With a victory today at BMO Field, Toronto FC now enter the World Cup break with six wins, just as many as they were able to claim all of last season. That alone can be an indicator of how far they have come as a club, and so was the fact that they were able to hold on for a tight 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes. With the win their record has now improved to 6-4-1.
Jermain Defoe had the only goal of the match from the penalty spot, his seventh of the season. It was the play of Nick Hagglund, brilliant throughout, that created the penalty. Joe Bendik was able to keep the clean sheet for Toronto.
As per usual, a more in depth analysis of match will be up later. For now, enjoy the fact that Toronto FC are heading into the World Cup break with a rare winning flavour.
TFC- Defoe (PK) 27'
TFC- Henry (Caution) 17'
SJE- Cronin (Caution) 60'
SJE- Goodson (Caution) 66'
TFC- Hagglund (Caution) 84'
Toronto FC: 6-4-1 (19 points)
San Jose: 4-5-4 (16 points)
Toronto FC- Bendik, Bloom, Henry, Caldwell, Hagglund, Jackson (Oduro 65') , Bekker (Lovitz 78' [Morrow 81']), Warner, Osorio, Moore, Defoe
Unused Subs: Konopka, Morgan, Hall, De Rosario,
San Jose- Busch, Harden, Barklage, Stewart, Goodson, Cato, Salinas (Thompson 89'), Pierazzi, Cronin (Koval 69'), Gordon (Schuler 70'), Lenhart
Unused Subs: Fucito, Meredith, Hernandez, Francis
Ryan Nelsen - Head Coach, Toronto FC
Bit of tough second half there...
Yeah it was always going to be with the heat and the fixture list that we have had. I think it's the 5th game we had in thirteen or fourteen days. I tried to keep it as fresh as I can over the time. But it was always, going to be one of those ones...we didn't get the second goal which was key, if we got the second goal that would have been key, because we didn't they were always in the game. They are dangerous on set pieces, some very competitive guys in the air and they are very good at winning second balls as well and just continuing the pressure and we gave away late tired fouls, and just tired positions. But in saying that I can't fault them for it because it has been a tough little bit that we had but what I can say is you've got to stand up against that San Jose team because they will win a lot of games, playing like that, they are really well organized, they know what they are doing on set pieces and the long throws are dangerous, they will win a lot of games through that. It's a very tough game so you have to stand up and you got to be man to deal with it. To get a clean sheet and win is what 100% we were looking for.
What happened to Gilberto?
He was injured on Wednesday and he trained on Friday lightly. He tried to get through it and he just couldn't, he pulled out.
What was the decision for Morrow?
Justin had a bereavement in the family, and he flew straight back to Toronto on Thursday and flight to the funeral and he came back late last night. So obviously it's not ideal preparation for him. And that's why we had to do that change.
Nick Hagglund's performance?
I think he is icing his groin from that volley he did in the first half. He is just a lovely guy, that is not afraid of any occasion, he puffs his chest out and just goes for it. And whether you put him at striker or you put him in goal he is just that type of personality, and those types of personalities go a long way and not just in soccer but in life. And that's why he is just a pleasure to have around the place.
Warner was welcomed back to the midfield?
I think you saw why we brought the man in. he was very good again, and he will only get better and better, once he understands the system that we play, we still haven't had time to embed Luke in and Domenic, and Collen in with the system. But now we got this three week break, we can really work them in, and work on the combinations and get everything going. And hopefully we can come out of the back of that with Michael (Bradley), well hopefully the US do very well, but we will probably have Michael back soon, then we can start really feeling like kind of a team, a complete team.
Jermaine had his fourth game winning goal of the season. Do you allow yourself to think where you would be without him?
Well no because that's why we brought him in. that's the reason why we signed the man. Look last year we had a shape that always made us competitive in games, but when we got the opportunity we wouldn't score. We know if we keep a shape and organization we will get opportunities and that's why I went for Jermaine Defoe, because he generally takes them. Now a 100% we have to evolve as a team, our passes, there is a whole list of things, we have got to get better as team. I'm the first one to sit here and say that. But we have to build a foundation, we have to learn how to win, we have to learn how to win one nil, we have to learn how to win ugly, we have to learn how to win without the ball, we have to learn how to win with it. And it's just the growing pains of a young team and we are team that hasn't been together very often. So we will work hard, we know we are not nowhere near our best. So we will continue to work hard on the training ground.
