The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have signed guard Matt Morgan. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Morgan, 6-foot-2, 174 pounds, averaged 20.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 32.5 minutes in 114 games (112 starts) during four seasons at Cornell University (2015-19). He shot .470 (743-1580) from the field, including .377 (334-885) from three-point range. Morgan graduated as Cornell’s all-time leading scorer (2,333) and was named first-team All-Ivy League as both a junior and senior.
A native of Concord, North Carolina, Morgan was a member of the Raptors’ team at NBA Summer League 2019 in Las Vegas, averaging 4.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 13.8 minutes in four appearances.
The Raptors’ roster currently stands at the maximum of 20 players after the team waived forward Sagaba Konate (SAG-uh-bah kuh-NOT-ay) yesterday.
Q. At this point, what else can you say about Altuve? AJ HINCH: I don’t know. I’ve said things for five years now, I’ve talked about how great this guy is, and he continues to exceed expectations. It’s not easy to deliver the way he does.
The playoff version of him is spectacular. We talk about his Division Series homers and then his attention to detail in every facet of the game. He’s turned himself into a star in his career here, and yet he’s remained humble, he’s remained hungry. He’s driven. He’s engaging with his teammates. It’s the same old quote of: Everything that’s right about the Astros is Jose Altuve. He’s been here the longest and seen this organization grow from the ground up.
I’m so proud of him. I’m so fortunate to be his manager.
Q. Your bullpen certainly showed it could hold its own with the Yankees in this series. Tonight you had three different relievers come in with more than at least two men on, two out, get out of the situation. Can you talk about the way they responded. And in regard to Pressly specifically, is he available for the World Series? AJ HINCH: What a job by our bullpen to log all those innings. And you could go man by man and describe, whether it’s Peacock getting into the game, Josh James coming in and getting him out of his jam, to Ryan Pressly comes in with a big out, and then Urquidy, who’s relatively untested, certainly on this stage, against a team like that, comes through with huge innings. Will Harris, Osuna had a little hiccup at the end, but LeMahieu is just about as tough an out as anybody in the league, and then we bounce back.
It’s not easy to get through the lineup that many times. There’s a ton of traffic, there were a lot of high-leverage outs that were needed by our pen. But I do think our pen took it personal that they were kind of disregarded as an impactful part of this series. That it was going to be about the Yankee bullpen and their power, and the Yankee lineup and their power. Our pen stood up for themselves and delivered at the biggest moment on the biggest stage.
As far as Pressly goes, he did tweak his knee, as you saw on that play, I’m sure you saw the replay. I am expecting him to be ready. It’s the World Series, it will be all hands on deck. But obviously he’ll be evaluated over the next couple of days.
Q. Earlier in the game Gurriel with his home run, he hasn’t had a lot of results but he’s hit the ball harder than basically everybody that played in this series. So what does that say about how big that home run was and then how it helped you be able to set everything up? AJ HINCH: I felt the opposite effect when Hicks hit the homer in Game 5. And their building woke up and it was electric. And they jumped out and got a big lead. And I felt that same energy from our side. And Yuli has been the unluckiest guy on our team when it comes to results, but his resolve has been great. His at-bats were always really good.
Even the pitch he hit was incredible that he could get to it and hit the ball out of the ballpark. He hits a lot of home runs in this park. And he hung with it.
I think when we get that lead and the building is alive and our dugout is alive, and it’s too early to start counting outs at that point, but you’re like, We have a real chance here and put ourselves in a really good position.
It’s nice when you take the lead, especially in an elimination game on the other side, it puts an immense amount of pressure on those guys. It wouldn’t surprise me that Yuli was in the middle of it, because he’s been mere feet away from being in the middle of virtually every good thing that’s happened to us offensively in this series.
Q. Last night you told us that it felt good coming home 3-2. How great does it feel to win the pennant in front of the home crowd here? AJ HINCH: It’s incredible. These fans stuck with us through the whole game. It’s late, we’re playing long games, there’s a million pitching changes today. There’s the emotion early in the game, and we asked them to carry that for four hours. And playoff baseball is like the four-hour game is the regular.
This is one of the best places to play. We’ve learned how to win together I think as a fan base, as an organization, it’s the players and the coaches, and we feed off of that energy. And to reward them with that experience of the walk-off homer, give them a chance to just go crazy at close to midnight and know that we’ve got more baseball to be played. We still have home-field for the World Series. It’s why we worked our tail off to get as many wins as we could. It is for them. We want to hang another flag for them, and we’re four wins away.
