Toronto FC’s 3-1 loss Saturday to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena may have been the final nail in TFC’s playoff hopes.
But TFC head coach Greg Vanney said his team isn’t done fighting just yet.
Mathematically, Toronto FC is still in the running for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot sitting in sixth place, six points behind the Columbus Crew.
TFC would have to win their final two games against the Montreal Impact and New England Revolution and hope for Crew losses in their final two games. The seventh-place Houston Dynamo are a point behind TFC but have a game in hand.
While he expects his team to fight, Vanney also acknowledged they would need a bit of luck on their side, too.
“My initial impression coming into this was our minimum number would probably have to be seven [points],” Vanney said. “I know if we were to make it, it would take a lot of help from others around us. We’re going to push like crazy to try to make it, and if not, we still have things to accomplish and figure out in these last two matches.”
For Vanney, the game started off with plenty of potential but fell apart due to what he described as “pessimistic defending” from his players after the 20-minute mark, coupled with some frantic offensive work that didn’t yield a positive result.
“We were trying to play the final pass a little bit too soon and not allowing the attacks to develop, to allow our outside backs to get up a little bit higher up the field,” Vanney said. “What I think is our strength is in more aggressive, attacking positions, forcing their guys to have to defend. We got into a rush on the attacking side, and we got pessimistic on the defending side. We were all out of sorts.”
Despite Jonathan Osorio clawing back one goal in the second half, and Toronto FC looking much more threatening after the break on the whole, the loss wasn’t without sting – especially after the Crew overcame a 2-0 deficit Saturday to beat the Philadelphia Union 3-2.
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“They’re down,” Vanney said. “They’re frustrated, they’re dejected because they put a lot into this season. Going into this match, they believed that they could get a win, and they believed that they were going to get to the playoffs. They still felt like, in brief conversations with the guys, that we had enough chances to get back in the game. I’m proud of the way the guys went after it in the second half.”
Toronto FC next take on the Montreal Impact at BMO Field, but the team will be without Nick Hagglund, who was sent off late for a collision with Armando, and Michael Bradley, who picked up a yellow arguing with officials to pick up a suspension for caution accumulation.