Jermain Defoe - Forward, Toronto FC
You scored your 7th goal of the season; do they continue to get sweeter as they go in?
Yes, it was a difficult game due to the conditions, it was very hot. I think when the game is hot like that, the game is a lot slower and you have to be more patient.
Thoughts on the game...
I thought we were the better team, especially the first half where they really didn't create any chances. They were sort of like an English team where they had the big man (Lenhart) up front and he causes some problems. Our defense was unbelievable today as they won the game for us.
How do you rate your MLS career so far? Was this what you expected?
On a personal note I think I've enjoyed it. As a forward I haven't set myself targets for goals, I am just trying to get off to a good start and after that I can just relax and enjoy my football and then the goals will come. I didn't really have any clear cut chances today but obviously we got the penalty. Before you come to MLS you can never imagine what it is going to be like, you just have to come and experience it for yourself. I am lucky enough to be at a good club where the players get treated right and playing with good young players. We have good chemistry, team spirit and I believe we can do something special this year.
Nick Hagglund - Defender, Toronto FC
Ryan Nelsen was very complimentary of you - talk about your performance and your first start going into the world cup break.
It's been a bit of a roller coaster and it's been a lot of fun just playing with the guys. We have a great group and Nelsen has done nothing but great things; he's always encouraged me to push forward and put me in positions where I can grow.
What was going on in the penalty box when you were awarded a penalty kick?
The first free kick we had the player hugged me and held me, and the second time I asked the ref to check this player out. When the cross came in I went for it and the player put an arm to my face and we got the penalty.
First few months in the league, what are your thoughts of adjusting to the league?
For the first few weeks I thought this was way over my head but the guys were always encouraging me and letting me know that it is ok to make mistakes and I felt that really helped me as a player.
Mark Watson - Head Coach, San Jose Earthquakes
Mark, how did you see the game today?
I thought from our point of view we started pretty slow which was disappointing but I give credit to our guys because they found a way to come back and give a good go at it in the second half. I wasn't happy with the performance in the first half, it didn't seem like we had the energy that was necessary to compete right away and in the end we are down a goal and chasing it but the guys responded well and had a good go at the end.
Did Toronto defend well the entire game or did you guys not do what you needed to do to go forward and create opportunities?
I didn't think we were that dangerous going forward. We had a few balls in the box but other than that we were not overly creative. A little bit disappointing on that, that is something we need to work on but at the end of the game we went forward and got a lot of balls forward and had a couple of half chances. Disappointing overall but its always nice when your guys respond and make a game of it.
A penalty in your mind?
No. I haven't seen the replay so I don't want to say too much about it but it looked a little soft from where we were sitting.
How do you guys go away with the World Cup Break and come back energized?
We have a US Open Cup game on Wednesday night, that will be a big game for us and then we'll give the guys a few days off, get a little time away and get going again. There is a little bit of time off which is good so the injuries can rest up and heal up a little bit. We are excited about the second half of the season because aside from a sub-par performance tonight this team is really starting to come together.
Sam Cronin - Midfielder, San Jose Earthquakes
A disappointing league game from you guys, how did you see it?
We just weren't up to pace in the first half. We had a little better effort in the 2nd half but we had an unfortunate penalty call on us, I think and we were chasing the game from there.
Did Toronto defend well in this game? You guys didn't seem to have many opportunities or did you guys not do what you needed to do to go forward and create?
I don't think we moved the ball very sharply and didn't make it too difficult on them. They have two big center backs and they are good in the air. Are guys had a tough time battling them all day. We had to find different avenues and we did a little better in the 2nd half but it was not enough.
You guys have the US Open Cup game; will that be able to make the (World Cup) break a little easier, if you can get a result there?
Yes, it will be good, especially when you get a poor performance, you want to get your guys back up, so having a game on Wednesday is good for us.