Q. Urquidy gave you two and two-thirds, gave up the home run but that was it. How big was that in the middle of the game? AJ HINCH: Huge.
Q. And going forward what do you see? AJ HINCH: Sure. He was incredible tonight. And what’s hard for a young player is not really knowing what was going to happen or how he was going to be used. It probably would have been easier on him emotionally just to start the game and have the normal routine, and we weren’t going to do that. And we told him we weren’t sure if or when he was going to pitch but the way the game was progressing and we went through a lot of pitching early, we don’t win this game if Urquidy doesn’t come in and get the outs that he did at the time in which he did to turn it over to the back end of the bullpen.
He’s been very versatile for us. He’s incredibly poised in front of the fans and facing the Yankees. It’s pretty daunting to look up there and see Aaron Judge and LeMahieu, Gary S�nchez, and names that he’s recognized forever, and he held his own and did an incredible job. I look forward to watching him pitch in the World Series.
Q. Could you speak to your defense, the double plays, the catch by Reddick in the outfield, and then how close as you’re watching the play go on Springer climbing the wall to just miss the home run? AJ HINCH: Our defense was incredible. I’ve said all along that I think our defense is underrated. It’s a good part of our team. Some of the other parts of our team are more exceptional and I think it knocks our defense a little bit. But we made plays today, the double play by Altuve and Correa.
Brantley’s catch. I was watching him — I didn’t even think about the throw when he dove. He doesn’t dive head first very often. If that doesn’t tell you what playoff baseball is all about. To bounce up and throw a bullet to first base, nice play by Yuli on the other end, that wasn’t an easy play.
We just continued to take opportunities away from them defensively. That’s the play-making side of defense that was remarkable.
And George, I don’t know if I saw him close to it or I was wishing him to be close to it. I was wondering, is he as good a jumper as Reddick? I’m just to do anything — fan interfere with it, do something to keep that ball in play. And — don’t really interfere, I don’t mean that. I know you’re laughing. It’s just I wanted it so badly for our team, we were so close.
And when George got back in he told me he just — he barely missed it. But I haven’t seen it. But I don’t really care now.
Q. How much of a role do you think postseason experience plays when you have that deflating home run by LeMahieu and you get right back off the mat? AJ HINCH: I think it has to play a little into it just that we’ve been here before. We’ve played some remarkable games, not only in this ballpark, but just in the playoffs in general. And that emotional swing is eased a little bit with experience and having been there, done that.
And the resolve on this team. I think we talk all the time about the talent on this team. I think the resolve and the steady heads on this team, and just — we still play with a chip on our shoulder, which is good. We play with some mojo. And I think all of that adds into find a way to win the game.
And two outs and nobody on and George Springer is up, everybody is on the top step thinking we have an opportunity. When he draws the walk, there’s so many different ways for that combo of players to produce a win, but the homer is the best way.
Q. Obviously you guys would take the situation, whether it took six or seven games. But just to be able to do it in six and to save Cole. What does that mean moving forward and how nice is that to be able to have him? AJ HINCH: It’s incredible to finish a series at any point. I think the nerves and the unpredictability that come with game 7s are miserable.
I said at the beginning of this series when we lined up our pitching after the rainout we wanted to win as fast as possible. And that was, one, is to get a little bit of rest before the World Series; and No. 2, it’s the easiest way to line things up moving forward.
So not getting pushed to the brink of Game 7 and having to use not just Gerrit, but it would have been the entire bullpen again in some capacity was going to be up had we got to that. We’re lined up better to give ourselves a chance to win another World Championship.
Q. A little more on the Correa double play. Apparently his throw was the hardest on a double play since they’ve been tracking this stuff. And his accuracy is something that he makes it look easy. How special is he compared to just the average fielder in that situation? AJ HINCH: He’s a game changer. And this year it’s been a roller coaster ride for him health-wise. And we’ve missed his presence. It’s not just the routine plays, there’s a lot of guys in the League that can make the routine plays, but there’s a section of plays that very few guys can make, whether it’s making up time on a double play like that, throwing it, I don’t know what it was registered at, 98 miles an hour or whatever it was, to the long throw in the hole to just the mere presence in the middle of the field, it’s just irreplaceable.
And when you make plays like that, the jolt of energy that comes with a double play like that, they’re game-changing plays.
Q. I was curious about the chip on the shoulder. Why do you feel like y’all still have that, even though you’ve won a World Series and so close to going back last year? AJ HINCH: We play with an edge. I think even going into this series I think we won the most games in baseball, and it’s nice to feel like you’ve still got to push a little bit for the credit this group deserves.
