolution.
Set up in a new 4-2-3-1 formation in an effort to add defensive midfield help to a makeshift back line, Toronto FC never really got going after suffering a set back at the hands of an early goal scored by New England, followed by a second in the 21st. The end result was a thorough 3-0 defeat at BMO Field.
“I just think they probably felt sorry for themselves,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said of his players’ performance. “It’s because, they’re killer blows, aren’t they, when you give away the goals we conceded. They’re our own doing, and they’re kind of a double whammy, and it’s hard to get up from that. We were just looking for that one little break and it kind of never came.”
The reason, Nelsen said, chalked up to a combination of injuries to key personnel, some bad luck, and needless added pressure.
“The guys came out stiff, they looked a wee bit aggravated mentally I think, and they felt like it this was way more of a pressure game than actually it was,” Nelsen explained before a reporter asked if comments made by Toronto FC’s general manager Tim Bezbatchenko at training on Friday helped the matter. “Not at all. Absolutely not.”
Bezbatchenko had said he wanted his team to “turn it up a notch", a comment that Nelsen said added unneeded pressure to the match.
“There were 11 games left in the season, with two games in hand and in third position,” Nelsen said. “I’ve won this league, played in it for four years, been in the Premier League for 10 years, played in a World Cup, Olympics, played in some pretty hot, pressured games, and the one thing that I do know is this was not one of them.
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“It affected the guys,” Nelsen added. “What we do at Toronto FC is we keep it in house. Everything we do we keep inside the four walls. The players, coaching staff, everything, stays in the four walls. So if you are going to criticize anybody today, it’s me. I picked the team, I tried to play a certain style: criticize me and leave the players out of it.
"But unfortunately, things happen. It didn’t help, and as you saw at the start of the game, I think the guys were very, very, let’s just say, aggravated, when it’s not even a pressure game.”
Toronto will not have to wait very long to have a shot at correcting their mistakes. They travel to Philadelphia to take on the Union at PPL Park on Wednesday, a conference match that is important but that TFC are attempting to not make a big deal of.
“Ten games left in the season. There’s a long way to go," said Nelsen. "Nobody's panicking. We’re more than confident in what we’re going to do. Ten games. Five at home, five away. It’s in our hands.”