Toronto FC are back to their winning ways, and once again it was Bradley who orchestrated it all. Not Michael Bradley this time, who is off at US camp, but Bradley Orr. The fullback turned centreback turned defensive midfielder was crucial in Toronto FC's 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls. The win improves TFC's record to 4-4-0 and was their first win at home since the March 22nd home opener.
Jermain Defoe had the goal on an excellent through ball from Bradley Orr, and was lively throughout, generating plenty of offense. Luke Moore had the second goal in just his second match for Toronto FC. After being shelled in the midweek Voyageurs Cup tie, Joe Bendik had far less to do on this day to preserve the clean sheet for his club.
A full analysis of the match will be up later tonight. For now, give Roy Hodgson a big thanks for the following goal, and probably for a lot more in the next couple of months.
TFC- Defoe (Orr) 12'
TFC- Moore 90'
NYRB- Henry (Caution) 6'
NYRB- Olave (Caution) 42'
TFC- Morrow (Caution) 45'
TOR- Defoe (Caution) 88'
NYRB- Armando (Caution) 90'
Toronto FC- 4-4-0 (12 pts)
New York- 3-4-5 (14 pts)
Toronto FC- Bendik, Morrow, Caldwell, Hagglund, Bloom, Orr, Rey (Lovitz 67'), Osorio, Bekker, Gilberto (Moore 56'), Defoe.
Unused Subs: Konopka, Morgan, Henry, Hall, De Rosario,
New York- Robles, Convey (Izquierdo 81'), Kimura (Duvall 48'), Olave, Armando, Sam, McCarty, Steele, Alexander, Wright-Phillips, Henry
Unused Subs: Akpan, Eckersley, Sekagya, Lade, Meara
RYAN NELSEN - HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
What's your take on the performance?
I thought it was a really good first half performance, a dominant first half performance to tell you the truth. We dictated with and without the ball, we didn't get that second goal. The worry was that as the game went on, a few of the guys played 120 minutes on an artificial field and did the travel from Vancouver, you kind of think that fatigue might kind of weigh in. They have some quality players like Henry and Wright-Phillips, and you just worry that tiredness might come in. Their mental strength got them through it, and they had a spell where we had to rely on strength and mental character and we held them out. We had some luck but we deserved that luck. Obviously the second goal put the game to bed.
Bradley Orr seemed quite the inspired choice in the center midfield, what was the reason behind that?
We just needed some balance. We were always going to the get the chances at BMO with the quality of players that we have up top. And I just thought we needed that defensive balance that kind of screens Henry and Wright-Phillips, so nothing can really get into their feet as much and they might have to go long a bit more and I know our guys are really good in the air and read the game well. It was a defensive move that was hoping to be a kind of offensive move. But Brad amongst many was superb and played really well.
You went with Hagglund with Henry on the bench; Hagglund seemed to have a great game against some of the greats of Henry and Wright-Phillips, what were your thoughts about his game and the decision process of him over Henry?
One of the things that I admire about Nick is that he has no fear, no fear in life, let alone a football game. He is going to be a success at whatever he does, because of his personality; he is such an energetic and charismatic man. So I had no problem about who he was coming up against because the bigger the challenge the more he rises up to it. Doneil just played 120 minutes, he had a sore quad and he got a bit of a head knock and just felt like he needed a rest. Nick deserved his chance and in this game you have to take those chances.
There was an altercation between Defoe and Armando. What did you see happen from the bench?
They were niggling at Jermain the whole game, especially the second half. They were two physical center backs and they were trying everything they can, as you would. Jermain is a world class player and you just try to put him off his game. I would like to think that he could have got protected a little bit more, especially from the linesman as the referee doesn't always see it. The constant nudging in the back, the pushing, the elbows and i know its football and that's the way the game is played. Henry had some protection over the years and i hope they start protecting Jermain because he is probably going to get a lot of that in this league.
BRADLEY ORR - DEFENDER, TORONTO FC
Was there some more chemistry today?
Jermain and I have been speaking. We felt it was positive. We knew we had to come out flying certainly at home because we had to give our loyal supporters something to shout about. We were well aware of that. If felt it was a good performance. We may have got mentally and physically tired in the 2nd half after the mid-week game. But that's where we come strong again because we got a team full of men who are willing to stand up and put the bodies on the line and I think that's what we've done in the 2nd half.
Is there a certain amount of satisfaction to see Jermain scoring?
