TORONTO FC (1) – CF MONTRÉAL (1) POST GAME SUMMARY
MTL – Sunusi Ibrahim 55’
TOR – Jozy Altidore 90+5’
TOR – Patrick Mullins 6’ (caution)
TOR – Noble Okello 54’ (caution)
TOR – Jonathan Osorio 58’ (caution)
MTL – Emanuel Maciel 58’ (caution)
TOR – Jacob Shaffelburg 64’ (caution)
Toronto FC 6-17-8 26 points
CF Montréal 11-10-10 43 points
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr., Michael Bradley (C), Chris Mavinga, Richie Laryea; Mark Delgado, Noble Okello, Jonathan Osorio; Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty (Jozy Altidore 66’), Patrick Mullins (Alejandro Pozuelo HT), Jacob Shaffelburg (Jayden Nelson 85’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Justin Morrow, Eriq Zavaleta, Julian Dunn, Nick DeLeon, Jordan Perruzza
CF MONTRÉAL – James Pantemis; Joel Waterman, Rudy Camacho, Kamal Miller; Zachary Brault-Guillard (Zorhan Bassong 85’), Emanuel Maciel (Ahmed Hamdi 66’), Samuel Piette (C), Mathieu Choinière; Joaquín Torres (Bjørn Johnsen 89’), Djordje Mihailovic, Sunusi Ibrahim (Matko Miljevic 84’)
Substitutes Not Used: Sebastian Breza, Mustafa Kizza, Aljaž Struna, Ballou Tabla, Rida Zouhir
JAVIER PÉREZ – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
Q. Your team really came on strong in the second half. Do you feel this is a game where you finally — your team finally got what it deserved?
I think we deserved more. I think the numbers say that we deserved more, and it’s a little bit unbelievable that we were 10 seconds away from going empty-handed. We crossed the ball 19 times against five from them. We got more possessions. We got the expected goal higher than them. Everything was on our side except one thing, which is the scoreboard. So I think in the end, we are happy with that point. I think the team looks like a team, and I think — I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I’m every day with the players and I’m every day with the guys and I know how hard they are working, how they are trying to get out of this situation, and it’s very difficult, but I think tonight, that extra effort that it was needed, they put it — they put them — they put it on the field, the energy, and in the end, we got a point, I think well deserved.
Q. I think it was earlier this week, you were asked about the team’s lack of finishing in front of goal and you didn’t really have any sort of definitive answers. I wonder if today, was it just a matter of just on Pantemis was playing really well and you ran into a hard goalkeeper before Jozy scored with a free kick late in the game?
No, I think — I still struggle to find answers because we have the opportunities. Again, the statistics, they showed up, goal expected is 2.7, visitors 1.8. I think we have enough opportunities to be ahead in the scoreboard, but we were not.
Obviously it’s no question, right. When I say is no — I don’t have answers; I do have answers. We are not a team that is really built to capitalize or have players that they score a lot of goals, and when we look at the goals that we scored this season, it’s very well spread out with our players. I mention already that in our previous press conference with maybe also the top scorer, but we have a lot of players with three goals. That means with we don’t really have goal scorers. We have a team that collectively we enjoy playing and we have the possession, we are a possession-based team but we don’t have players that they can capitalize with a lot of goals. That’s the answer, really, to the question.
But I think — I think we have the ability to move the ball quick. We have the ability to have the control of the game. And I think this is an appealing part of the game, too. I would like to have more players, they can find double-digits scoring goals. That would be helpful for the team. I think the way we have to go is finding that collective effort to score goals — goal-scoring opportunities, and again, I think to know we have the chances. We just struggled to capitalize.
Q. Just listening to you, it sounds like you’re disappointed by this point. Would that be fair to say that you’re a little bit disappointed by this result and that you’re not coming way with more here?
No, I’m not disappointed. I think it would be ungrateful to be disappointed, because we didn’t have any points all the way up till the 90-minute plus, almost four, right. I think we have to be very grateful that we got a point out of this game. We were very close to be empty-handed. So the only thing I’m saying is that we did all the right things to — and we were the better team statistically to get away with three points.
Somehow we didn’t capitalize, we don’t score the goals. But I think it would be unfair to be unhappy or to be — I think it would be being ungrateful for that point that I think tonight, it was well-deserved because the players, they gave everything and they played really well.
Q. We haven’t seen Michael Bradley play at center back a whole lot. I asked you a question earlier this week about the back three last match, it’s very much the same here with Michael. Was this a necessity they played at center back or was that something you wanted to try out?
It was both things. It was a necessity, and it was something that I had in mind. I think that proves that when Michael needs to step up for the team, does it, and tonight he showed up again. He came up big doing a great job as a center back.
I think that’s an example right there for the rest of the team and for everybody else. He inspires us in a way that he played tonight, and he embraced the role.
Q. In the past you’ve talked about how hard Jozy has worked in training to get back. Tonight we got the pay off and we got to see Jozy the way we used to see him, causing havoc, creating scoring chances and then delivering the final blow. Can you just talk a little bit about his performance and his fight really to get back on the pitch given everything that’s happened to him this year?
