Toronto FC battled hard after a terrible early decision by Jozy Altidore, but gave up a disheartening 88th minute goal and fell 3-2 to New York City FC on Sunday afternoon at BMO Field.
Toronto is now seven points out of a playoff spot with 11 games left and the momentum gained from a three-game unbeaten run has vanished in a flash, even though the club showed a lot of heart in twice fighting back to tie the game while a man short.
The reason TFC found itself down to 10 men was because Altidore, no doubt frustrated by a couple of early, physical challenges which went uncalled, took a hard kick at New York defender Alexander Callens who went down as if he had been felled by an axe.
Captain Michael Bradley felt that the officials had missed a clear foul committed by Callens before Altidore lashed out, which led to the trouble, but accepted that a club battling for its playoff life simply can’t keep making mental mistakes.
Only last Saturday, key defender Chris Mavinga got himself suspended for two games for failing to maintain his composure after allegedly being spat on or at by Atlanta’s Miguel Almiron.
“We are at a point where the margin for error is very, very small,” Bradley said in the TFC locker room. “When you play big games, when you play against good teams, you can’t afford too many of those types of plays. And not just in the last week or two. When you look at the season as a whole, we’ve killed ourselves in too many moments.”
Head coach Greg Vanney said too much of what went on was “self-inflicted,” and added that his players need to keep their heads, even if provoked (Callens, who got the Vince Carter booing treatment from the fans, claimed afterward: “I didn’t do anything, personally, it was all body, nothing with the legs until he reacted.”)
“It’s a concern for me generally when guys are getting caught up in things that just don’t matter because we have to get results,” Vanney said. “These things are just so irrelevant for our mission … All it does is take away momentum. (The Altidore kick) is not the moment we needed.”
New York had star striker David Villa back in the lineup for the first time since he limped off during a 2-1 win over TFC at Yankee Stadium back in late-June, opening the scoring four minutes after Altidore was sent off.
The Spaniard took advantage of a bad TFC bounce to bury a ball behind Alex Bono for his eighth goal in eight career regular-season meetings with Toronto.
But Toronto didn’t back down and Sebastian Giovinco, as much a thorn in New York’s side historically as Villa has been in Toronto’s, scored for a fourth straight game to even things up in the 27th minute. Giovinco now has seven goals and three assists in nine career regular season contests against the Pigeons.
Giovinco continued to give the visitors problems, but Ismael Tajouri-Shradi broke the deadlock in the 36th minute on a weak goal that Bono was unhappy about letting in. Marky Delgado should have cleared the ball away instead of letting it go through his legs, but Bono would later take the blame, saying he didn’t get a good read on the ball.
Vanney said simply: “(Bono) should save that one.”
Still, Toronto again fought back and was actually the better side in the second half. Victor Vazquez tied it up in the 51st minute, putting in a header after some fine work by Jonathan Osorio to create a cross had resulted in Delgado heading the ball back toward Vazquez.
Unluckily for the Reds, New York got the winner when substitute Ashtone Morgan puzzlingly went backwards with an attempted headed clear and the ball ended up at the feet of Tajouri-Shradi, who drove it past a stunned Bono for his second of the match. Several TFC players, including Bradley, sat on the ground in disbelief, knowing it was a cruel ending.
“I thought the guys showed tremendous courage and fight to come back from one-goal deficits twice, obviously it’s unfortunate that we conceded again (at the end),” Bono said.
“We were a man down for 85 minutes. I think it says a lot about the group that we stuck in there and we fought as hard as we could right up until the very end … Our 10-man side maybe deserved a point today.”
Toronto was without suspended defender Chris Mavinga, but got Drew Moor back for his first action in months.
The team must now regroup for Wednesday’s huge Canadian Championship finale against visiting Vancouver.
MOOR BACK IN ACTION
The biggest positive Toronto FC took out of Sunday’s disappointing 3-2 home defeat against New York City FC was the return of defender Drew Moor.
The 34-year-old veteran, a mainstay of last year’s powerhouse, has been out since April after tearing his quad and had only played in three MLS matches this season, but subbed in for Eriq Zavaleta in the 71st minute.
Moor got a hug from Zavaleta and a huge roar from the 27,935 on hand at BMO Field, but unfortunately for the Reds, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi’s second of the game, in the 88th minute stood up as the winner.
“It’s mixed emotions obviously, always awesome to get back on the field after a layoff, but disappointed not getting anything from the game,” Moor said afterward.
Moor added that he was feeling good and hopes to ramp up to a full 90 minutes of action soon.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies