MTL – Samuel Piette 23′
TOR – Ifunanyachi Achara 58′ (Yeferson Soteldo)
MTL – Joaquín Torres 68′ (Zachary Brault-Guillard, Djordje Mihailovic)
MTL – Romell Quioto 75′ (Djordje Mihailovic, Kamal Miller)
TOR – Noble Okello 5′ (ejection)
MTL – Aljaž Struna 9′ (caution)
MTL – Samuel Piette 34′ (caution)
MTL – Rudy Camacho 47′ (caution)
TOR – Kemar Lawrence 60′ (caution)
TOR – Omar González 74′ (caution)
Toronto FC 3-13-6 15 points
CF Montréal 8-7-7 31 points
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr., Omar González, Chris Mavinga, Kemar Lawrence (Justin Morrow 78′); Noble Okello, Michael Bradley (C), Richie Laryea (Jonathan Osorio 31′), Alejandro Pozuelo (Mark Delgado 88′), Yeferson Soteldo (Dom Dwyer 78′); Ifunanyachi Achara (Tsubasa Endoh 78′)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Eriq Zavaleta, Jacob Shaffelburg, Patrick Mullins
CF MONTRÉAL – Sebastian Breza; Aljaž Struna, Rudy Camacho, Kamal Miller; Zachary Brault-Guillard (Zorhan Bassong 73′), Samuel Piette (C) (Ahmed Hamdi 64′), Victor Wanyama, Mathieu Choinière; Joaquín Torres, Djordje Mihailovic (Emanuel Maciel 87′), Bjørn Johnsen (Romell Quioto 64′)
Substitutes Not Used: James Pantemis, Mustafa Kizza, Joel Waterman, Rida Zouhir, Sunusi Ibrahim
JAVIER PÉREZ – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Is winning a match against another club that is fighting for a playoff spot when you’re down a man five minutes into the match a bit too much to ask for? Is that what happened in this game?
I think what happened in this game is we find ourselves with a red card, a player down very early in the game. We know exactly what happens in these kinds of situations; that it’s just a matter of time that you concede a goal.
We go down 1-0 at halftime, which I think is a decent result, and then the plan in the second half was to play tight with 4-4-1, have Yeferson at top, keeping away two defenders at least and then playing 9 v 8, 9 v 8 with our goalkeeper from the back I think is the only way to play these kind of games.
I think we played well, given the circumstances. And they only scored that goal. But the moment you leave a space in between lines and especially against a team like Montréal, that they live off the quick transitions, it’s a risk to concede goals, and then we conceded a couple of goals.
Overall, I think the situation is that red card that we concede very early in the game, I think is nothing else to read in in the game.
I’m just wondering if you had a chance to review the play and if you thought it was deserving of a red card or not?
I think it’s harsh. I don’t like to talk about referees. I don’t think we have the best refereeing this year. I mean, the game against Orlando, I can’t review seven other games, but you know that I don’t talk about referees. I don’t like to talk about refereeing. I think it’s a harsh red card, but any ways, it’s a red card and it’s out and we are with ten players pretty much for 90 minutes.
You inserted Michael back into the starting lineup. What was your assessment of his performance tonight?
Yeah, Michael always brings personality. Brings the leadership on the field that I expect and that the team expects and I think he’s the backbone to keep together the team. So his performance, I think I rate it very highly and I think he did a great job tonight.
It seemed like after the red card the team managed to find a bit of stability and a moment of inattention and Montréal grabs that first one and I think it’s the same on the second. Those little moments and details seem to be killing this side. What did you see on those two goals and what do you do to address that?
Yeah, again I think there’s not much to say when these goals come when you are playing with a player down because I think it’s the same thing. When you make a review or you are scouting an opponent, you never make the analysis on the opponent when they have a player down. The game changes completely.
The goals, we can just see that it’s a consequence of playing with one player down. I don’t think we can read more in between lines.
With the team now sitting 12 points out of a playoff spot, it looks like that might be too much of a hill to climb. Do you shift your focus now from chasing a playoff spot to more trying to assess and develop the young talent that you’ve got in the team and find out what you’ve got with some of these young players?
I think there are different objectives. I think we cannot rule out that player because we carry still on the run but we have different tasks. Obviously this is a very experienced group and we were very happy with the week that we had behind. We felt confident going into this game, and I think now we have different opportunities in front of us. One is keep trying to climb to the playoff spot.
But that’s why we have the cup ahead of us. It’s going to come very fast and we are going to have to build the team for that competition because that’s always one title that we can fight for.
And as you mentioned, the younger players I think it’s something that we cannot dismiss. Noble was today on the field but as well, five other players they were playing with the TFC II and these players they are the future of the club and we have to keep looking at them and develop them.
