Toronto FC were mathematically eliminated in the same way that the last couple months of the season finished: complete chaos. In a match that had more red cards than goals it was clear that there is no love lost between Toronto and Montreal, even if both of them underwhelmed this season. The 1-1 draw certainly wasn't the worst in BMO Field history, but considering the matches that predated it, it sure was frustrating. The loss brings Toronto FC to 11-14-8 on the season with one match to play.
Warren Creavalle, of all people, had the goal for Toronto FC. It was actually quite a well taken finish, but was the only one that Toronto could manager on the day. Montreal's goal came from Felipe, who took advantage of a fantastic ball from Patrice Bernier.
A full analysis of this match will be up shortly. Until then, TFC's new goal scoring solution, Warren Creavalle, has this to offer:
GREG VANNEY - HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Thoughts on the match?
I thought that the match was for us to win really in the first half, I thought we were pretty well organized defensively when we were in our set defence. They were running out of ideas. We were getting balls in pretty good spots. Once we settled in and caught the rhythm of the game, we were creating chances, we were getting to the end lines, and some nice balls rolled across the face of the goal. We just couldn't get something nicked on target and we couldn't finish some of those off. We got ahead 1-0, which was what we really asked for and were shooting for, is to be ahead in the game instead of chasing the game. We were there and we got caught on a transition and a counter-attack, where we really talk about in those moments, not allowing them to get behind us and it was one big ball that got behind us and put us in crisis and they finished if off. Frustrating because we were in pretty good control of things up to that point and really probably should have had more than one. The second half was really for me, was us going for it a little bit, getting a little bit caught out of shape, then transitioning, finding some moments against us. I think we had a couple guys whose legs were getting a little heavy, just because they haven't had a ton of minutes in several weeks. But then as the game pressed again, we had our chances, they had their chances. It's a team like us, we were in a little bit of desperation to try to get a result and try to win and then it just kind of digressed at the end into some nonsense, that ended up just killing the game and time. As we grow as a team, we need to not get dragged into those things. We need to stay focused on the task at hand, which is trying to get the points and not get into all the other things that just kill seconds off the clock. Joe obviously came up with some good saves that kept us in it but at the same time we had more than our share of chances on the other side to try to get the win.
Greg what do you say to your team after a game like that, a season like that, what was your message?
I told them that I firmly believe that they left it all out there today, that they gave it all they had. They went for the result, they went for the win. I thanked them also for the season, the season has it's ups and downs and it's challenges and I think they have competed hard especially here at the end. They put into it, they wanted to win today, they wanted to keep us in it, they wanted to win for the fans, they wanted to win for every reason a competitor wants to win. I appreciate that fact. Then I said take this feeling in, because for me we should never, ever have this feeling again. This should be the last time, this will be the last time that we don't make the playoffs in the end. That mentality has to start immediately; our mindset needs to be starting today, tomorrow and everyday moving forward. That we never feel like this again because we put our minds into being a playoff team.
What message would you have for the fans that have stuck with this team through 8 seasons of not making the playoffs?
First and foremost I appreciate them staying behind the team. I know that can't be easy to support a team and a club when you come in a stadium and want to win and you want to push towards championships. And I know that's not what they wanted as fans. I think it's for us to continue to go out and work hard every single day, when we put on the training jersey and put on the match jersey, it's for us to prove to them that we are worthy of their continued support. I hope and ask them to continue to support this team because I do believe 100 percent that we will be moving forward, and that we will be a playoff team. I think this team is growing together and coming together. We need to learn how to turn days like today into wins and not draws and we need to learn how to turn some of those past losses into minimum draws, and be stingier about points and taking points and that's what playoff teams are about and that is what the MLS grind is about a lot of the time. Once we learn how to get results as a collective group, I think we will be on a roll and in good shape. So obviously continued support, and it's up to us to continue to prove that we are worthy of their support.
STEVEN CALDWELL - DEFENDER, TORONTO FC
Your thoughts about the performance today?
I thought we had a good first half. We started the game pretty well. It was a great goal and great finish by Warren (Creavalle). We had the opportunities to get that second goal which was crucial. It gives you that cushion. It gives you that confidence. We conceded that crazy goal. I need to see it again it was sloppy. It seemed to be one pass then cut back and goal. It felt like a sucker punch. But we came in at halftime and we knew that if we took the game in the 2nd half we'd have the good opportunity to win. But credit to them they played better in the 2nd half. They were a bit more solid. They were very dangerous breaking forward.
What do you say to fans that have stuck with this team through thick and thin?
I would say stick with it. That's what a supporter is. Somebody who follows a team through thick and thin. Obviously there has been a lot of disappointments in the life and career of a TFC supporter but I'd just like to say that as long as I am here I'll be giving 100% and hoping that I can get this team to the playoffs and challenging for major trophies. It's important that they get behind us because it's so crucial to us.
JONATHAN OSORIO - MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC
What were your thoughts on the match today? Obviously not the result you guys were looking for what happened in that game?
It was a difficult game. Obviously they came out with a lot of energy. You could kind of feel that. They definitely wanted to end our playoff hopes. To be fair they played pretty well. We played pretty good too. I thought we had many chances, especially in the first half. Unfortunately we gave up that goal and we couldn't get the next one in the 2nd half.
