Tonight Toronto FC came from behind in a fashion that would have been considered impressive even if it was the other way around, and that is saying something. For a team known for squandering leads this role reversal was as superb as it was unexpected. After going down 2-0 early in the second half, Toronto would fight back to win 4-2 at BMO Field. The win improves their record to 7-5-3.
Not surprisingly, it was Jermain Defoe who scored the winner for Toronto, adding insurance just a bit later. It was Jonathan Osorio who did everything else, starting the comeback routine with a goal before playing big roles in the buildup of Dominic Oduro's equalizer and Defoe's winner. Brad Davis had both goals for Houston, setup brilliantly on both occasions by Giles Barnes.
A full analysis of a highly entertaining match will be up momentarily. Until then, here's all 4 goals, plus the full highlights.
RYAN NELSEN - HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Thoughts on today's game...
We came out slow, very slow. Mentally we weren't up for it. We let two, not dangerous crosses but two crosses, into two goals and then we put ourselves in a mountain to climb. And then after that it becomes about character and spirit, and a belief that you are going to get back into the game... You've got to be smart about it, you can't panic. The boys had a bit of a belief that if they stuck to it, and played to the game plan, then the chances will come. They did and they got taken and then I think the third we needed some big plays, and our keeper made a big play, our defenders got their head on the ball and it set up the platform for the fourth goal which made it comfortable.
On having a player like Jermaine Defoe in the lineup...
It helps having a world class player like Defoe anytime, but in times like this yes because you know you are going to get chances and you just hope they get taken. With a player like that they get taken. Our attacking guys got the boys at the back out of trouble because we dug ourselves a bit of a hole. But in saying that, in the end, after 90 odd minutes it was a proper team performance with a lot of character. We are getting close; we are still evolving as a team. We still are only 15 games in the year and even those games not very many of those players have been available, we haven't had a consistent team out there, but we are starting to see it now. We are starting to get a wee bit of belief and as long as we keep making little steps week-in-and-week-out hopefully we'll keep improving.
JERMAIN DEFOE - FORWARD, TORONTO FC
How big was it to get that win after last week?
Yeah, I think it was a must win game. We need the three points. Last week it was hard to take because I thought we were the better team throughout the game and to lose the game it was hard to take so it was important that we got the three points tonight but I think we deserved it. We started slow but we picked it up and the second half was a great performance.
Do you feel you played well tonight?
Everyone played well, the whole team. Everyone worked hard for each other and that's so important. We've got a great team spirit. There are a lot of games in a short space of time. Everyone is just working so hard. We've got some good players; even the lads that don't start tonight can come in and do a great job. It was important, like I said; to get the three points and we did that.
What was the mindset of the guys after you guys went two down?
I don't know, sometimes in games when you concede an early goal or two, there is such a long way to go in the game you just got to keep cool and just try to get the first goal back before half-time and we managed to do that. Then it is two-to-one and you can really kick on and try to get the second goal. But it was important to score in the first half because if you go in two-nil down at half time it's difficult and the teams get confident and may have been more compact. It was two-two so they still had to come out and try to win the game but that suited us because we hit them with our counter attack.
Have you felt comfortable from the get go since coming here?
Yes, it's important to just work hard in the game and that's what I've done really, just got my head down and just try to do what I've done in England. There are some fantastic players here and we're improving game-by-game and I'm just really enjoying it because I'm getting my chances to score. I've always said, it's important as a forward to be confident when you get the chances to score
JOE BENDIK - GOALKEEPER, TORONTO FC
Thoughts on today's game...
It took us 20 minutes, 25 minutes to get into the game but we did an excellent job to lock it down defensively and to help Jermaine (Defoe) get a couple goals.
Brad Davis is a guy that you have to be aware of all the time...
Yeah, that's exactly it. All of us just switched off there at the beginning and I had a chance to make two saves but luckily we got another chance to redeem ourselves which is something that you don't usually get and we did extremely well with it.
How important are the three points tonight?
We are going to take on a good team in Vancouver here on Wednesday so to get the three points; the extra bit of confidence to roll through these next two games in seven days is big.
DOMINIC KINNEAR - HEAD COACH, HOUSTON DYNAMO
What are your thoughts on the game?
