The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
There's always next year? Toronto FC eliminated, again, from post-season contention
HARRISON, N.J. - By their own admission, Toronto FC is laying the foundation for the future.
Because there isn't anything worth salvaging in the present.
"Portland was in the same situation last year and it can change so quickly," Bright Dike said after Toronto FC dropped a 2-0 decision to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night.
"It is such a thin line between good and great, being at the bottom and being at the top."
Following their seventh straight loss, Toronto (4-14-11) was eliminated from post-season contention with the loss with five games remaining. Only D.C. United (3-19-6) has a worse record in all of Major League Soccer.
Despite the loss, head coach Ryan Nelsen reiterated the organization's belief that the future will portend success.
"Next year, there'll be a couple (designated players). There'll be a couple of our players who are playing, they'll have the same organization," Nelsen said. "We play against these teams with better opportunities every single week."
New York (14-9-6), which took over sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference, had more shot attempts (15-8) and more shots on goal (6-2) while being led by their stars.
Thierry Henry opened the scoring in the 32nd minute by tapping Dax McCarty's centring feed into a half-empty net for his ninth goal of the season and the 40th of his MLS career. Fabian Espindola's header in the 80th increased New York's lead to 2-0 in front of 17,236 at Red Bull Arena.
"Thierry's goals the last two weeks (are) the product of everybody behind him," New York head coach Mike Petke said. "The quality that he has of course at the end of it. It is great to have him scoring two weeks in a row but I'm equally as pleased with what he's doing aside from the goal. If you saw him tonight, Thierry Henry sprinting back 40 yards four or five different times into our end to defend, it's phenomenal."
New York has won three straight following a much ballyhooed confrontation between Henry and Petke at practice on Aug. 29. The Red Bulls have outscored opponents 8-2 over the course of the winning streak.
"I've seen an improvement in the overall attitude of this team, in the overall understanding I guess you could say. The willingness to jump on board — everybody I'm talking about," Petke said.
Jeremy Hall and Justin Braun had Toronto FC's only shots on goal, both of which Luis Robles stopped in recording his ninth shutout of the season. Joe Bendik stopped 4-of-6 shots for Toronto FC.
Tempers boiled over in 77th minute after Kosuke Kimura was inadvertently kicked in the head by Toronto midfielder Jonathan Osorio. As Kimura cut toward the middle of the field, he tripped and fell at the same time Osorio attempted to play the ball. Players on both sides came together with McCarty and defender Gale Agbossoumonde having to be separated.
"It wasn't intentional," Osorio said. "They knew that, too. He was coming hard and I was mid-swing as he was falling. So unfortunately I hit him in his head. But he was OK and I said I was sorry. He said don't worry about it, it happens. He knew it happens.
"Their teammates are there to help their teammates, even though they knew it wasn't intentional. It got them fired up and got everybody fired up. That's just competitive nature."