And I think it’s winning drives this team. It’s really all that drives us and each other and the players. The players do an unbelievable job of pushing one another.
So you’ve got a lot of guys in there that deserve the credit for putting the work in, but more importantly, deserve the credit for the performance. And again, I’m not going to play that everybody doubts us all the time, but everybody expects things to — you’re not going to repeat.
We got to the ALCS Game 5 last year, and a couple of wins away from the World Series, and that was deemed a disappointment. And that pisses off Major League players. And so we came back this year and got back to the World Series and we’re going to try to tack on to their r�sum�s a lot of these guys.
Q. Can you talk us through going up to that last at-bat what you saw, how it went, how it felt? JOSE ALTUVE: Well, first of all Springer’s walk was the key because it creates some momentum. He puts a lot of pressure on the other team. I was facing Aroldis Chapman, which is one of the best closers in the league. Nothing is easy with him. He just hit a homer and I hope I don’t get to face him again because he’s that good. But at the same time I was just thinking something I can drive, I have my game plan, I wasn’t trying to hit a homer I was just thinking to hit the ball hard, get on base and keep the momentum. Thank god the ball went out and we won the game.
Q. Springer’s at-bat was long. Is there anything that you noticed during that at-bat that helped you when you were at the plate? JOSE ALTUVE: How confident and quiet he was. We all know Chapman throws a hundred miles an hour. But Georgie was so calm. And like I said, he wasn’t trying to be the hero, that’s the kind of thing where I will just pass the bat to the next guy. And I just tried to copy his approach by just quiet, just try to get my pitch to hit and I got it.
Q. If you can answer in English and Spanish. You’ve had a lot of big moments here, where does this one rank for you? JOSE ALTUVE: I have to say No. 1 because we’re going to the World Series. But we’re not going to the World Series because of me. We’re going to the World Series because of everybody inside of the clubhouse. For me Yuli’s homer was really big. To score early in the game against the Yankees in a bullpen day when their bullpen is really, really good. But I feel happy that I could help my team. We all celebrating right now. We’re not thinking about tomorrow until it comes.
Q. That was a perfectly executed obviously double play in the eighth inning. When you’re watching Correa and just the accuracy of his throws, how hard he’s throwing the ball, just from your perspective what is that like to watch that? JOSE ALTUVE: It makes my job a lot easier because you don’t have to give him like a perfect throw. And actually it wasn’t a perfect throw by me it was a little up and soft. But he give you the opportunity to do that. He just need the ball and he’s going to do the rest. It was a big double play in the inning by us. But I just caught the ball and give it to him. He did a tremendous job by a quick release and a strong throw.
Q. Just to piggyback off of that, what about the guys behind you tonight, they made some really good catches, how do you feel about that? JOSE ALTUVE: This is a team where I don’t know what direction would take the game if Michael Brantley doesn’t catch the ball. So man on first and third, maybe a double, you don’t know. It was big, big by Michael and stopped the momentum that he they had in that inning.
Q. Can you just talk about the fact that you guys can win any number of ways, anybody on this team can step up? JOSE ALTUVE: Yes, that’s another thing about our team, sometimes we win the game by making a defensive play. Sometimes we win the game by stolen base, by good pitching, by homer, different ways. So we have a lot of good players that they can do multiple things, like Springer, he’s been stealing bases, getting hits, walking. Bregman walks, homer, defensive player. So it’s unbelievable what those guys can do on the field.
Q. When DJ hit the home run to tie it a lot of teams would just be broken. What did you sense the mood in the dugout when you came to bat? JOSE ALTUVE: Well, would it be different if this would be the first time we were in that situation, but we’ve been here before. We’ve been winning a lot of games and they tie the game and then we come back and win the game. You have to stay focused and positive and that’s what we did. Georgie’s at-bat for me is huge because just to put somebody on base it change the whole theme. You’re not confidence about making your pitches because the ball in the gap with a runner like Springer is game over. So I think the key in the inning was him.
Q. (No microphone.) JOSE ALTUVE: I think we all said it. I heard Justin, I heard Springer, but that’s normal for us. It’s nothing new. We all feeding — we always feeding each other, helping each other, including each other, so that’s our game plan. Off the field. When I say off the field, we’re not playing in the moment.
Q. From last year in the Championship Series how you were physically to making yourself right, having some delay during this season until you felt like you do now, how gratifying is it to then walk off as the ALCS MVP with all you’ve gone through in the last year? JOSE ALTUVE: It means a lot. I don’t like talking about the past. Obviously we all know that it wasn’t a hundred percent, I got surgery right after the last game. There was something wrong with my knee.