I was delighted for him. As I said before, it's a measure of the man. I know he is not too big in stature but you won't get many with a bigger heart than he's got and the determination. I'm just delighted for him. That's no fluke. When you see how much he works on the training pitch day in and day out. Practice makes perfect and he seems to be practicing all the time.
JERMAIN DEFOE - FORWARD, TORONTO FC
Do you feel a chemistry developing? Some of the service you were getting was pretty good.
I've mentioned before that it's a good team. Things are not just going to happen overnight. Sometimes it takes time and today was really good. We were getting a lot of chances, unlucky sometimes we weren't hitting the spot. We could have had a couple more but I thought overall we were the better team.
Speaking of taking time. Do you think that it will take some time to get protection from the referees? Ryan Nelsen was saying that if they are going to give as much protection to Henry, they should do the same for you.
Yes, obviously I don't want to criticize anyone. But it was that sort of game today. At sometimes it was hard because you work so hard keeping the ball; protecting the ball and sometimes you do need those little bit of support from the referee, because if it's a foul it's a foul. I'm not one of those players to roll around and try and get people sent off. I always try to stay on my feet. But if it's a free kick, it's a free kick. But hopefully next game I get some more protection.
Did that goal feel any sweeter because of what's gone on this week?
Obviously it does you know it's only normal after disappointment to try and prove people wrong and just to remind people that at the end of the day this is what this is what we are doing and I think we did that today.
Any added motivation playing against Thierry Henry and Red Bulls?
I am always motivated. It doesn't matter who you play against. You always got to be motivated. That's what I am here to do. I am here to try and help the players achieve something special here. I'll always work hard.
MIKE PETKE - HEAD COACH, NEW YORK RED BULLS
Did you feel the open net miss was the turning point of the game?
When you are at the top of the 6 yard box and put it over, it's a very tough day but we had other opportunities of course. At the end of the day, it was a good second half.
How different from your perspective is Toronto FC from years past?
They have made strides for years now. What Ryan and his staff have done here is really good and I don't think they are where they could be. It takes time and they are going to get better.
What did you think of Chris Duvall's performance in the second half?
Chris played well in the second half, he really did, I am not going to talk too much on it and put more pressure on the kid. He came on and worked hard and put in some passes.
What did you feel was the difference in the second half from the first?
We showed a lot more urgency, we took better care of the ball and we put ourselves in better situations.
DAX MCCARTY - MIDFIELDER, NEW YORK RED BULLS
How would you characterize that game out there today?
Obviously, the first half we weren't good enough (everyone), the pitch was a bit bobbly but that was no excuse for how bad on the ball we were. We had too many giveaways, too many loose passes and too many instances where we gave them the ball back too easily.
In the second half you created a lot more but was it frustrating that the finish wasn't there?
It seems like when we get our backs against the wall, we come out and play and play a little bit better. We don't understand why we come out and start so poorly and when you are on the road, the last thing you want to do is concede an early goal and give the home team confidence. Obviously, they did not do too much after the goal but it was more of a battle than anything. That's the kind of team Toronto FC is, they battle, they defend well, they are organized and get guys behind the ball to win it back.
THIERRY HENRY - FORWARD, NEW YORK RED BULLS
What are your thoughts on the game?
Once again, we concede an early goal. We lost the ball and conceded a counter attack away from home. Jermain Defoe took his finish very well but after that I felt we controlled the game. We had a lot of the ball but it just didn't go our way and again on the counter attack at the end. They defended well so fair play to them and they have been playing very well at the moment.
Are you surprised at how inspired Jermain Defoe came out after being left of the England squad?
Jermaine Defoe has been doing this since he was 14 years old and as long as he plays he will do that.
What did you think of Bradley's miss?
It is part of the game. Bradley has scored many times since the beginning of the season and if he scored it could have changed the game but at the end of the day, Toronto FC won 2-0. No one on this team can blame Bradley for anything. He has been tremendous for us all season and I am sure he will score a lot more as the season goes on.
Is it a surprise to see Bradley Wright-Phillips with 9 goals?
No, not at all, he got that from his dad (Ian Wright) I guess. He is a good little scorer and sometimes it goes in the back of the net and sometimes it doesn't. He's been doing what he is doing for years and he didn't do it today but we need to bounce back vs. Portland.
Do you see a change in Toronto FC in regards to the caliber of the MLS?
They have Caldwell, Orr, De Rosario, Defoe, Bradley and Julio Cesar; they all bring a lot of experience and quality. You can sense that the team has more confidence and like I said today, although they were under a lot of pressure but did not collapse and went on to score a goal at the end and win the game.