In what kind of felt like a youngster's game between two halves of World Cup knockout matches, Toronto FC and Chicago Fire drew 1-1 at Soldier Field. The home side were only able to find an equalizer against a 10-man Toronto FC after Luke Moore was given a controversial red card in the first half. With the draw Toronto FC are now 6-4-3.
Jackson had the opener for Toronto FC, who responded very well after going down a man. Harrison Shipp scored the equalizer, and is now well on his way to pushing for the rookie of the year award.
Full analysis will be up later tonight. Until that time, enjoy watching one of the few nicely put together moves by Toronto that ultimately ended up in their goal.
TFC- Jackson (Defoe) 42'
CHI- Shipp (Magee) 57'
TFC- Moore (Red) 29'
CHI- Amarikwa (Caution) 45'+2 7
TFC- Caldwell (Caution) 53'
CHI- Palmer (Caution) 86'
Toronto FC: 6-4-2 (20 pts)
Chicago Fire: 2-4-8 (14 pts)
Toronto FC- Bendik, Bloom, Caldwell, Hagglund, Morrow, Oduro, Warner, Osorio (Orr 87'), Jackson, Moore, Defoe
Unused Subs: Konopka, Henry, Morgan, Bekker, De Rosario, Wiedeman
Chicago Fire- Johnson, Palmer, Ianni, Soumare, Cochrane (Anangono 73'), Ward, Larentowicz, Ritter (Alex 45'), Shipp, Amarikwa, Magee
Unused Subs: Reynish, Segares, Pause, Duka, Alex, Waston, Anangono
Ryan Nelsen - Head Coach, Toronto FC
On surviving with a point on the road:
"Yeah, any point on the road is a very good point, especially when you go down to ten men. The guys were absolutely fantastic. Really in control of the game, up until the decision, and even then I thought we looked like we were going to get one on the break. They [Chicago] did very well in the second half, as they would, Frank's a very good coach, and pushed us high and we kind of sat back and we didn't have the confidence to maybe press a little higher, and force them into making mistakes. They kind of trapped us in a wee bit, but we had to defend. We defended very well. When you're down to ten men, you need a lot of organization and a lot of character and a lot of strength, and I think the boys showed that in abundance."
On Jackson's goal:
"We worked on that potentially but our wide guys would have a lot of influence running in behind their defenders and it just happened to be that he got himself into that position and it was a perfect cross. Really good finish."
On the team holding its defensive shape for the duration of the second half:
"They had every excuse to lose it. Away from home, and Chicago desperate for a win, absolutely desperate for a win, and Frank's done a great job with them, they are a great team. Obviously with ten men, we had to sharpen our steel; this point is very valuable. It proves now that at six unbeaten that when we are away from home, and being down to ten men twice, we've managed to get something out of the game. That's extremely important."
Nick Hagglund - Defender, Toronto FC
On fighting through being down to ten men for over 60 minutes:
"I was pretty proud of the guys and how we responded with that red card. A lot of times, people go down, especially when you go early in the game, you're down and out. Usually a red card towards the end of the game is a little different, and you push a little bit more. I thought we being zero-zero, I thought we did well."
On what Coach Nelsen said at halftime:
"He said just to stay organized. We knew that they were going into halftime, they were going to change their plan a little bit more and figure us out with ten men versus eleven men, but I thought we made sure we were tight and made it difficult for them to score."
On coming away with a point:
"I think in the locker room we were pretty disappointed. I think the goal was soft. Could have been deflected. Joe got a hand on it. I think everyone here is disappointed that we didn't get the three points, because we were up. I think it's a step in the right direction. To be disappointed with getting a tie and not three points [especially on the road]."
On going into the three game home stand coming off the World Cup break:
"We are pretty excited to get Mike [Bradley] back in the lineup. Being at home, we are tough at home. That is where we thrive. We still have two or three games in hand on most teams so there's an opportunity for us to jump up standings."
Jackson - Midfielder, Toronto FC
On earning a hard fought point:
"We weren't expecting to play with ten men. However, this team is a strong team, and we fought through it. As a whole we played really together and we got that point that we needed."
On his goal:
"At training we talk a lot and we practice it and we communicate constantly. Fortunately, I was at the right spot at the right time. We continued to fight and continued to be a team as whole and get ahead."
On taking advantage of the space on the flanks to utilize on counterattacks:
"I was fully aware of the space I had so I was just waiting for that one spot, that one time, and I got it with myself and Dom [Oduro]. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper got a hand on it and I was happy with that touch but I want to reiterate again that we have to continue working strong as a team, whether we have ten men or eleven men."
Frank Yallop - Head Coach & Director of Soccer, Chicago Fire
On team's overall performance
"I thought we did enough to win the game. When it is eleven men against ten, we should win the game. We had our chances. It's frustrating, I've said it a few times; we've tied and maybe deserved to win the game, but we haven't. That's our problem right now: we can't seem to win a game. We haven't lost a ton, but we haven't won many. It's a weird situation, it's frustrating; we can't get over the finish line with a win. The guys are frustrated in there, we are, as a staff, and me as a head coach. It's not from lack of effort, which is important, it's just lapses of concentration at the wrong time. They had one or two chances and scored one goal; we probably had five to six, seven, eight chances and scored one. It's the story of our season so far, so it's been frustrating."
On issues with low number of shots on goal
"We'll have to look at them again. I thought we had enough chances to hit the target. I'm not out there, I can't remember all the chances we had. I think the one cross that went in, if we just get a nick on it, we score; Joe Bendik made a very good save, he traps it. [We had] one on a good volley; the offside goal, I haven't seen whether it was offside or not, so it was another good chance. You can't always tell if you're hitting the target is the right thing; if you try to bend it around the keeper and it just goes wide, sometimes that's unlucky too. But we had enough looks in the final third and in their box to get more than one goal; but we didn't, so that's the story of our season if you like, and our theme tonight."
On the performance of midfielder Harry Shipp
"Good. On a positive note, Harry's starting to blossom into a good player. I think he's starting to play with a lot of confidence, and he knows he's a good player. He's maturing nicely, and I think that it's no surprise that he does well. He's in a lot of the good stuff that we do going forward. So, very happy with his development. Good goal again; I think he's at six goals already, a great tally for any player, let alone a rookie coming into a brand new, professional league. He's done fantastically well."
On the performance of forwards Quincy Amarikwa and Mike Magee
"It was difficult. I thought the two center backs were physical and strong, and I spoke to the boys to play a little quicker and try to separate them a little bit. I think, in the second half, we did a better job creating chances. I know it's against ten men, but still, the same back four, or back eight if you like, they got one up front in Jermain Defoe. I think we created enough opportunities to do better with what we had, and I haven't spoken to either guy yet, but both of them had pretty good looks tonight; just that final, last, little piece was just missing. But I'm not going to fault them for effort, I think that they worked well. They tried to do the right things, moved the ball pretty sharply for us, passed it well. Again, it's a little easier against ten men, but I still think we did the right things to create enough chances, but we just didn't get our final touch."
Harry Shipp - Midfielder, Chicago Fire
On his goal:
"I think someone played it out to Mike [Magee] off a corner kick, and I was actually jogging over to take the corner when I saw it go out and I sort of slipped along the endline. I think Mike made the pass, I took a few touches then took the shot and scored."
On not being able to get the win playing a man up:
"It's really frustrating, it sucks and it feels like a loss. We should have scored about four goals in the second half. I think we all need to figure out how and what we can do better to not fall behind in the game, that's the key I think. We started getting into the game, up a man, they scored a goal and that kind of killed us going into halftime."