And this year the recuperation and the treatment and everything we did it got me into the point where I was healthy and a hundred percent. I thank God for that. And I just — it’s been important for me to be able to play a hundred percent because I feel like I’m a good player and I can help the team.
Q. When you’re rounding the bases, what’s going through your mind and especially when you’re rounding third and you see everybody at home plate waiting for you? JOSE ALTUVE: Well, a lot of things. I hit the ball, you make sure the ball is gone before you celebrate. Then I’m thinking, We’re going to the World Series. And then I’m thinking — I don’t know, a lot of things.
Q. Just your reaction to that game and then the end of it? AARON BOONE: Just so many different emotions. Proud of all our guys. The ultimate pain you can feel in sports, just knowing all that so many put into it. And just know how good of a club we have, to get back into it and then it to end that way, it’s hard and our guys are hurting.
But I could not be more proud of them and the way they always compete. It will serve us well moving forward, when we get to the top of the mountain.
I want to say congratulations to AJ and the Astros. They have a great team, obviously. They made a couple more plays than we did.
Q. So much of your season was built around the strength of your bullpen, and in particular the guys who gave up the runs tonight. How tough was that just to see those guys? AARON BOONE: It’s going to happen. I thought Chappy hung a pitch and a great player got him. Tommy gave up a run, a little bit of a product of him probably being a little tired, too, at this point, having used him a lot here these last few days. Greeny gave up that home run early, but you kind of look at the pitch and it’s a great job by Gurriel. I think he was just uber-aggressive selling out on a fastball but in a certain spot, too, and somehow got to that and just hit it out.
And obviously a couple of those, that’s the difference in the ball game. Love how my guys compete always.
Q. With Marisnick on deck there, what is the thought to — AARON BOONE: Yeah, certainly not a walk, an intentional walk situation, but kind of pitching him aggressively like you’re ahead the whole time. And I think Chappy did, he just hung a breaking ball. That’s obviously a pitch he’s trying to not give in and probably get down and out of the zone, see if you get a chase or something and he hung it.
Q. DJ is up out there following those four pitches to get to that pitch, at the time it completely changed the game. AARON BOONE: Yeah, kind of embodies his season, that at-bat, so good. Off their closer, obviously. Just a really good battle and spoiled pitches, spoiled pitches, finally got one he could handle and ride out of there.
As that at-bat’s going on, just felt so good about him doing something. Knew he was going to put it in play hard somewhere, and sure enough he did. What more can you say about the season he’s had.
Q. You guys were the best in baseball during the regular season, hitting with runners in scoring position and then that continued against the Twins. Obviously a lot more struggles this week. How much is that their pitching? AARON BOONE: I think a lot of credit certainly goes to them. But a lot of times the teams that eventually go home it’s sometimes a result of not capitalizing enough when you have opportunities.
Another day today where even though we scored four runs, had a couple of big hits, obviously, we had a lot of guys out there; 12, 15 baserunners-ish, I’m guessing. And just weren’t able enough in this series to kind of break through to change it the other way. Unfortunately for us, that’s a little bit of the difference.
Q. Obviously the Astros stopped you guys two years ago before you got here. Did it again this year. It’s a very small gap, I guess, but what can you do to close the gap with a team that good? AARON BOONE: Continue to fight and work. I feel like we are on equal footing with them. Unfortunately, sports can be a little bit cruel for the team that goes home and such can happen in the series.
I think we’re a better team this year than we were last year. And we’ll work very hard in the winter in every phase, from the front office and the decisions we make with what players we bring in, what players we lose, things like that that are inevitable, continue to try to pour into our guys in the offseason about things to focus on to help them improve their game individually. I feel like we’ve made a lot of strides in that area.
But the work never ends. And we’ll continue to try and I guess close that gap or put ourselves in a position to get over the hump. I know everyone in our room believes we will and we’ll have a lot of battle scars when we do finally get to the top of that mountain.
Obviously, we got off to a good start. We struggled in the second with penalty trouble. I thought that really got us out of flow and gave a good power play good opportunities. In the end, that probably affected us. How many penalties did we take? [Four]. How many [power plays] did we get? [Zero]. I didn’t know that.
On Johnsson’s status:
I think he’s going to be fine. The X-Rays were negative. We’ll see in the morning. He might not practice tomorrow, but he’ll be back at it.
