Dwayne De Rosario's late goal salvaged a result for Toronto FC to keep them within reach of a playoff position, no this isn't 2009. Instead, it was the Canadian's well-timed first of the season that gave Toronto a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire. The goal ends a point-less, and goal-less, drought that has lasted since August 23rd. It also means the club's record is now 9-11-7.
Lovel Palmer opened the scoring for the Chicago Fire, who were the better team for the majority of the match. But it will be a disallowed goal in stoppage time that will live on as the memorable moment of this match, as Gilberto appeared to have added two points late for Toronto FC.
A breakdown of the match will be up later tonight. Here's the post game quotes that the club emails out, for some reason they didn't include Michael Bradley's, can't think why, so that's embedded here. The money quotes are about the ref, but the death stare he gives to Lee Godfrey for daring to suggest there was more fight in the last 10 minutes than the rest of the game is pretty damn good as well. if nothing else read Joe Bendik, and hey there is actually a goal to be shown in this space this time. What a concept.
GREG VANNEY - HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
On the team's play:
"I thought in the first half that we were a little timid. We sat back a little bit, we needed more movement ahead of the ball, and we needed to move forward a little more. We came out with, what one could argue, was a slightly more defensive posture but really I was wanting Michael [Bradley] to push forward a little bit more, and Kyle Bekker to push forward a little bit more. They were getting on the ball, which is good for us, but we didn't have much to move forward. Not as much as we wanted to. So the second half came out, and we knew at some point we were going to push forward with bringing another forward with Luke, and more importantly then that, we got aggressive. We had guys moving forward, we had our outside backs getting forward; we started playing the ball forward instead of sideways and backwards. We started to put their back line under pressure. When we did that, we created opportunities. I think I saw we had ten opportunities in the second half. It can't go without saying that Joe [Bendik] made a couple of phenomenal saves that kept us in it but, that's what seasons are about and this can be a turning point. This group learned a little bit tonight about itself. They learned about the character and fight they still have in them, and I think that they are unhappy with what they thought was three points. It should have been three points by all accounts except for one guy's account. We should have gotten more out of this game. In the end, we had to stick around, but in the end, we should have gotten the three points."
On whether the referee gave an explanation for denying Toronto's second goal:
"There's never an explanation from the referee. He told us to look at the replay and that we would see it on the replay. That it was a foul and I got about 40 texts to the contrary so it is what it is. The referees are there and they do what they do. At the end, I am proud of my guys and the fight they put into this."
On the last ten minutes of this game setting a tone for the last remaining games:
"Definitely. They just laid it all out there. There wasn't this concern of holding back. Guys were moving forward and at the end of the day, if you want to create chances, you got to get numbers ahead of the ball. You have to play the ball forward and put the opposition under pressure. And we did. I think it's a learning moment for us, and hopefully a turning point. We can play larger stretches of games like we did, then we finish this game. There's always urgency at the end of games. We need to start the games with that type of urgency."
On starting games with urgency and not giving away early goals:
"We have to be better. Again, another set piece goal. We need to be better at it. It comes down to individual accountability; it comes down to concentration and fighting through things. I thought in the first half, we were a little too nice. They were winning their spaces and skipping out of challenges. We needed to be a little stronger and our challenges a little tougher on the field and show that we are present, and ready for the battle that is there. I thought we did a better job of that in the second half. Those are the little things we have to learn over the course of the game. We need to put it all together and for a full match."
JOSEPH BENDIK - GOALKEEPER, TORONTO FC
On the game:
"It's embarrassing. The only person we are going to talk about here is the guy in the middle of the pitch. He took three points from us. One hundred per cent. That's it."
On contributing to the score line by saving a penalty kick:
"We fought hard, every single one of us. Everybody played a part in it, and then, he robbed us. What more. That is it."
On using this result and building positively from it:
"Yes, sure, but we can't take the two points we deserve."
On it hurting more since he saved a penalty kick:
"No, it's my job. I'm back there to save balls, and Gilberto is there to score, and he did, and what? Go watch the video. It's awful."
On saving Larentowicz's penalty kick and whether they discussed it beforehand:
"Yes, he goes there all the time."
On being emotional after this result:
"Upset, shocked, gutted. It's funny. Every negative emotion I could possibly feel with such a positive outcome of the game. Take away the penalty I give away, and we created everything. We had the ball the entire time. We ran them off the park, and to only end up with one point because of the decision of one person is frankly embarrassing."