Good start and then we made some mistakes that they were more than happy to take advantage of.
What went wrong?
They put the ball in the box and it was obviously a mistake that led to the first goal and it gave them some confidence and it kind of gets them driving on. We had the goal right before half time that was a bit of a blow. I thought we came out and played pretty good in the second half, they got the third goal, we had a couple of good chances there and the fourth one was a mistake too. On the road two goals is good for you, and should be good for the win or something else but when you make mistakes like that you are not going to come away with that much.
Can you take positives out of this, the team is scoring and are they playing better soccer in your mind?
If you want to pull a positive out of it, yes we scored a couple goals and Brad (Davis) is on a bit of a roll. Giles (Barnes) and Will (Bruin) were really menacing and creating some stuff. The back end of it, the other side of the ball is something we really have to pay attention to.
Are you looking forward to next Saturday in this home and away series?
Well I'm not going to look back, that's for sure. I know TFC has a game on Wednesday and I told the guys that if tonight doesn't motivate you guys to get ready for next Saturday then we have some serious questions to answer.
TALLY HALL - GOALKEEPER, HOUSTON DYNAMO
What are your thoughts on the game?
It was a frustrating game because the way we started off was so positive not just because we scored two goals but also the way we played and the way we moved. For me it's frustrating because the first domino goes with a mistake from me and so as a team we collapsed as a team but to be the guy that kicks the first domino is a frustrating night for me.
From that point what do you think happened? Was it something TFC did to bring on a comeback or did your team just lose focus?
I think Toronto took their chances well after that but we didn't think the game well enough to prevent them from getting the chances to begin with. So it is kind of on us to close halves out, and to finish games better and at the same time Toronto has dangerous strikers and obviously they finished their chances.
What do you have to do for the next game on your home turf?
It's about confidence for us. We lost it in the second half and we had it in the beginning of the game. It's about giving that boost in the step and it has to be a force within us because we aren't being given that boost with the results and so we have to believe in ourselves. We have to be confident and know that we can play well, if you look at the first thirty five minutes we showed we can and there is no reason why we can't go on a winning streak starting with Toronto on Saturday.
BRAD DAVIS - MIDFIELDER, HOUSTON DYNAMO
What are your thoughts on the game?
Pretty disappointed, being up two goals we were in the driver seat. We are just letting too many goals in. We are just getting scored on a little too easy. We need to be more organized in our shape and attack and defence. Obviously our team is pretty upset right now, on the road with a two goal lead and ten minutes left in the half you got to get into half time with that lead or at worst giving up one goal but not letting them back into the game. In the second half as well we had some opportunities to score and get back in it but all in all we are just leaking too many goals right now.
What can you take away from this game to prepare for the next match?
I think Dom (Dominic Kinnear) kind of said it, going up two and losing four to two on the road is not motivation enough to want to come back, fight and turn things around in our home place he doesn't know what is, and I agree with that. It is to the point now where we have talked enough and we have to find it within ourselves to go out and get results, whatever it may be, however we have to do it, we have to get results.
HOU- Davis (Barnes) 13'
HOU- Davis (Barnes) 30'
TFC- Osorio 39'
TFC- Oduro 45+1'
TFC- Defoe (Osorio, Jackson) 63'
TFC- Defoe 89'
HOU- Sarkodie (Caution) 35'
HOU- Taylor (Caution) 37'
TFC- Defoe (Caution) 37'
HOU- Horst (Caution) 40'
HOU- Clarke (Caution) 56'
HOU- Creavalie (Caution) 59'
Toronto FC: 6-5-3 (21 points)
Dynamo: 5-10-3 (18 points)
Toronto FC: Bendik, Morrow, Caldwell (Orr 69'), Henry, Bloom, Osorio, Oduro (Lovitz 58'), Warner, Jackson, Moore (Gilberto 80'),
Subs: Konopka, Morgan, Bekker, De Rosario, Gilberto
Houston Dynamo: Hall, Horst, Sarkodie, Taylor, Creavalie (Cummings 79'), Clark (Carrasco 86'), Davis, Garcia, Driver (Ownby 67'), Bruin, Barnes
Subs: Cochran, Brunner, Deric, Cummings, Lopez