On the decision to play Marner on Matthews’ wing:
He wasn’t in Willy’s [Nylander] spot. We had talked about it two days ago. We kind of knew what we were going to do. We were going to play Willy with [Matthews] when he was in the offensive zone and that way it would set up when it was a matchup situation, we were going to play Mitchy. If we went with Matty in the O-zone, we wanted Mitchy to play with [Kerfoot] so we could match that up and then we were going to match up [Gauthier] in D-zone.
On if those matchups are limited to tonight:
We’ll just try to evaluate for the next game what we’re going to do. We’ll look at it tomorrow, get it figured out and then go from there. I mean, when we lost [Johnsson] we were a little short-staffed so we were moving guys around. I thought we had some guys who had strong, strong games. Mikheyev I thought had a real good game, I thought [Timashov] had a real good game, I thought [Gauthier] was outstanding. You go through and there were lots of guys that really contributed here.
On how valuable a tool the fourth line is:
You wouldn’t have trusted [Gauthier] in these situations before. You know, it’s no different than [Holl], you get better every year. Sometimes you don’t get to play, but you’re getting better. You’re around NHL practice every day, you’re training, you’re working, you’re getting better. Then when they make the step and they earn the confidence, then they really get better. Obviously, Goat has been important for us. Really important for us.
On Timashov scoring his first career goal:
I think he’s got four points or something. What I like about him is he’s nasty. He hits everything that moves and he’s heavy on the puck, he’s on the forecheck all the time, he provides speed for [Shore] and Goat.
On if he’d like to give Marner more time with Matthews in the long-term:
Not really. I’m tempted to have the best lineup we can and if that’s them together then I’d do that. John Tavares is a pretty good player too and that line, when we get Hyman back, that’s a pretty dominant, dominant line for us. Matty and [Johnsson] and Willy have been a good line for us as well. I don’t know what’s going to happen, I can’t predict that, I just know that you go day-to-day. You get to write about it after, I have to decide during. It’s not as easy to second-guess during. You’ve got to make those decisions in advance. Sometimes it goes good and you feel great. Sometimes it goes terrible and you wish you wouldn’t have done it.
On the impact a win like tonight can have:
I don’t know if it’s a statement game, but what I’d say to you is it was more important for our team than their team. It was important because John [Tavares] was out, to find a way to win it and it was probably even more important when we lost [Johnsson] that we got it done. I thought Freddie had a real good – it looks like he’s back. That’s an important part for us as well. I thought he had an unbelievable night for us.
FREDERIK ANDERSEN (43 SAVES)
On tonight’s game:
Yeah, outstanding hockey, right? It doesn’t get much better. It was fun.
On tonight’s intensity level:
I thought that was a fun game. I think we got off to a good start. We got some energy in the building. I think they carried it on all night. It was a fun, fun game to be part of.
On Matthews and Marner making plays with one another:
Yeah, they seem to find each other pretty well and, like you said, they have an unbelievable skill set and both guys can shoot it pretty good too.
ALEX KERFOOT (1 GOAL)
On how satisfying tonight’s win is:
Yeah, it felt good. I mean, obviously, the Washington game didn’t go the way we wanted it to and kind of gave up a leave there and gave up one in the third again, but we found a way to come back. Obviously, our best players made a play to win the game.
On Andersen’s play tonight:
He was outstanding. There were times in the game where we got hemmed in our D-zone, we had some late changes, got out there with some guys gassed and he made a bunch of great saves to keep us in it.
MITCH MARNER (2 ASSISTS)
On the game-winning goal:
Saw [Matthews] go around the back of the net and I didn’t want to get to close. I knew that if there were sticks in the way he couldn’t make the pass so tried to stay higher in the slot. I’m almost certain it hit [Rielly] and went in but it’s a good feeling getting that game over with and moving on.
On tonight’s line shuffling:
Yeah, we kind of got told in the morning that we were just going to watch and what the other team does with their lines and kind of go off that. I thought we played well together, had some chemistry out there. Defensively speaking I thought we played a really well-rounded game.
AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 ASSIST)
On playing alongside Marner for portions of the game tonight:
Yeah, it’s always exciting, we haven’t played with each other much but I think every time we get paired up together, we get pretty excited out there. We just try to make the most of it, make plays and try to create offense and obviously, keep the puck out of our net.
On setting up the game winning goal tonight:
I just tried to hold it and I think their guy slid on their first post and I tried to get around, find somebody open and got Mitch and I think it tapped [Rielly] and then went in, so that’s all that matters. That’s a big extra point for us, this was going to be a statement game. They’ve gotten off to a hot start so wanted to make sure we came out on time and played well.
