Toronto FC's waning playoff chances have now aligned with a stunning freefall in the Eastern Conference standings. For the third straight match, Toronto FC allowed a team behind them to gain crucial points. The 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union was their second in four days. It leaves Toronto's record at an ugly 9-11-6, considering where it was a month ago.
Conor Casey broke Toronto hearts for the second straight match, scoring the opener eight minutes into the match. Andrew Wenger only made matters worse, finally slotting one home after letting several chances go begging in both matches. Zac MacMath had his second straight clean sheet against Toronto.
Analysis and the thoughts of the players and manager will be up shortly. Until that time, here's some post game quotes, the full game highlights and if you don't want to watch all that again, wellToronto has not scored for three straight matches, so how about some more Joe Bendik.
GREG VANNEY - HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Disappointing result, tell us about the performance
I think we have more and we have to be better. It wasn't good enough. We have 8 matches left, a full week of training next week. I think that it's important that we take a good hard look and figure out...well not figure out but set our identity, the identity of this team and how we are going to push forward in the next 8 games and get everybody on the same page. We are still sort of a group moving in one direction and another group moving in another direction. So I need the guys and asked the guys to take a little time to recover. This is a tough week mentally and physically, and to show up prepared to work on Tuesday. We start to set a clear identity of who we are going to be for the next 8 matches, as we finish off the season and push towards bigger things.
What went wrong?
We struggled a little bit for some energy. They came in and slowed the game down. They got numbers behind the ball; we were slow in our circulation of the ball. Whenever you circulate the ball slow it is very difficult to find the gaps, and find ways to get through them and they were forcing us around them. When we try to go around them we were playing too slow and they were able to close us off on the sidelines. Any time we looked to try to get on the break, again it was maybe one pass forward followed by a back pass and we weren't able to get out in the open. They did a decent job of getting initial pressure and recovering and getting numbers behind, especially in the center of the field. We were too slow to get out, a couple times when we were able to get out we had what looked like promising attacks but it would breakdown with a bad touch, a bad pass, a bad decision. That was sort of the day. We played a little bit underwater, maybe fatigued, the third game in seven days. But no excuse the ball needs to move faster and we need to move at the right times and into the right spaces. We lacked that connection a little bit today.
Greg there was another story from England today saying that Jermain does not want to be here, he sent out a tweet offer his support for the club. Is there not a way the club can put this behind them, can Jermaine not tell what his future is, that he wants to be part of TFC, so we can put this behind us?
Well I agree... but we are in communication with Jermain, at least every other day if not every day. Those conversations are going well. I think a lot of this is behind us. We know that he will be back on the 20th to join our camp and we look forward to him getting back. Clearly he is a difference maker, a big part of the club and a big part of this team. I think a lot of that has been sorted out and i look forward to him being back on the 20th...that's for sure.
Do you expect him to be healthy on the 20th?
The anticipation is that he will be back into training on the 20th and hopefully soon thereafter. I know his regimen now is intense and the hope is that he shows up fit and ready to just sharpen up within the team.
NICK HAGGLUND - DEFENDER, TORONTO FC
What were your thoughts on the game?
Unfortunately the first half mistakes cost us but we have to keep moving forward and try and get results in the next eight games. The next eight games are playoffs for us so we are now in playoff mode.
Do you feel that it was a crucial three points that was dropped today?
Absolutely, any three points is crucial. We needed them but we didn't get them. We need to look forward and learn from this and hopefully in the next couple of games we can get a result.
What do you think the identity needs to be for this club?
I think the identity is in just backing one another up. If someone makes a mistake, the guy behind him is going to make up for it and just being tough to play against. I think we lost a little bit of that. I think that teams come in and we don't come at them but I think these next couple games its time, so I think we are going to be ready and we are going to be tough to play against.
MICHAEL BRADLEY - MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC
How frustrating was the game out there today?
Very frustrating. We've been through this before. You get to a certain point, to be quite honest, you get sick and tired of talking about it in terms of it being a big game, playing at home, wanting to come out and start the right way, start with energy, push the game in our favor right away but just not being able to. We went down one zero, give up another bad goal right before half time and you constantly dig yourself in holes and you know it's going to be hard to get back and get anything out of the game.
Are you surprised that the energy wasn't there at the start of the game?
