Missing another missed opportunity, Captain Dwayne De Rosario (far left) kneels on the pitch in frustration while teammate Maicon Santos (far right) hangs his head.
It’s all but over.
Toronto FC needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive but once again the Reds came up short losing 3-2 to the San Jose Earthquakes at BMO Field.
San Jose were led by Chris Wondolowski in an impressive performance as he scored a hat-trick, giving him 12 goals on the season, while Captain Dwayne De Rosario, also with his 12th of the season, and Maicon Santos replied for the Reds.
Coming into the match, Toronto was only five points behind both Seattle and San Jose for the final playoff spot. Seattle defeated Chicago 1-0 on Saturday and joined San Jose in vaulting over Colorado in the standings, meaning Toronto is seven points behind the Rapids in a quest for a post-season berth.
Despite the loss, the team isn’t ready to give up. As long as the Reds are still mathematically alive, the playoffs will remain the goal.
De Rosario (right) hustles around a fallen Earthquakes player.
“We’re still in it, technically we’re not out,” said goalkeeper Stefan Frei who made six saves in the loss. “If anybody in here would throw in the towel at this point then they shouldn’t be a part of this team because you got a fight until the very end and hopefully everybody is going to feel that way.”
Chad Barrett pointed out how his team would now need the help of other teams if they hope to make it to the playoffs.
“Well if we were going to drop points we didn’t want to drop points these next two games,” said Barrett. “We didn’t want to drop against San Jose and…Seattle because it’s a six point swing. That happened today and that’s kind of a real killer, a real beat down. We need Seattle and some other teams to really blow it and hopefully they do.”
Making his home coaching debut, Coach Nick Dasovic was proud of his team for fighting right to the very end but acknowledged his team’s slow start.
After being knocked down, Santos (centre) stares down the loose ball while being surrounded by Earthquake players.
“We started slowly,” said Dasovic. “The whole first half was a bit sluggish, I don’t know if it’s from the amount games we played and etcetera, but funny enough we looked a lot sharper in the second half. We kind of got a second wind and fought back to 2-1 and that third goal I think killed us a little bit.”
“Unfortunately, when we were chasing the game a bit, that’s when there are gaps that open up and they have got players that are capable. Credit to them, they took their chances and we didn’t, that’s the way it goes.”
While some fans were still rushing into find their seats, the Reds found themselves down 1-0 in the 3rd minute when the Earthquakes were awarded a penalty kick on a questionable call from referee Kevin Stott.
Dan Gargan was jostling for the ball with Bobby Convey and knocked down the Quake’s midfielder just inside the box. Convey clearly embellished the fall but the penalty kick was still awarded to San Jose and Wondolowski powered the ball into the top corner for his first goal of the game. Frei was able to get a hand to the ball but the kick was simply too powerful for the goalkeeper to make the save.
Despite the early goal and being outshot 5-1 in the first half, TFC were only down 1-0 at halftime. In the second half, goals were in abundance as both teams traded a pair of goals and made for an exciting finish in the final minutes of the match.
Toronto FC fans show their frustration towards MLSE for raising next year’s season ticket prices despite the team’s lack of success in 2010.
In the 53rd minute, the Earthquakes scored a great goal when five different players got a touch on the ball to pull ahead 2-0. After two quick passes in the midfield, Geovanni put a great ball ahead between two defenders to Ryan Johnson. Johnson then threaded a beautiful pass into the box for Wondolowski, who had no problem knocking the ball past a helpless Frei to finish a great tic-tac-toe passing play.
In the 66th minute, Captain Dwayne De Rosario is able to get his team back into the game when his shot from just inside the box floats into the far back corner of the net. The goal left the San Jose goalkeeper stunned and finally gave the crowd something to cheer about.
After the goal, the Reds seemed to lose their concentration as San Jose was able to restore their two goal lead less than a minute later. From just outside of the box, Wondolowski unleashed a shot that deflected off the chest of defender Raivis Hscanovics just enough to get past Frei to make it 3-1.
In the 79th minute, Toronto is able to close the gap once again with a pretty tic-tac-toe goal of their own. Substitute O’Brian White started the play when he played the ball ahead to Barrett, who quickly flicked the ball into the crease where Santos was able to tap the ball into the gaping net to make the score 3-2.
In the 86th minute, with the Reds pushing forward for the equalizer, a turnover lead to a 2-on-1 break for San Jose. In the end, Geovanni is robbed by Frei’s outstretched hand as the Earthquakes squander a great opportunity to seal the victory.
In the dying minutes, Toronto is able to put on a lot of pressure as they helmed the ball inside the San Jose end. In the 90th minute, White makes a great pass between two defenders ahead to Jacob Peterson who had an open look at goal, but his shot is fired high and wide of the goal.
For TFC it was once again a case of too little too late.
Toronto will now switch gears as they host Real Salt Lake on Tuesday night at 8pm for a critical group stage match in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Toronto FC (8-11-7): Stefan Frei, Adrian Cann, Nick Garcia, Ty Harden, Raivis Hscanovics (O’Brian White 72’), Julian de Guzman, Dwayne De Rosario, Dan Gargan (Mista 45’), Jacob Peterson, Chad Barrett, Maicon Santos
Subs not used: Jon Conway, Nana Attakora, Nick LaBrocca, Nicholas Lindsay, Maksim Usanov
San Jose Earthquakes (11-7-6): Jon Busch, Jason Hernandez, Chris Leitch, Brandon McDonald, Tim Ward, Bobby Convey (Joey Gjersten 87’), Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson (Brad Ring 73’), Chris Wondolowski, Geovanni (Scott Sealy 86’), Ryan Johnson
Subs not used: Brian Edwards, Arturo Alvarez, Bobby Burling, Cornell Glen