MORGAN RIELLY (2 GOALS)
On if he’s willing to confirm the overtime goal went off him and in the net:
On what he saw on the overtime goal.
Two really good players going back-and-forth with it. When they’re on the ice together, it’s great. You just kind of let them do the work.
On what this win means for the team:
Yeah, it’s big. A team within the division, not having John [Tavares]. Just kind of a point in our year where we want to get going and I think we answered the bell. Not as clean as we wanted to win, but we got it done anyways so we’ll take it.
DMYTRO TIMASHOV (FIRST CAREER NHL GOAL)
On if physicality is part of his game:
I like it, I think it’s fun to hit the guys. I think I played like that with the Marlies too. It’s fun for sure.
On scoring his first career NHL goal:
It’s a dream come true, always a dream to score my first goal. I didn’t think it would come this soon because I don’t score a lot of goals, I’m more of a passer, but I’m happy to score my first one.
TORONTO FC (5) – D.C. UNITED (1) POST GAME SUMMARY Toronto FC advances to play New York City FC on Wednesday, October 23rd in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal
SCORING SUMMARY TOR – Marky Delgado 32’ DC – Lucas Rodríguez 90’+3’ (Frédéric Brillant, Wayne Rooney) TOR – Richie Laryea 93’ (Nick DeLeon, Michael Bradley) TOR – Jonathan Osorio 95’ TOR – Jonathan Osorio 103’ (Alejandro Pozuelo) TOR – Nick DeLeon 105’+1’ (Jonathan Osorio)
MISCONDUCT SUMMARY TOR – Jonathan Osorio 40’ (caution) TOR – Marky Delgado 72’ (caution) TOR – Justin Morrow 102’ (caution) DC – Leonardo Jara 109’ (caution) DC – Paulo Arriola 112’, 118’ (double caution)
LINEUPS TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr. (Drew Moor 90’+3’), Laurent Ciman, Chris Mavinga (Patrick Mullins 107’), Justin Morrow; Jonathan Osorio, Michael Bradley (C); Alejandro Pozuelo, Marky Delgado, Tsubasa Endoh (Nick DeLeon 73’); Nicolas Benezet (Richie Laryea 81’). Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Liam Fraser, Erickson Gallardo
D.C. UNITED – Bill Hamid; Steven Birnbaum (C), Rusell Canouse, Joseph Mora (Emmanuel Boateng 87’), Frédéric Brillant; Felipe (Ola Kamara 44’), Junior Moreno; Ulises Segura (Luciano Acosta 78’), Paul Arriola, Lucas Rodriguez; Wayne Rooney (Leonardo Jara EHT). Substitutes Not Used: Quincy Amarikwa, Chris Seitz, Donovan Pines
GREG VANNEY, HEAD COACH – TORONTO FC
Why didn’t you finish that in regular time? That would have been nice. We had to see out one more corner kick and as it would, they score. Most importantly, our response after we give away a goal late was incredible, we had to re-setup the team, because really the sub at the end was just to try to get to the corner kick, to get a little bit bigger. We knew they were sending in the goalkeeper; we knew they were sending all the big guys, and we just wanted to get a little bigger than Auro. And try to just…because I feel like really if we see through that corner kick the game is done. So, we took that one, that opportunity, we give up one, I wouldn’t have done it, but I knew also if we happen to go to overtime, we have an extra sub. So, we can go back to an attacking shape if I needed to but unfortunately, we didn’t get ourselves through that one. But we re-grouped, really the guys regrouped mentally, we re-shaped ourselves based on the guys we had on the field. We just completely opened up the game, some of the attacking play, some of the finishing, all that stuff started to come out in droves. It was nice but just showed some real mental toughness I think in that final overtime.
What did you say to your guys before the overtime? Win the game…no. I just again re-shaped it and said let’s be aggressive. Let’s not fall back, we re-shaped into a 3-5-2, and I said I wanted the wide guys to go hard, I didn’t want them to sit in the back, I didn’t want it to look like a 5. I wanted us to play the ball forward and to just attack. Which is a format that we used in the past, mostly in 2016. Obviously, we still have Marky, Oso and Michael, who remember those days, and Justin, and the centre backs were comfortable with it. I just wanted us to be aggressive. We were going to go into the overtime, we wanted to change the mindset right off the bat. And we did it well, and we were able to like I said get some goals off of that, I would like to say made it comfortable in the end, but we also had a couple of guys that were a little banged up in the overtime, that unfortunately we are going to have to deal with that.
