We'll have a full report out later, and we'll be adding quotes and stats to this later, but for now, let's just enjoy ourselves some Jermain fucking Defoe! This season might be fun.
And here's Clint Dempsey punching Mark Bloom in the nuts. I'd say I'm expecting a suspension, but it's Dempsey so obviously all good.
Here's the game in six, and below, the scoring summary and quotes from Nelsen, Defoe, Schmid and Frei.
TFC - Jermain Defoe (Jonathan Osorio) ‘17
TFC - Jerman Defoe ‘24
SEA - Clint Dempsey (Obafemi Martins) 68'
TFC - Alvaro Rey '63 (caution)
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso 70' (caution)
TFC - Justin Morrow 78' (caution)
TFC - Júlio César 83' (caution)
Toronto FC: 1-0-0 3pts.
Seattle Sounders FC: 1-1-0 3pts.
Toronto FC - Júlio César; Mark Bloom, Steve Caldwell ©, Doneil Henry, Justin Morrow; Jackson (Ashtone Morgan 90'+3), Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Álvaro Rey (Bradley Orr 65'); Dwayne De Rosario (Andrew Wiedeman 63'), Jermain Defoe
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Bendik, Ryan Richter, Nick Hagglund, Kyle Bekker
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Djimi Traore, Dylan Remick; Lamar Neagle (Chad Barrett '79), Osvaldo Alonso, Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans © (Gonzalo Pineda 29'), Marco Pappa (Kenny Cooper 64'); Obafemi Martins
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Jalil Anibaba, Andy Rose, Sean OkoliRYAN NELSEN - HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
(On the game...)"Obviously it's a very difficult place to play. They are very well coached and have some fantastic players. In my opinion, they're probably one of the favorites to win this competition. So when you come here, you have to show more than just football ability, but heart and character. We knew as the game went on that it'd get tough and we had to stand up for it. I thought the guys were magnificent in the first half when it came to their football and magnificent in the second half when it came to their desire and their character."
(On the team not being familiar with each other...) "We've got so much to improve on. We're not stupid - we know we have new players coming in that haven't played together. Our organization wasn't too bad, but we can be so much better off the ball. What I like about this team is their heart, their character, their desire, that they want to win. That's what you hope for and build your house on that type of foundation. We know we have lots to improve on and we'll get back to work as soon as we can."
(On if this game sends a message to Toronto fans and the league...) "No, no, it's one game. We tick that box. As I said, we know we've got so much to improve on. We've got to get better in all facets and a couple of guys we need to get up to speed fitness-wise. We tick that box and move on to the next one. We have a very difficult game against D.C. next."
(On Michael Bradley's play in midfield...) "He initiates a lot of pressure and he backs it up. He causes turnovers by his presence and on the other side, even Michael would probably say, when you're not used to that kind of surface, it takes a bit to get used to. Our passing wasn't as good, but for us, it was a game where we had to stay organized and we had to show character and the chances that we got, we had to take when we did."
(On the team's vision for this year...) "We've got a vision of where the club wants to be. We're trying to take steps forward and how big those steps are are determined on days like this. It was a good step forward. Again, we're self-aware enough to know that we've got lots to work on. The guys now will recover and can't wait to get back to work and try and get better."
(On play in the second half...) "When you're playing against a team of the quality of Seattle - they've got a fantastic coach, a fantastic home ground and the fans behind them - you're going to have times when you soak up pressure. We soaked up a lot of it and handled it very well. As I said, when you come to a place like this, if you're going to get a win, you have to be able to handle it. I thought the players were fantastic."
(On the back line...) "The back line is one of the hardest things to get right, to tell you the truth. Whether you're too high or too low, you balance when you have the ball. When you don't have the ball, it's very important. [...] What I like about this team is they're not afraid of the occasion and for a big occasion like this, they seemed to play a lot better."
(On Doneil Henry...) "I thought he was very good. We forget he's only 20. He plays above his age. But when you've got Justin Morrow, Julio Cesar and Steven Caldwell around you, and Michael Bradley in front of you, it does help. I thought the whole back line - everybody, I can't fault anybody to tell you the truth."
(On where this win ranks in his career...) "It felt like a game that had a bit of an edge. It was built up so it was a powerful game for us. We probably didn't have the greatest preparation going in - we were probably under prepared. To come to a place, like Seattle, which is one of the top places in the league, and get a win is very substantial."
(On coming to Seattle and getting the win...) "It's always going to be difficult when you come to places like this, with the atmosphere, the crowd, and they've got good players. I think to come here and to win was massive for us. Everyone is delighted. It's an important three points."
(On scoring two goals in his MLS debut...) "I think the most important thing is obviously winning the game, and to score two goals in your debut, it's a dream. The first goal was a great ball and you just have to finish it off. I thought the second half, we showed great character because they put us under a lot of pressure and you've got to do that sometimes away from home. Like I said before, the three points was massive."