The game started and I thought right away we found a way to play in their end a little bit. Pretty much their first time down the field the ball comes in and Conor Casey is able to slip in a little crack and make a few yards for himself and before anything has happened, before the game has even had a chance to settle down they are up one zero. Again, when you constantly put yourself in these holes it's not easy to come back and get something out of the game.
What is your frustration level?
We are all frustrated. We all tried to take a good hard look at ourselves in the mirror and now talk about things in a collective way but still challenge each guy to look at himself and find a way to take what he does and do a little bit more a little bit better. If every guy is able to do that it can start to add up in a really positive way. It's normal that when you go through a stretch like this there is frustration but it's normal. If there wasn't frustration there would be something wrong. You wouldn't have anything about you. Frustrated for sure, but not even close to giving up. Like I said, there are still a lot of games left, a lot of soccer to be played and a lot of points still on the board. Anybody who thinks we are ready to pack it in has another thing coming.
JIM CURTIN - INTERIM TEAM MANAGER, PHILADELPHIA UNION
A big six points on a back-to-back against Toronto...
We knew with Toronto, with the coaching change, would have a lot of energy in both games and they were missing some guys and so are we, we have three guys away with international duty as well, but we played very good today. I actually thought today we were better than on Wednesday to be honest. I'm happy with the guys' performance. Toronto is a very good team who are missing some pieces right now and we are a little bit fortunate to get them at the time we did.
Thoughts on your defensive play...
You could see that their game plan was pretty clear. When Michael (Bradley) got on the ball, wherever he was, we wanted to run bodies at him and make him give up the ball and we did a good job of that. We always had a body swarming him and swarming anybody around the field. I thought defensively a very good effort, especially the first 45 I was very happy with.
Thoughts on the play of Joe Bendik...
Bendik was great Wednesday, he was great again tonight. He is a goalkeeper that always plays very well against the Union. A good young goalkeeper who has a very bright future... He kept them in it. I would like to see us seal it off and get the third goal there. We had a couple three-on-twos and four-on-three at the end there that I would like to see us get right but at the same time we are happy with the shutout.
CONOR CASEY - FORWARD, PHILADELPHIA UNION
Thoughts on getting the six points against Toronto FC...
It's huge. We came in feeling good this week knowing that we wanted to win at home. We took care of business there. When you have the defence playing as well as they are, with two shutouts it gives the team a lot of confidence.
You seemed to keep your shape defensively and not offer Toronto FC a lot offensively...
Yeah, it was pretty similar to last game. Just stay compact. We have athletes in the back to deal with everybody. We just tried to limit (Michael) Bradley on the ball, stay as compact as possible and then break from there.
Do you feel the club is hitting your stride at the right time?
Definitely. We've had a good run of results and we've also been playing well. Sometimes you play well but don't get the results but we've had both. Every guy on our roster right now is pulling in the right direction and we just want to keep improving and getting points.
ANDREW WENGER - MIDFIELD, PHILADELPHIA UNION
Thoughts on the team's recent play...
Together we are confident. Every guy in the locker room is putting together good performance week-in and week-out. We're just trying to take it one game at a time.
Do you think this was a stronger game than Wednesday's?
You could look at us scoring two goals maybe a little bit better but I think we were just a little bit more clinical in the box today. We probably created just as many chances and defensively we frustrated them a little bit. We sat back and tried to take away their passing lanes.
In MLS a lot can change for a team in just two games as you guys have proven it over the last two games...
At this point I can say've been on both sides of it. Being here this year and on their places in year's past and like I said, you've just got to take it one game at a time.
TFC- Casey (Williams) 8'
TFC- Wenger (Williams) 44'
TFC- Henry (Caution) 28'
Toronto FC: 9-11-6 (33 points)
Philadelphia: 9-9-9 (36 points)
Toronto FC- Bendik, Hagglund (Creavalle 78'), Henry, Orr, Bloom, Warner (Bekker 44'), Bradley, De Rosario (Jackson 70'), Oduro, Moore, Gilberto
Unused Subs: Konopka, Richter, Lovitz, Wiedeman
Philadelphia- MacMath, Edu, Gaddis, Williams, White, Le Toux (Cruz 81') Maidana (Carroll 89'), Nogueira, Okugo, Wenger, Casey (Ribeiro 68')
Unused Subs: Fred, Fabinho, Blake, Cruz, Brown