Toronto FC ended the 2014 season with a disappointing 1-0 loss at the hands of the playoff-bound New England Revolution ending a roller coaster year.
Lee Nguyen’s 18th goal of the season wound up being the dagger that pierced Toronto FC hearts for the final time this season, and it was exacerbated by yet another controversial refereeing decision leading to a goal. Referee Ricardo Salazar waved off an offside flag from his linesman for what looked like a clear offside and New England kept playing on while the Toronto FC defenders were caught in two minds.
“That moment was an emotional kick in the groin for us,” TFC head coach Greg Vanney told reporters on the phone after the match. “It’s unfortunate [because] that was a clear offside from the guy who’s supposed to make the call, the linesman who lifts the flag and has the flag up; the guy is clearly two yards offside. I’ve seen the replay already and the center referee, who was not in position to make the call tells him to put the flag down.”
Vanney said that the fourth official explained to him that the confusion came from a flick on from the head of Dominic Oduro from Jose Goncalves’ pass to release Chris Tierney out wide on the left, but that explanation left Vanney with more questions than answers, since Tierney was in an offside position on both the initial pass and the back flick.
Thus ends Toronto FC’s 2014 season. The club missed the MLS post-season for the eighth season in a row and for Vanney his work doesn’t stop at the end of his side’s final match of the year.
With a suggestion of more 4-3-3 football in the future, as was on display tonight, Vanney’s real work is about to begin as Toronto FC head into the offseason.
“I am committed to putting in the work to make sure we are moving forward in a successful way,” Vanney said. “Part of that is establishing a culture of winning, and that means finding and getting people in here who know how to win. It means working everyday to the standard of what it takes to be a champion and doing some things that maybe we didn’t think before that we needed to do.
“Everything matters,” he continued. “What we do on the field, off the field, in training, to rehab and recover, our sports sciences department, everything. We’re going to be putting in an incredible amount of work to make sure we function like champions, because we need to start believing it and acting it every day. Our goal is not to be playoff contenders; it’s to be champions of MLS and we’re going to start acting and behaving like champions on a daily basis.”
“That’s the way it’s going to be,” Vanney concluded. “What I need to find out is what players are willing to do that and what players aren’t.”