In one of their worst performances of the season Toronto FC managed to draw 2-2 with the defending MLS Cup Champions, Sporting Kansas City. The draw was their first of the season, and continued their string of positive results, despite a performance that was anything but. The result improves their record to 4-4-1.
Bradley Orr was the hero for Toronto, scoring in stoppage time to salvage a point. Luke Moore had the other goal for the visitors, his second in as many matches, continuing the impact he has made since joining his new club. Dom Dwyer had both goals for the home side, one on a penalty kick, giving him his league heading 10th goal of the year.
Analysis will be up in just a little bit. For now, enjoy a rare away point salvaged by an even rarer late goal by Bradley Orr.
SKC- Dwyer (Zizzo) 47'
TFC- Moore (Defoe) 67'
SKC-Dwyer (PK) 84'
TFC- Orr (Hagglund) 90'
TFC- Gilberto (Caution) 39'
TFC- Bloom (Caution) 57'
TFC- Caldwell (Red) 63'
SKC- Nagamura (Caution) 79'
TFC- Moore (Caution) 84'
Toronto FC: 4-4-1 (10 Points)
Sporting KC: 5-4-3 (18 Points)
Toronto FC- Bendik, Bloom, Caldwell, Hagglund, Morrow, Rey (Moore 53'), Bekker (Lovitz 53'), Orr, Warner, Defoe, Gilberto (Henry 66')
Unused Subs: Konopka, Hall, Morgan, De Rosario
Sporting KC- Kronberg, Juliao, Myers (Zizzo 36'), Ellis, Sinovic, Nagamura, Feilhaber, Martinez (Medranda 85'), Toni (Sapong 86'), Dwyer, Peterson.
Unused Subs: Gruenebaum, Muno, Bieler, Saad
Ryan Nelsen - Head Coach, Toronto FC
Thoughts on the match
If you're a neutral you probably enjoyed that. If you're a KC or a TFC fan you're probably a little bit different. In all honesty, for us we didn't play very well, but we were very solid...we didn't look like really conceding and it was a sloppy first goal. And then obviously the send off...the decisions that I think can be made, if it goes the other way, if Steven [Caldwell] gets a yellow card and that penalty doesn't get called nobody really talks about it, it's not a big issue. That's why I think that this referee makes those decisions, but the big decisions went one way, which means then that the guys have to climb a bit of a mountain and they did that. What I loved about this is I sat here about a year ago in the same situation, we went down to ten men and we folded like a wet paper bag and it was three going on eight. But we looked very solid today and we got, I think, through character and through determination and through battling against all of the variables that were thrown against the guys, I think it was a well-deserved draw.
On the team's effort...
They're the MLS Cup Champions for a reason. They're a fantastic squad. They're fantastically well coached. They've got fantastic fans and a really good stadium. It's a really tough place to play here and their record proves it so if you were going to give me a point at the start of the game I'd probably take it.
On Sporting KC's absences...
We have Michael Bradley out, we had Jackson [Goncalves] out, we had [Jonathan] Osorio out...we had three of our starting midfield out, so we had a lot of absences. I think they only had a couple of center backs out, so we had actually more starting players out...we had three starting players out in three different positions and they had two out. So everybody's made [a deal] about their injuries and we've got a few out as well. Since the start of the season we've only had to pick a starting eleven, the actual starting eleven, once. I think it was a fantastic give from the guys.
On the red card...
He's trying to win the ball. His foot is raised of course. He's just quick to get a red and I think if he gives a yellow I think everybody goes on with their life and nobody writes about it.
On the substitutions...
It was a bit tactical. Once we put Collen [Warner] more in the middle, I think he showed why we brought Collen in. I think he was absolutely fantastic today. He was actually our best player today, and I thought he showed a lot of energy, a lot of drive and the intensity through his play and through his passion was extremely good and he has a desire and I couldn't be more happier for him. And Daniel [Lovitz], another young kid that's just progressing, one of our pickups, and so the more he gets time in games like this the better.
On Gilberto's performance...
We've gotta pick [Gilberto] up. We've all been through it as players and we've all been through it in jobs. And when you move to a new country like that it's very difficult, and we forget he's only 24. We know how good of a player he is and it's our job to pick him up and obviously get his confidence up and get him going and it will. Maybe we could get a penalty one of these days and he can get on the scoreboard.
Jermain Defoe - Forward, Toronto FC
Thoughts on the match...