DWAYNE DE ROSARIO - MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC
On breaking Toronto's scoreless streak:
"It's definitely a great feeling any time you score, really. But for us, to come away with a tie, definitely robbed of three points. So it's bittersweet, for my personally. It's a great feeling to score my first goal of the season, to help my team get back into the game. I'm more proud of the way we fought and the way we played in the second half, and we were competing for every ball all over the pitch. It's going to take that kind of mentality to battle through these next games. So, all in all, I'm very pleased by scoring that goal, 100%."
On what Toronto needs to do the next few games to hunt down that playoff spot:
"I think pretty much how we played in the last 25, 30 minutes of the game, is what we need. Every game, of every minute. For the reason of the season. It has to be that kind of mindset. That kind of mentality. We have to earn the right to play the way we are capable of playing, but right now, it's all about battling. Battling for results. That's this part of the season, that's what successful teams do, and do well. They fight to make it to the playoffs, and we have to do that from now on."
On perhaps playing "too nice" in the first half:
"Definitely. I think so. That was the first thing that came out of his mouth, came out of my mouth to be fair. We have to be a little angrier, we have to play with more emotion, we're fighting with the playoffs. They are getting too much [time on] the ball, turning and running at us, uncontested. When they did pass us, we weren't doing a good job making the tackle, or making the play. I think our mentality changed, I think we adjusted in the second half, and we need to have that mentality through now."
On maintaining that last 25-30 minutes of this game's mentality to the rest of the season:
"We just have to worry about Chivas first. We just have to get our mind right. It's a big home game for us, we definitely need three points and our focus has to be on Chivas right now."
FRANK YALLOP - HEAD COACH & DIRECTOR OF SOCCER, CHICAGO FIRE
On the impact the missed penalty kick had on the match
"I want to say that penalty kicks have haunted us this year, especially at home. We still have to see the game out, though. Forget the penalty kick; 1-0, late in the game, we have to find a way to sort it out. It's just lax marking again, not having that real, last do-or-die spirit to win the game; that's what's missing. I can't fault the guys for their continued efforts, but their mental breakdowns have hurt us. I think that's a big thing for us. We've tied another game; we should've won it, to be honest. We had a few chances late, but we should have put the game away. But we didn't; what happens in football if you don't finish up an opponent early is giving them a chance to get back in the game. They actually could've won it. I haven't seen that play on video, but they could've won 2-1. Just disappointing. Same old story. I felt we were in control of the game, doing great. I thought we had some nastiness to us, and some real drive, and created some good chances, had a good spell in the first 20; Toronto came into the game a little bit, then we had a good spell towards the end of the first half. Second half is even-ish, but we had some good chances on the break. We had the penalty kick which would have sealed the deal, I think. And then we missed it, and then we conceded late on a set piece goal, which is really disappointing."
On the controversial no-call late in the game
"I haven't seen the play. It didn't look like it was a foul, or whatever the ref called. We got lucky on that one. But we need to win; another tie is not great for us. Usually, you find a ways to lose matches as a group, as a lot of coaches say, but we find ways to tie matches, when we should be winning them. It's frustrating, but it's where we are at. I've never made excuses, and I wouldn't hide behind anything either, but we're not quite good enough. It's what we are. We need to make changes and make sure we're better moving forward for sure."
On the playing surface
"It's not great, to be honest. If you look at the two chances in the first half, when Quincy [Amarikwa] had a chance, I think Alex had a really good chance right before halftime; if the surface is a really clean, tight-knit surface, it's a little bit easier to concentrate on the actual finish rather than where the ball is going to bounce. It's not great, not great at all. They play football games, high school soccer games, and all that stuff on our field. We have no control over that. The stadium has control of it. We rent the field, so they do whatever they need to do on it to make money. We're at the mercy of that, and that's what we get, not a great surface."
On the spirit of the club after another tie
"You have to ask the players, but I think from a coaching staff and from a club point of view, we've never given up. I think we've always had a positive attitude in our approach to every game we've had. I'm a realist; I don't mince words when we've not played well, I will tell you that. If I think we've been a little bit unlucky, I'll tell you that as well. I think a little bit more luck our way this season might have helped us. But again, every team will say the same thing: that we could have won that one, should've lost that, etc. We're not quite there, and I think that that's the big thing. We've got a couple of injuries at the wrong time. It's nice to see Patrick back on the field at home; we've not had him for two or three months, and he's a good player. Robbie Earnshaw comes in and makes an impact in two games, then gets a calf strain, and we haven't had him for two weeks. Mike Magee had surgery, and he's out. These guys are difference-makers in matches. Again, I'm not making excuses at all, because we should have got three points tonight, no matter who's out, because we played well enough to win. But we couldn't get it done. But we'll keep going, we always do. I think my positive attitude is to do the best with what we have, and move forward, try to build on it, and it won't be any different heading into the end of the city."