What happened at the end there with the red card incident?
As Felipe was passing the ball I just kind of reached in with my foot and I kind of got him a little bit. I don't know if it deserved red card but I did get him. It was a foul.
What did you think of the goal celebration in front of the TFC supporters?
I was waiting to get a goal myself because I had something up my sleeve but its okay it happens.
FRANK KLOPAS - HEAD COACH, MONTREAL IMPACT
Would you say today's performance was one of the best of the season?
I thought in the second half we came out and dominated pretty much, we played really well. I thought the first half we forced the ball a little too much, we weren't really getting possession, we kept playing down the middle and we felt we had to play quick down the middle and to attack the wide areas. But in the second half it was a different game, it was fantastic. To be fair they (Toronto FC) had a couple of good chances also but I think overall I felt we had the game under control. We had a lot of chances and (Joe) Bendik made a lot of great saves. It was an exciting game and more important than anything, it was great to see the amount of fans, our fans, that came from Montreal, the atmosphere was great. It was good to put on a display like that. It's easy to say, I think we deserved to win the game but it was a very good performance in front of what felt like a home crowd with all our fans coming down here.
Is it disappointing to finish the season without a win on the road?
It's disappointing. You look where we are in the standings, and there are a lot of things that we have to address, and areas where we have to adjust, but you have to have the ability to win on the road. With games like this it's a step in the right direction because you felt it's three points, but on the other hand you don't get the three but you get one and if you have more games like that then I think those one's are going to turn into three's whereas early in the season I don't think we would have been able to pull off games like this. It's tough place in MLS when you look at the amount of teams that win on the road, it's not an easy place to be but in order to be a team that is in the playoffs year after year you have to find ways to do so. We have to find ways to get wins on the road and points.
Thoughts on the play of Patrice Bernier...
I thought this was one of Patrice's better games of the season. I think he was rested, he came in and controlled the midfield, and he was very solid. I think it was one of the better performances that I've seen from him, very solid. It was an area in the middle where we needed to do well in because they look to pressure hard and cause turnovers and hit you in transition, so our ability with the ball dictated the tempo and also win a lot of the battles in the midfield because the duals we won were almost 60 percent which I think was one of the main reasons why we dominated the game.
ISSEY NAKAJIMA-FARRAN- MIDFIELD, MONTREAL IMPACT
Thoughts on coming back to BMO field...
I've got close friends on the other team so I always wish them the best but at the same time it's bittersweet because of how the situation went down. As much as I want to prove myself to them against them for what they did, but this is MLS, but I have mixed feelings because I have close friends on the other side.
What are your thoughts on the season after everything has played out as it has...
Well, they didn't really play out too well for me. As soon as I settled down in Montreal, I haven't been playing as much ever since the red card. I've been playing here and there but no more than an hour in the past 10 or 15 games I guess. It's been frustrating and very unexciting time for myself. But, everything has been going great with the national team. I'm very thankful for Benito (Floro) and especially all the guys that surround the national team so it's been a great season for that.
EVAN BUSH - GOALKEEPER, MONTREAL IMPACT
It was a draw but does it taste like a victory?
Yes, of course it does. You always want the three points but this definitely feels like three points today. The way the game ended was a bit unfortunate but we got the result that we needed to knock them out of the playoffs and that's what we are happy about.
Do you feel this was one of the better team performances from the season?
I'll tell you what, in the second half for about 25 minutes I thought that was the best soccer we played all year. We didn't get a goal out of that time period but we created a lot of chances, we were on top of them in a game that they needed to win so we were very happy about that.
How important was it to have Patrice Bernier back in the lineup?
Pat's the captain of the team and guys look to him for leadership and he brings a good presence on the field. He brings a calm presence. He is not necessarily the captain that gets some tackles but today was one of the first times in a while that you saw him getting into tackles hard in the midfield. It looks like he turned back the clock a little bit today and it was a good performance from him for sure.
TFC- Creavalle 20'
MTL- Felipe (Romero, Bernier) 39'
MTL- Camara (Caution) 5'
MTL- Ferrari (Caution) 55'
MTL- Pearce (Red) 82'
TFC- Jackson (Caution) 88'
MTL- Bush (Caution) 90'
TFC- Osorio (Red) 90'+3
TFC- Bendik (Caution) 90'+4
TFC- De Rosario (Caution) 90'+5
MTL- Camara (Red) 90'+5
Toronto FC: 11-14-8 (41 pts)
Montreal: 6-18-9 (25 pts)
Toronto FC- Bendik, Bloom (Oduro 80'), Henry, Caldwell, Morrow, Creavalle (De Rosario 57'), Warner (Bekker 68'), Osorio, Jackson, Moore, Gilberto
Unused Subs: Konopka, Orr, Morgan, Lovitz
Montreal- Bush, Camara, Ferrari, Pearce, Miller, Mallace, Bernier, Romero (Tissot 82'), Martins, Duka (Nakajima-Farran 73'), McInerney (Di Vaio 79')
Unused Subs: Crepeau, Krol, Danso, Gagnon-Lapare