What is about big night’s like tonight, that bring out the best in Osorio? Yeah, I think that you know for him and a lot of guys, but I think for him he loves being here in front of his hometown. You know the bigger the games, I feel like this team always reaches down and finds a different level of concentration, intensity and fight in some ways. Sometimes I think in regular season games, we love to play and pass the ball and everything else. But in playoff games, and big games, bring out a different level of competition and scrappiness and fighting and the things that you have to do to just win playoff games or these games that are one offs. For Osorio that’s his wheelhouse, when he’s got a lot of sort of emotion and a lot of passion for what he does and when the game gets going like that it brings out the best of what he has to offer. Plus, on a day like today, we needed to him to hold possession and spin away from guys because we don’t have a Jozy up top to be able to hold the ball for us. We needed him and Poz, those guys to be reliable as much as possible on the ball, and they were great in that way for us. So pleased, happy…and again guys like him, and a lot of others just continue to build confidence through this stretch, and we look forward to the next challenge.
JONATHAN OSORIO, MIDFIELFDER – TORONTO FC
How did it feel tonight? Very good. It was a great response after giving up a last-minute goal. In extra time, to respond like that and to come out aggressive was great. It was great for the team; it gives us a lot of confidence and some could argue that the game finishing this way is better for us going into the next.
What was the mood of the team after they had tied it in regulation? I think at first upsetting for sure but we gathered ourselves together, we gathered in a group and we picked each other up saying that the game is not over, we have 30 minutes to win this and if we keep playing the way that we were playing we knew that we would come out on top.
Did this week’s game with Canada help you in today’s game? I mean, I put that in the past now. The Canada game happened, it was great, I’ll remember it forever for sure, but I put that in the past. The next day I was looking forward to this game and I’m just happy we got the win to go to the next round.
Thoughts on the quick turnaround to Wednesdays game: It doesn’t matter, it’s playoffs. All of that does not matter at all. We are going to do everything we can to recover and get ready and that won’t be an excuse.
NICK DELEON, MIDFIELDER – TORONTO FC
Congratulations on the big goal. Can you talk about for a bit? I had time and space and I tried to pick out the far corner. Before that the guys put in an incredible shift today. I just felt a little motivated in the overtime, especially since it was my man that scored in the regulation time. I was definitely prepared to do what I had to do to help the team win in overtime.
What was the key to you guys regrouping for overtime? For lack of a better word, there was a lot of pissed off guys going into overtime, so some very motivated guys and I think it showed.
How special was it for you to score against them? Yeah, it was special. It felt good for sure.
Nick what was it like playing your first playoff game at BMO Field? Awesome, incredible. It was a good atmosphere. I have always loved playing here. In the playoffs the atmosphere just goes up another level. It was an incredible atmosphere. I am glad to have at least played one here.
What does it say about the character of this team to give up a stoppage time goal then drop the hammer four times so quickly? Yeah, it says a lot. You always get knocked down. You are always going to have controversy, but it is how you respond and today we responded very well.
BEN OLSEN, HEAD COACH – D.C. UNITED
What are your emotions after the game? It’s hard to process that right? It’s a lot of emotion to tie it up there late and play what I thought was a pretty good game. Better chances in regular time, didn’t put them away, and then early in the overtime we give up two goals. Then the wheels come off and they make a bunch of plays. They just came back with maybe a better mentality out of the break. They punished us for it.
Wayne Rooney had three really good looks at goal that you would normally expect him to finish. You got Wayne’s three and (Ola Kamara’s) one v one. You know we didn’t over the course of the day didn’t make enough plays to win it in regular time. We threw so much at it in the end personnel wise, maybe that has something to do with it on the turn. Going into the overtime you know our personnel wasn’t right and we gave up some early goals. It’s disappointing. It’s an unfair score line when you look at the game itself in regular time. But they also scored five goals and we scored one.
The outcome was settled after the first fifteen minutes of extra time you decided to take Rooney off. What went into that decision? Get some legs in the centre of the park. He put a lot of miles in today. Nothing other than getting a fresh body in there.
This marks the end of Wayne Rooney’s ten year here, what goes through your mind with him? Well I enjoyed it very much. I think he gave a lot to the organisation from a team standpoint. On the field some wonderful moments. He was a great teammate. I think he was good to our fans and very appreciative of the support he got from our fan base but also the community, the D.C. are. Personally, it was a joy to work with him. I really enjoyed it. I think he’s made me a better coach. For the most part he was a pretty easy to manage. It’s an unfortunate way for him to finish here. I’m sure he would have wanted to hit the back of the net and push is into the next round but that’s not how it went today.