Tsubasa (Endoh) and Dom (Dwyer), after missing the last couple games, they came back into the game and they saw a little bit of action in the second half. Just wondering, I know it was relatively a 15-minute performance from each of them but did you see from them?
I see players that they contribute. I see dynamic players that they make our group stronger and this is basically the time that unfortunately we could give them because they come out of injury, both of them, and we just have to be cautious about the time that we provide them. I would probably give them a little bit more time tonight. But that’s something we have to be careful just to bring them into the game. And I think they are going to be a very positive addition to the squad going forward.
You’ve got a bit of time now before the next match. Curious how you’re going to utilize that long break and get ready for the next part of the season.
Yes, I think we have work to do the next couple of days. The players, they are going to be off for the weekend. They are going to come in Monday, and from Monday, we are going to work again. So I think we have a number of players that they are going now to have a break. We have some time to work together and I think with a little bit more time, we can get a fresher look to the performances that we have and give a final push for the end of the season.
As I said, I think this is a strong group. This is an experienced group, and I believe, I firmly believe, that this is going to make us stronger. This is going to be an experience that we have to go through as a team individually together, and as a club.
IFUNANYACHI ACHARA – FORWARD, TORONTO FC
Just start with your thoughts on how that one played out, please.
I thought it was a disappointing result but the effort was there from the start. The red card was unfortunate but the guys fought through to the end. Unfortunately the result is what it was.
Your team is, I wouldn’t say maybe unlucky is the right word but just the amount of goals the club has given up early on plays that are broken down and now this red card early in the game, do you almost feel as if this team is snake bit in a way?
No, I don’t think so. I think everyone, like I said, the red card was unfortunate and it could be anyone. It happened early on in the game, but the team still fought from the first minute to the last. Maximum effort from everyone.
It was a great run that you made when you played off — when you sort of released that ball down the right flank to Soteldo. You made that run from deep to get into the box. How did the play unfold for you?
We were working all week, Richie (Laryea) and I, standing on the wing and trying to run off Yeferson (Soteldo) and (Alejandro) Pozuelo, that was one of the moments I made the pass, I realized that if he turns around, there’s going to be an open space in the back post. So I just tried my best to get there in time, and luckily the ball dropped right there, so it’s good.
It’s been a long road obviously back for yourself returning from injury, and obviously you’ve got the goal tonight and I think I saw in your celebration it was quite a bit of emotion. What did scoring that goal mean for you?
It means a lot. Really excited to get on the score sheet and help the team comeback to 1-1. So it’s like all the work we’ve been putting in over the last 17 months, you know, that was my reward right there, the goal, so that was good. Excited about it, happy and we’ll just work off it next game and try to score some more so we can win more games and win some points hopefully.
You never want to lose a game but does the fact that it came at the home of the team’s biggest rival sting a bit more perhaps?
Yeah, of course. Of course, it’s disappointing hearing the fans cheer and boo, and of course if we were winning, we’ll shut the whole fans up and the whole stadium, so it’s disappointing. But I think there’s a lot to take away from it and we’re going to work hard to turn it around.
You mentioned something about being able to turn it around, but at this late sort of date in the season; that even possible? There’s 12 games remaining, and with the 12-point gap you have to sort of overcome, and there’s six or seven teams you have to leapfrog, I’m just wondering, realistically, is a playoff spot even attainable at this point?
I think so. I think it’s still possible, and if there’s a little possibility, we’re still going to push to make the playoff and take it one game at a time. I think our next focus is on the next game, Cincinnati, and if we win that game and get three points, we go from there, and see where we’re going to be on the end of the season.
But I think the full focus in everybody’s mind is to win the rest of the games we have and hopefully teams in the front drop some points and we’ll see where we’re at.
In every game it looks look you’re moving better, is that fair to say? Do you feel the same way? Are you getting more comfortable out there?
Yeah, I’ve been out for a long time, so the first few games I feel like rusty and trying to get — but the more I play, the more I feel more comfortable, and the knee feels more comfortable and stronger. I think with more games and more minutes, I’ll get back to more comfortable and move well, so, yeah, I would agree.
I was just wondering, the league goes on an international break now. Do you think the break comes at a good time or when a team loses like this, are you anxious to get right back at it? What do you think of the timing of the break now? Is it good or not so good for the team?
I think it’s positive. We have a lot of guys that have been playing a lot of minutes, so the break will probably give some of our guys a chance to take break and take a breather and let the body rest and come back in the next few weeks and put everything for the rest of the season.
I think the break is positive, also for me personally, and some of the guys injured, I think it will give us more of a chance to work on what we need it work on in the training room and come back more fit.