Thanks to some magic from Jermain Defoe Toronto FC have won their first silverware of 2014, the Trillium Cup. In a match where Toronto were unable to get their footing for large periods he was the reason they were able to win an instant classic against rival Columbus Crew 3-2. With the win the club are now 5-4-2.
Doneil Henry was the hero for Toronto FC, scoring the late winner. Meanwhile, it was Defoe who brought the club from behind twice. Justin Meram and Agustin Viana gave the Crew those two leads respectively.
The post-match analysis will be up soon. For now enjoy the highlights of one of the more thrilling victories in Toronto FC history:
CLB- Meram (Finlay) 18’
TFC- Defoe (PK) 21’
CLB- Viana (Speas) 65’
TFC- Defoe (Gilberto) 81’
TFC- Henry (Lovitz) 90+2’
CLB- Parkhurst (Caution) 39’
CLB- Viana (Caution) 61’
TFC- Bendik (Caution) 66’
TFC- Bekker (Caution) 80’
CLB- Wahl (Caution) 83’
TFC- Henry (Caution) 90’
Toronto FC: 5-4-1 (16 points)
Columbus Crew: 4-5-4 (16 points)
Toronto FC- Bendik, Bloom, Hagglund, Henry, Morrow, Jackson (Gilberto 66’), Orr (Lovitz 18’), Bekker, Osorio (De Rosario 71’), Defoe, Moore
Unused Subs: Konopka, Hall, Rey, De Rosario, Wiedeman,
Columbus Crew- Clark, Williams, Parkhurst, Wahl, Barson, Finlay (Anor 89’), Tchani, Viana (Baidin 73’), Meram, Paladini (Speas 61’), Arrieta
Unused Subs: Lampson, Gehrig, Jimenez, Oduro
RYAN NELSEN - HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
That was quite an ending, was it?
Yes. To be brutally honest, we didn't play well today. We didn't play well at all. Obviously losing Bradley Orr early to a hamstring hurt us because then we had a pretty young back four and a pretty young midfield. That didn't help us. Going a goal down. But even though we didn't play that well we stayed in the game we keep trying, sometimes painful to watch. We kept trying, the boys kept going, they never back out. It's a funny game; even the best teams in the world have really bad days in the office. But if you still try and do the good things, if you still try and win the fifty fifty balls, be positionally sound, stay with the organization, stay with the structure and try and keep doing what's right, you get generally rewarded.
Is that the beauty of having Jermain Defoe in the roster, even as your team is not necessarily playing well he is still capable of scoring two goals.
Yes, 100%. You give the man a chance and he'll take it. That's priceless in any team and in any league and that's why we brought him in.
What changed with the substitutions? Obviously something did, immediately after Gilberto and Derosario came on it seemed the team had more confidence.
Yes they give us some more experience in there, just a bit of athleticism in Gilberto. It's just a different kind of picture that Columbus had to look at. De Rosario I thought was really good because he started wanting the ball in these little streams that we weren't getting into. That makes their back line into making awkward decisions when we were very predictable. It was just one of those days but that's why you make those substitutions. Its credit to the guys that came on because it turned the momentum and it turned the tide.
How valuable was it to have Doneil Henry out there. He scored twice in two games now. Your thoughts about his ability in front of goal?
Well he's got amazing athleticism. He got lovely spring. He's a good timer of heading and heading the ball. It's just reward for him being brave and trying to make an impact in the game and not letting the game go by and then looking in the mirror at night and going, "God I wish I'd made that run".
What did you think of Doneil Henry and Nick Hagglund back there and how they held themselves?
Nick's only played a handful of games in this league and Doneil Henry is still just a young man in his career. I have faith in them. I think they are very good players. I put them out there because I have faith in them and I still have faith in them. I thought they did really well. It's great for the future when we can put out the Doniel Henry's, the Nick Hagglund's, the Daniel Lovetz, the Jonathan Osorio's, and the Kyle Bekker's. These are still really raw players in terms of MLS experience. They'll only get better.
Jermain Defoe - Forward, Toronto FC
That's just football where some games you play in and there are times when you play well and don't win the game. You just try to manage it with a grin, there are often games where we haven't been at our best and we are still getting results, still scoring and again great character. To come back and to win the game and its not an easy thing to do, it was difficult conditions because it was hot and at times the game was a little bit slow. But you know its all about character again. Yeah we won the game and i felt that we deserved to win it.
Your first trophy with TFC how does it feel?
Yeah it was great and that's why i came here, to help the younger players, to help the team, the club and the city and achieve great things. It's the first of many.
Doneil Henry - Defender, Toronto FC
We are just so happy for you, you've had a lot of criticism, but you've really kind of fought through it.
In your career when you have your negative days, you can be a timid person or you can be a man and embrace it, just try to better yourself, understand the game better. I just want to come in every day and be positive and eliminate the mistakes that I would usually make. I'm trying to bring a new side of my game and finish more. I've had good opportunities to score and even in New York what happened I never connected with the ball very well. I'd like to that it's time to get a few more goals and help my team.
Well its two goals in two games, so what's going on...
I'm aggressive and i try to take that last second, when I see the ball and connect with it and try finding the net.
Are you drinking from the trophy tonight?
Definitely not we have a cup game on Wednesday that we are looking forward to now. Definitely preparing myself for Montreal now, it's not going to be easy.
What does it feel like to score a winning goal like that, after the team has been down most of the second half.
Its big. Sergio Ramos is my favorite defender, and you see what he has done for that team and and you see what he did in the final in stoppage time. it really shows character they never give up, until that whistle blows you have to keep going and keep pressing and your opportunities will come think the more hungry you are, the more desire, and passion your show for your team. To pays off, if not this game the next game.
The crowd seems to almost know that it was coming, how did that have an effect on your team.
I feel that we feed off it. When the fans start cheering and get really loud it provides an extra boost and more energy. When we score you see the place lights up. It's a great feeling and we finally we can say we won a cup.
You have been on previous TFC teams that have conceded goals in the last minute, what is it like being on the other side now.
It definitely think it's the guys that we have in this locker room, we have some really bold characters, and some guys that will really die for the game. That has been the difference maker and we believe our coach, and stick up and die for this coach, Ryan Nelsen. So when you think about opportunities and winning games and trying to finally bring a playoff Toronto you think about the guys in this change room and the level that they put up, and make an impact on the game.
Justin Morrow - Defender, Toronto FC
Doneil Henry had a goal against Montreal and a fantastic game there, and a game winning goal today and it seems like he said today I have to improve.
Yeah I am so happy for him, I mean it was tough, people were harping on him, and our own fans were harping on him. For him to come back after these two games is awesome to see a fellow centre back doing well and winning games and TFC getting into the playoffs this year.
GREGG BERHALTER - Columbus Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach
Thoughts on today's game...
Disappointment. I think that we put ourselves in a position to get a result tonight and we didn't do it. At the end of the day it's disappointing.
Thoughts on the lack of flow throughout the game...
We didn't play well that's for sure. Our normal game, controlling the game and movement wasn't there. Having said that we still put ourselves in position at the end of the day to get a result and we didn't do that. Credit Toronto for putting a lot of pressure on towards the end of the game but I still think that we need to be better.
How would you grade yourselves this far into the season?
I think we are right where we should be. We are a team that still needs to improve, we're a team that can beat most teams in the league at any given day but we need consistency and in games like this we need to come out with a result. I think that it's a learning process for the group and today was a really great opportunity in my eyes to really seal a result under pressure. I think it was a good opportunity for us to learn how to win, learn how to fight for each other, to battle, and I'm disappointed that we didn't do it.
How much of not being able to close out the game was mental?
I wouldn't say it's mental, we didn't execute. Look at the goals that they scored and it's simple, we didn't execute.
Dan Paladini - Forward, Columbus Crew
Thoughts on today's game...
We are very disappointed to not come out with any points. I thought at times we had control of the game and we talked about it, the last 10 or 15 minutes we kind of dropped down and let them get the momentum and (Jermain) Defoe scored a good goal off of nothing. They did exactly what we went over for the week, they played long balls, looked for Defoe off the flicks and we knew exactly what they were going to do and they did it.
Is tonight's loss harder knowing that you had control at the 81st minute?
Yeah, exactly, it's tough. It's the cruel part of our sport. You can control all the possession, a couple of freak plays, a guy that can finish like that, it can cost you.
Are there any positives to take away from tonight's game?
We just have got to turn it around the next game. The good thing is that we have the opportunity at home to play against Salt Lake, get three points there and then close out the week before the World Cup with six of nine points.
Josh Williams - Defender, Columbus Crew
Thoughts on today's game...
There's not much positive to come out from this. It was a very winnable game. I guess the one positive is that we've got two more games this week to correct this. It was very disappointing and I know the team feels that way. To give up two leads like that, especially with the two goals we had. We gave up a PK and some balls in bad areas. The entire second half was kind of disappointing to me. I felt good about the game coming into the half. At half-time, I felt good about coming out in the second half and being able to take the lead and that's exactly what happened. Unfortunately we couldn't hold onto it. Like I said, the good thing is that we get two more chances this week.
Is tonight's loss harder knowing that you were control with nine minutes remaining?
Yes, I'll take a two-one lead into the 81st minute any day. To come here, its not the easiest place to play and they have a lot of good guys, especially with some of the subs they used, a lot of experienced guys. At the same time I think we panicked a little bit. I think we have enough leadership, we have enough skill, we have enough quality to close out games like that. I think if you ask anyone in the locker room everyone is going to be disappointed with the result. It's back to the training ground but it's not really something that you can work on. Everybody needs to look in the mirror and we need to have a little gut check here. We can't have any more games and disappointments like this. This is strictly between the players. This is something that we've got to look at each other and we've got to rally around. There is no way this can happen again.
Thoughts on playing against Jermaine Defoe and Gilberto...
Those are quality players. Those guys can strike at any minute and obviously it happened tonight. At the end of the day, I always feel good about our defense. I feel organized, I never really feel threatened, I trust my guys around me and I feel they feel the same way about me. At the same time you've got guys like that (Jermain Defoe and Gilberto) who are ready to pounce on any little thing and unfortunately we had some uncharacteristic slip ups. It's not one guy, I think the defense as a whole needs to get together and regroup. We've got a game Wednesday at home, and I know a lot of supporters will be there, so we've got to forget this, put it behind us, come out and be ready Wednesday to get three points.