How do you feel personally now that you have three times in a row been bounced out in the first round? I haven’t thought much about that. I’m just disappointed that we couldn’t get through today. Again, I was proud of the effort and proud to get here. Frustrated and disappointed that we haven’t been able to get out of the first round. We’ll work to fix that.
PAUL ARRIOLA, MIDFIELDER – D.C. UNITED
Hard way to lose in the playoffs especially when it was tied after 90 minutes? Yeah definitely. Obviously the second goal comes from a difficult ball that was played in, a 50/50 ball that was neutral. You know Mike was first to react and they punished us. Our plan was to stay compact and ride the momentum we had, but it went differently once the extra time started.
You must have felt pretty good after scoring so late and having the momentum swing in your favour. Yeah of course we had a lot of momentum and it’s unfortunate that we give up the goal so early and make it difficult on ourselves. Credit to them, they put away their chances and kept going. You know as a team we can’t stop 2-1, 3-1, you’ve got to keep playing and we didn’t seem to do that.
I know that you and Wayne are close and being this was the last game you’ll play with him I wanted to know your thoughts of the time and what he’s meant to this club? I haven’t really thought about it being our last game. You know we weren’t hoping and expecting this to be our last game, but he’s helped this club in a lot of ways. You see us on an international scale and what he does on the field and the type of teammate he is. I can’t say enough good things about the type of player he is and the guy that he is off the field in the locker room. He’s a great friend, a great teammate and I wish we could have done more to continue this run.
OLA KAMARA, FORWARD – D.C. UNITED
Your feeling good going into extra time, what do you think changed the momentum at that point? It’s tough you know we put a lot of attackers out there to try and score a goal and I think maybe we had a lot of people out of position and maybe we pressed a little bit high for us. But also, if we went just defensive maybe they would of broke us down out wide. It’s just tough but I think as they don’t have Altidore as a striker, we might have been better to sit a little bit lower and let them have the ball. It’s probably marginal though, it’s tough.
You’ve only been around a couple of months, looking ahead now you’re obviously going to step into a bigger role with Wayne gone, how do you look at the future of this team in general. You saw at the end of the season that we done well. Of course, for me it was a bad, bad situation to get injured when you’re scoring 3 goals and you have momentum and everything. I wanted to play with good players and Wayne as well, but it is what it is and hopefully we’ll learn from this and get back into the playoffs next year and do even better.
Morgan Rielly put the Maple Leafs on the board at 5:55 of the first period and scored the winner at 3:54 of overtime goal. Rielly’s goals were his first of the season. Last season he established a new single-season career-high for goals (20). Tonight’s game is his third multi-point performance of the season.
Dmytro Timashov scored Toronto’s second goal of the night at 15:44 of the first period. Timashov’s goal is his first career NHL goal. He has four points (1-3-4) in six games to begin his NHL career.
Alex Kerfoot scored the third Maple Leafs goal of the game at 2:37 of the third period. Kerfoot has two goals over his last four games. The Maple Leafs are 2-0-1 when Kerfoot scores this season.
Mitch Marner registered the primary assist on Rielly’s first period goal and on the overtime-winning goal. Marner has six points (2-4-6) over his last five games. His 20 points (5 goals, 15 assists) in 13 career games against Boston is his career-high for points against a single opponent.
Andreas Johnsson had the secondary assist on Rielly’s first period goal. Johnsson has three points (1-2-3) over his last three games. All five (2-3-5) of his points have come on home ice
Frederik Gauthier recorded the lone assist on Timashov’s first period goal. Gauthier established a career-high for assists (11) in 2018-19.
Jake Muzzin registered the primary assist on Kerfoot’s third period goal. Muzzin has assists (2) in two consecutive games. He has five points (1-4-5) in seven games against Eastern Conference opponents.
Ilya Mikheyev collected the secondary assist on Kerfoot’s third period goal. Mikheyev has points (1-1-2) in two consecutive games. He has four points (2-2-4) over his last four games. The Maple Leafs are 3-1-1 when Mikheyev registers a point.
Auston Matthews recorded the primary assist on Marner’s overtime goal. He has four points (2-2-4) over his last five games. Eight (6-2-8) of his nine points this season have come on home ice.
Frederik Andersen stopped 42 shots to earn the victory tonight. Tonight’s game is his first 40-plus save performance of the season.