We always knew that it was going to be a difficult game and you have to show character in games like this. On the road, it's always difficult to go down to 10 men. From where I stand, I thought it was harsh to be honest. It's hard for the referees. But you've got to help us out, as difficult as it is on the road. Like I said, down to 10 men, it showed character to come back and get a point, which was really good.
On the team's effort after the penalty...
We never gave up; even when they got the penalty. We kept our heads. It's a difficult place to come. They are a good team. They pass the ball, they keep the ball, have good movement and are really athletic. I think tonight was all about character. On a different day, maybe we would have gotten a little luck and won it at the end. But I think to show character and to come back was special. There are a lot of positives we can take out of the game tonight.
On missing three starters...
At the end of the day, we don't want to make excuses. It was a difficult game. They have good players and I understand they have players missing, but to me, it seemed the players that came in did really well. I thought they were a really good team. It was a good test to come back and get a point was good for us because we worked so hard.
Steven Caldwell - Captain & Defender, Toronto FC
Thoughts on the match...
I'm very proud of the performance. It's a difficult place to play. We weren't our best today. To go down to 10 men and get the equalizer, and then to go down to 2-1 and come back again, it just showed great resilience. We know we can be better than that, but we'll take a point.
On the red card...
I just saw it as a ball to be won. I didn't think I went in with any malicious attempt or excessive force. I won the ball clearly and felt he came into me. It always looks worse than what it was. I go, I see the ball and try and win it. I did win it and I felt it was very unfortunate and extremely disappointed to have let the team down and be sent off.
On Luke Moore's performance...
He has settled in right away with the group. He shows qualities. He's got the touch and he's got presence. So I'm just really pleased for him to get that goal. And to be down to 10 men; you always usually defend and to score two goals in those circumstances is a great achievement by us. We know we didn't play our best today so we are not going to try and talk about that, but it's always nice to get points when you are not at your best.
Peter Vermes - Head Coach, Sporting KC
Thoughts on the match...
We're disappointed in the result. We felt we should've walked away with three points. But what I would say is that based on the number of injuries that we have currently and the different lineups that we have to put out there and then Chance [Myers] goes down there early. All of the decisions that not only we have to make on the sideline but more importantly the guys got to deal with, I thought they were the better team tonight and unfortunately at the end we got a little unlucky, we could've done a little bit better with both goals, actually. And, maybe that's just a little bit of inexperience but at the end of the day, based on what we're dealing with that was a very, very good performance and I'm actually very proud of the guys.
On if missing center backs was biggest issue ...
"For sure, and you come up against a team that all they do is whack the ball forward on every play, so they are playing on second balls. We don't have any of our guys that play that normally win the ball at the air. Kevin Elis is a right back, Chance [Myers] is a right back, and two of our outside backs are playing in the middle of the park. Chance goes down, you put Seth [Sinovic] in the style of play right from the get go we had to deal with. Most of the time they were whacking the back down the field and we had to deal with those big balls. I thought we did a really good job at, it's just unfortunate that we honesty had two mistakes in the game and they both lead to goals. I say that because if you look at it we are up an man, we are one zero, we give the ball up right down the middle because we are a little bit exposed because we are opening up, we have the ball. Outside of that, those guys were very good."
On Alex Martinez's performance...
Alex, I think, has proven not only to the coaching staff but also to his teammates that he can be counted on in the game to play, and he showed it tonight. The unfortunate thing for a guy like him is that he just doesn't have 90 minutes in him so he can go a full match because he hasn't played 90 minutes. But he's a very good player and he's got a good future in MLS for sure and in our team.
Dom Dwyer - Forward, Sporting KC
Thoughts on the match...
Just to echo what [Manager] Peter [Vermes] said really, it was disappointing to concede at the end. It was one that was definitely preventable, but that's football sometimes and that's what happens. It was a good performance, I thought we played well and controlled the game. We were pretty comfortable, and of course it didn't quite go the way we wanted at the end but all around it was a good performance and we can't see any complaints.
On if the team relaxed after the second lead...
No I wouldn't say so, I mean I thought we did a fantastic job tonight, from front to back. It's just a mistake at that point. But I don't think it had to do anything with the having ten men, it was just a mistake at that time and they punished us for it."
On grabbing the MLS scoring lead...
I worry about it at the end of the season. But not right now. I would rather see the 3 points. It wasn't meant to be tonight, that was the only frustration but again it was a good performance and I thought the guys in the back did a fantastic job. We don't have one natural center back playing out there and no one looked a step out of place, so credit to them."