Yes, I think I mentioned already that every time I was even coming here to the stadium, seeing him in the training facility, working by himself, it’s difficult for me because I know how emotional and how much he wants to succeed and to help the club.
But at the same time, when I come here to the games and I see that he’s working really hard, and tonight, I think it was paying off for him. I think it was really a relief. It was a great relief to see that finally he can come, help the team, being part of the group. I think it paid off all the effort that he made.
Now we have to keep building up on that. I think his quality is undeniable. His quality is right there, and I think he can be the player that he was before. Again, I think it’s been a really difficult year for him, being out with a lot of rhythm that has been cut out of his training or his games. When I first was in charge, I thought he was going to come back. Then he got the injury, and he’s been out for a long time.
So hopefully now, the team that it starts to look like a team, we can fight together for this last stretch of the season, and we can get a title and we can add up some points in the table.
JOZY ALTIDORE – FORWARD, TORONTO FC
Q. It’s been a long, difficult season for both you and the team. I’m just wondering, how good did that goal feel tonight?
It felt great to score again. Especially against Montréal, who is always an added bonus with the rivalry. So it was great to see the people that came out tonight behind the goal, to see them out there even with the season we had, knowing obviously it’s an important game, that was special. To have that moment with them and just talk with them a bit, and manage to come out with a result tonight, not many positives, but it was a positive.
Q. Can you just sort of break down the goal a little bit? Pantemis came up with some pretty big saves on you. Was he cheating off his line? How did you bend it over the free kick? Can you give us some insight?
No, I just tried to hit the target. It was a good distance to go around the wall or up and over the wall. I just figured I’d try to go around that. Haven’t tried that in a while, so said, let me try to go around with a little bit of power and caught him by surprise. I’m happy it worked out, and like I said, I’m happy we were able to get a result, a somewhat positive result.
Q. Obviously you’re happy to get the goal. How happy does it make you to maybe put a serious dent in their playoff aspirations?
Oh, that was obviously a plus. You know, we don’t have much to play for with the season winding down aside from the Canadian championship, so obviously we are aware that they are pushing for a playoff spot. You want to be respectful to everybody else who are competing and trying to make the playoffs. Obviously whether it was Montréal, doesn’t matter who it was, we were going to try to give our best, especially at home but obviously it feels a bit sweeter when you slow Montréal down a bit. That never gets old.
Q. I know you’re a big supporter of a lot of the young guys on this team, and what have your thoughts been on seeing guys like Jahkeele and Noble and Jayden all getting chances?
Yeah, I’m very happy. It’s something to be said because, you know, Jahkeele, when I came here, I used to see him at some of the camps. He was a little guy, and to see him now getting meaningful minutes, to see him locked in improving every day, it brings me so much joy because a lot of these guys were is he very young when I arrived, and to see them making a difference and playing important minutes, it’s just as rewarding as winning a trophy.
To see Noble today in a different role in a tough game, I thought he was fantastic. Never looked phased. Was in control throughout the 90 minutes and then Jacob, we all know he’s been great throughout this season, and Jahkeele now emerging. We have some very, very good young players that have to continue working, but the talent is there. To see Jayden Nelson come on and be full of energy, pushing the game, trying to help us get that goal, like I tell you, it means so much because we spent a lot of time with these guys over the years, and to see them now playing and getting important minutes, it means the world. Hopefully it’s something to build on and they can keep improving as the season goes on and into next season.
Q. You guys launched wave after wave of attack the last few minutes. Was there any sense at all that the goal might come as long as you kept playing hard?
Yeah, I mean, myself, I think I got robbed the first one. I didn’t — I was surprised as how open I was and he made a good point-blank save, and I just wasn’t — I don’t have that game sharpness, normally a couple of chances, even the second one I should just pass in the goal.
I think it’s kind of the story of the season. We’ve never quite lifted off fully as a group. You know, certain guys in, certain guys out. It’s been the story of our year.
But the quality is there, and I think you saw that, and to be able to repeat attacks like you said. Look, we have to take the positives away, and we put a team, a good team that’s fighting for the playoffs on the road.
Q. It’s been a hectic schedule recently and the club has been cautious with you and the other players in terms of minutes, bringing you on off the bench. You talked about game sharpness just now. How do you feel in terms of your game and your fitness at this stage?
To be honest, I feel the best I’ve felt in a long time. You know, I kind of paid the price playing with some injuries, with some broken bones here and there. Eventually, they catch up to you, but to be able to have the surgery and my foot is starting to feel much much better, just to be able to run and not feel pain is a huge boon. So I’m excited about that and I’m taking it day-by-day, but I feel so much better now finally, and I just want to play.
I just want to play. I missed the game. I’m just disappointed about how this year has gone, and you know, I’ll be the first guy to tell you it’s disappointing. But nobody is running away from anything. We take all the criticism on the chin and rightly so, but you know, there’s more here. I’m a firm believer in that. People will come up with their pitchforks but that’s part of the business. I just feel better, man. Like I told you, to run and move around without pain, it just feels amazing, because it’s been awhile. I’m just very, very happy and I just thank God for that.
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