Well, it wasn't the prettiest game, the pitch, barely recovered from a tough winter, saw to that, but TFC did what they needed to do. The defence was solid, I don't remember Cesar having a serious save to make. Michael Bradley was again combative and destructive with a few very nice passes. Defoe was unlucky not to score at least one before he eventually did, collecting the scraps after Gilberto had a shot saved. Gilberto showed some nice touches as well, which is promising. Rey looked his usual combination of skillful but often wasteful, Jackson remains as feisty as ever.
The crowds, enthusiasm and buzz were back at BMO, the a capella national anthem was great to hear again, hopefully results like this will just keep that going. This season could be fun.
We'll have a full report and more detailed analysis later, for now enjoy Defoe's goal, the full highlights, the match summary and post game quotes.
TFC - Jermain Defoe ‘60
TFC - Jackson '50 (caution)
DCU - Davy Arnaud (caution)
Toronto FC: 2-0-0 6pts.
D.C. United: 0-2-0 0pts.
Toronto FC - Júlio César; Mark Bloom, Steve Caldwell ©, Doneil Henry, Justin Morrow; Jackson, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Álvaro Rey (Bradley Orr '83); Gilberto (Dwayne De Rosario '63), Jermain Defoe
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Bendik, Ashtone Morgan, Nick Hagglund, Andrew Wiedeman, Kyle Bekker
D.C. United - Bill Hamid; Cristian (Conor Doyle '82), Bobby Boswell ©, Jeff Parke, Sean Franklin; Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud (Kyle Porter '66), Luis Silva, Nick DeLeon; Fabian Espindola, Eddie Johnson
Substitutes Not Used: Nana Attakora, Jared Jeffrey, Taylor Kemp, Collin Martin Andrew Dykstra
RYAN NELSEN – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Any thoughts on the performance?
I thought our performance was really good. It’s been a little bit of an awkward game for us, when you know the expectations would be high and we knew the crowd would be out, we knew the field and we knew the conditions and it was going to be game where who made the mistake and who took the chance. It was always just going to be that. We had three really good chances in the first half to score and obviously controlled the game, but it just never came for us. Battling against that wind, I think that first half performance, even though it wasn’t pretty on the eye, it set up for us to win that game.
Would you say the weather contributed to the inability to showcase the great talent that Toronto has?
The field was not conclusive to playing any sort of football. You saw most of the attacks from both team and the productive attacks were all from turnovers. Some of the counter attacking we did in the first half was good. We just couldn't finish it off. Of course the fields not great but that's no fault to the groundsmen. I blame God for that. For the winter he's given Toronto.
Talk about Alvaro Rey, he seems to be progressing; he's kind of an unsung guy.
He certainly created a lot and did a lot in midfield. Especially in the first half he was very dangerous and it really wasn’t perfect conditions for him. But when he got it into his feet he really showed what a terrific player he is. He opened them up a few times and I think we had three really good chances to score that goal.
MICHAEL BRADLEY – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC
How did that striking duo look to you? The first time you were playing together with Jermain and Gilberto? What did you think of the chemistry they had together and how they worked?
I thought they were both really sharp. They both worked their movement was really good. I thought as far as playing off of each other they did a really good job. You only have to look at the goal to see. Gilberto makes a great little run and is in on goal and Jermain is right there with him and when the keeper makes the save and Jermain's right there. I think those two are going continue to get better and better.
What do you think of the atmosphere in your first home game?
We all expected it to be good but I don’t think anybody really knew that it was going to be this good. When you’re standing on the field before the game and the entire stadium was singing the Canadian national anthem that was special.
STEVEN CALDWELL – DEFENDER, TORONTO FC
Thoughts on the play of Doneil Henry
Very pleased. Obviously he is a very good young good player who has proven. It's a pleasure playing beside him. I think we complement each other well and hopefully we can keep getting better and better and obviously clean sheets are important so it's a real bonus to get one today.
What did you make of that atmosphere tonight?
It was fantastic. It was really great to be a part of that. Obviously the cold affects everybody a little bit including those at the bar so hopefully as it heats up it will get even rowdier. I think if we keep giving the fans good performances I'm sure they will be behind us.
BEN OLSEN – HEAD COACH, D.C. United
Do you see the improvement in the game despite the result?
Yes but it still doesn’t feel great. It’s a loss but I think when I look back I think we will see that we really took some steps forward. We didn’t struggle. There are the things we worked on in the past few weeks and we implemented a lot of that. It was a day that things just didn’t fall our way in our offensive third and hopefully that will come. On their goal, we cleared the ball and it goes right to Defoe. I think we needed that little bit of luck today to get the result.
Do you feel like the surface played a factor in your team’s performance today. What’s your take on how the pitch looked?
It was pretty poor. It was as bad as I’ve ever seen in the MLS. But both teams had to deal with it and I thought that we actually dealt with it very well. The balance of play was safe and we were keeping it, and we had some good attacks and rhythm. Again, there are a lot of positives in this game but it still hurts as a loss.
What do you think was missing from your performance?
Whether it’s the final ball or the final play, a lot of times when you lead teams that’s the last to come and the hardest part to do, putting the ball in the net. But that’s not an excuse; we got a find a way to do it. Other teams that are new and not yet gelling are doing it. So we got to find a way to add that to a lot of the positives we saw today, or defensive shape was better today, our commitment and aggressiveness were elevated. Hopefully we can score some goals this coming week.
What does the presence of Bradley and Defoe on this team do against you?
It just makes them better. Tactically you would like to get around Michael Bradley as much as possible, as he is a heck of a player. He can pass and he can make that final ball. Defoe is also a world class striker, so you have to limit his opportunities and make sure you are actively defending him on the counter attack. They are a dangerous team on the counter attack and will be all season, with the likes of Ray and Gilberto they will continue to do that to teams.
BOBBY BOSWELL – DEFENDER, D.C. UNITED
Tough Loss, what can you take away from this performance?
I think there were a lot of positives to take away, unfortunately we aren’t judged on our positives we are judged on results. We lost to another conference opponent but we can be proud of the way the guys played for the most part, I thought we were all over them for a while. I think once we score one they are going to come in bunches. I thought Bill played a hell of a game, but unfortunately they pay that guy a lot of money to poach and he poached and got himself a goal so it was not meant to be tonight.
Do you feel you could have done better with the clearance for the goal?
I thought the Gilberto guy slid in to me as I went to clear it, and in hindsight it is easy to say I should just kick it out for a corner but I thought I had a good read on it and make a good play. They teach you when you are young to kick it high and wide when you are five years old and I am one that preaches that. Looking back it wasn’t the greatest thing but it wasn’t unimpeded, I got hit there.
Did you get a chance to see the elbow by Jackson during that altercation?
I did on the replay, it looked pretty bad. Guys make a big deal about it during the run of play, the guys that saw it, I’m sure guys here saw it but that’s up to the disciplinary committee to decide on that.
LUIS SILVA – MIDFIELDER, D.C. UNITED
Before the game you mentioned about playing behind two strikers this week instead of one, wondering how you felt that link up play was?
I felt it was pretty good, we got some good balls through but overall they defended very well and were very organized and kept us from getting shots and made it difficult.
Your team dominated possession for long periods of the match for the most part playing decent football on a poor pitch, what do you feel was missing in that final third to get the ball in the back of the net?
We didn’t create enough room to have shots, but the field didn’t help that. As I said, they did well to stay organized at the back and it was tough for us to break down. When the game opened up I thought we did well but they did well to win.