(On how he thinks Roy Hodgson viewed today's game...) "I think the most important thing for me is to focus on playing here, winning games, and working hard for the team, and obviously trying to score goals. Obviously with the England thing, it's obviously going to be in the back of my mind, but I'm sure if someone said to Roy Hodgson, ‘If you haven't seen Jermain scored two goals...' then maybe he won't be surprised. So yeah, it was good, but I think it's important that we keep our heads down now and all stick together and look forward to the next game."
(On whether today's match was more physical than he expected...) "Yeah, it was physical. Obviously playing on that pitch was different, the artificial, but you can't make excuses. It's the same for both teams. You have to adapt and I thought everyone played well today. I keep mentioning the second half because they got us under a lot of pressure and you have to show character away from home sometimes and I thought we did that in the second half."
(On him and the other international players adjusting to the MLS...) "Obviously sometimes it takes time to adapt. I think obviously when you're training with the boys, you know, it's important to listen to the information and try and see how, you know, your new teammates play. It does take time. For some reason today, it all clicked and it was a massive three points and everyone's happy."
(On now dealing with even higher expectations...) "At the end of the day, I understand that expectations are going to be high. There's pressure, but that's why you play football. You play football to be the best, and to win things, and as a striker, to score goals. There's pressure in that, but it's good pressure."
(On the quality of service he got from teammates...) "It was quality. Obviously it's going to difficult because the pitch, it was quite wobbly, and at times it was like a little bit scrappy, but the service was good. The boys were looking for me and getting the two goals in the first half was important for us. The second half was just organized really. We tried to stay compact and hit them on the counterattack. And that's what we did. Credit to them. They played really well in the second half, but we showed great character."
(On the atmosphere...) "It was electric. It was amazing. Great experience. I thought their fans were fantastic. Our fans were good as well. It's a fantastic stadium."
(On his thoughts on the result...) "[We're] obviously disappointed, especially since we gave up two goals that were really soft. We gave them two gifts. The first was at a time when [Brad] Evans was off injured and wasn't back on the field-we didn't cover the position, so that's our fault. We didn't do that well. The second one was a bad back pass. It went right to him. Obviously when you're going to do that against a good player like [Jermain] Defoe, and give him two good looks on goal, he is going to show you he is a good player and he did. I thought the majority of the game we carried the game. Their danger was off counters or off steals, but we hurt ourselves because we created those opportunities by playing too many square passes when we needed to go forward with it. Too many passes went back and it put us in a hole. We had enough chances in the second half to equalize the game."
(On another physical game...) "[The opposition] can't keep averaging 25 fouls against us every game. It's one way that disrupts the rhythm of play a little bit, when teams are fouling us that much. If you add that up for a whole season I don't know if it's a team record for us or for any team in the league to get fouled that often. Certainly there were quite a few fouls."
(On the team's second half performance...) "I thought we came out in the second half and carried it to them. I thought we played to win. I thought our attitude was good. I thought some of our guys lifted their game-I thought (Obafemi Martins) lifted his game, I thought (Lamar) Neagle was better in the second half than the first, and Clint (Dempsey) began to see the ball more. From that standpoint I thought it was good. How you deal with adversity is what defines your character. Today was a little bit of adversity and we put ourselves into that situation, and now we have to come back from that."
(On Toronto's improvement...) "Obviously they are a better team. When you have players like (Michael) Bradley and (Jermain) Defoe, you're going to be a better team. But when you look at the game I think we carried the game, we possessed the ball, they were looking to counterattack [...] I don't know if they could play week in, week out and be on the wrong side of possession, as they were today. When you have as much possession as we had, you've got to do a better job on converting final chances. They are certainly an improved team-Julio Cesar is a quality goalkeeper, Bradley certainly helps them as well, and Defoe is an experienced player."
(On the game...) "I thought we did alright in the first 10, 15, 20 minutes or so. We got in behind them a couple times, controlled the game pretty well. They had some corners too, but nothing too fancy. We kind of gifted them two goals a little bit, some breakdowns and quick turnovers. The quality that they have, they were obviously going to take their chances. It's tough to trail two-zero at home, obviously, but coming in the second half we did well. I think we responded really well, found that goal with a decent amount of time on the clock. Unfortunately we weren't able to capitalize on a couple of chances late in the second half."
(On pressing all the way to the end...) "I think this is where character comes through-when the going's tough and it really matters. We really responded well. With that being said, we can't be going into half at home being down two-zero. We shouldn't put ourselves in that situation, so we don't have to dig out of that. It's something to build on. We have to show up and work hard on Monday for training and get ready for Montreal."
(On playing his former team...) "Honestly, just another game. Like I said, disappointed to not at least pick up a point. We were aiming for three points at home, obviously, so we have to put this one behind us, learn from it, and get ready for next week."