On Quincy Amarikwa's performance
"I think Quincy played well. Quincy's one of those forwards that takes a lot of battering; he likes to make contact. Quincy's attitude is really good. I think he played well last week in New England; although we lost, I thought he had a good game, and I thought he had a good game tonight, and leads the line well. I thought he ran out of gas a little bit late. It would've been nice to have been able to put someone on for him, but I think that we still should've saw that through. I think Quincy as an individual has done well, done okay this year. He's gotten goals, he's worked hard. It just would've been nice to have Robbie or, we just signed Florent [Sinama-Pongolle] too, to replace him with one of those guys to maybe make a difference."
JEFF LARENTOWICZ - DEFENDER, CHICAGO FIRE
On the missed penalty kick:
"It went low and to the left. The keeper made a save - I didn't put it all the way in the corner, which gave him a chance to save it."
On TFC's equalizer:
"It was a corner kick that came out toward the top of the box, the guy who hit the initial head ball never gave Razvan [Cocis] a chance to jump. From the way it looked live, it seems like it was a foul. The ball gets knocked down the center of the box. I'm not even sure who scored it, it was a loose ball."
On the result:
"I told the guys, everybody fought and fought hard. We did enough to win the game. I told them I take responsibility; I should have put the game away in the second half - I didn't do that and it gave them a chance to score the goal. It was an important game tonight; it's unfortunate to not get three points."
On writing the loss of as bad luck:
"No, you can't do that; we've done that too much this year. I don't believe in bad luck - you take your chances or you don't."
LOVEL PALMER - DEFENDER, CHICAGO FIRE
On the result:
"This was not the result we wanted. Unfortunately we gave up a goal in the 89th minute, that's always a tough one after battling so hard. We say it all the time, you have to play for 90+ minutes and we can't take a play off."
On scoring his first goal with the Fire:
"I'm happy to get my first goal. I would have wanted it to come earlier, but the month of September is something very close to me - it's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. So, I'm happy I got the goal and I celebrated like I did."
On TFC's equalizer:
"It was just Dwayne DeRosario being the poacher that he is. He popped up free in the box in the 89th minute. It's just unfortunate, I just wish someone was there to get a toe on it and clear it out of the box. It's been the kind of season we're having that we just can't get a break. We play well for 80 minutes or 45 minutes, now we just need to put together a good string of 90+ minutes. Just like I say every day, try and play for 90+ minutes and not take a play off."
On how to move forward:
"We can't give up. As long as there's a chance, we'll keep battling every day. As players we come to practice every day and work hard, the coaches are working hard trying to find ways, trying to find solutions and just have to be professionals and stay focused. With seven games to go we have to keep battling and get every point we can get. "
PATRICK NYARKO - MIDFIELDER, CHICAGO FIRE
On how he's feeling on his return:
"I feel great. My fitness is lacking a little bit, but I keep building it up at training and a couple of reserve games, I'll get there. It's just a matter of getting into games and getting the confidence back."
On the result:
"Tonight's result basically just sums up our season. You could go through all the of our games this season and about half of them we could have won or we deserved to win. Sometimes that's just how the season goes. Today could have been comfortable way ahead of time, but the last few minutes we started seeing the finish line rather than play through and we allowed them back in the game and they created a chance and scored. It just very unfortunate, but like I said we just need to get better at finishing games."
CHI- Palmer (Nyassi) 11'
TFC- De Rosario (Gilberto, Hagglund) 89'
CHI- Nyassi (Caution) 41'
TFC- Hagglund (Caution) 47'
TFC- Morrow (Caution) 62'
Toronto FC: 9-11-7 (34 pts)
Chicago Fire 5-7-15 (30 pts)
Toronto FC- Bendik, Bloom, Hagglund, Morrow, Morgan, Bekker (Lovitz 80'), Creavalle (Moore 59'), Bradley, Oduro (De Rosario 59'), Gilberto, Jackson
Unused Subs: Konopka, Orr, Hall, Richter
Chicago Fire- Johnson, Palmer, Larentowicz, Soumare, Segares, Ward (Nyarko 80'), Watson, Cocis, Alex, Nyassi (Shipp 69'), Amarikwa
Unsused Subs: Reynish, Ianni, Pause, Joya, Ritter, Shipp,