post-match quotes - 09.27.20

POST-MATCH QUOTES | Toronto FC 3 - 1 Columbus Crew SC | Sept. 27, 2020

Head Coach Caleb Porter

Opening statement

Obviously a very disappointing result. Humbling in a lot of ways. I think what's the most disappointing is how well we played first half, and then how poor we played the second half. And I don't know what changed -- we certainly didn't change anything tactically. Obviously, Toronto [FC] deserved a lot of credit. They raised the level on the second half. They're very good team and they have very good players. Unfortunately, when they raised their level, we didn't cope. We didn't play through their pressure and we kept giving the ball away and then we're in a cycle of just being back-foot, low-block and that was definitely not the plan. I think that first goal, we didn't work ourselves out of it after the first goal and then it was a second and then it was a third and it was a very disappointing half… We have to keep it in perspective. We're all very disappointed. None of us are happy about it, obviously; we're extremely frustrated about it, but we have to learn from it. We have to correct it, and we have to make sure it doesn't happen again because that wasn't us in the second half. I think the thing that I don't understand is how we can play so well one half and execute and have a good mentality to keep the ball and do all the things we've been doing. Then all of a sudden, we didn't do any of those things in the second half. I'm confident that we'll respond and we'll learn from it, but we're all humbled right now tonight after the way the game went.

On team’s mentality heading into tonight’s match and moving forward

It's important again to keep it in perspective and I think I have to take some time to watch the game again, watch the second half again, see what they [Toronto FC] did. I know they raised their level and they definitely pressed higher, and we just didn't seem ready for it, you know, and we never adjusted. We got caught on the ball and then we got too deep and it didn't look like us. In the first half, it was the complete opposite. It's one of those where when a really good team with really good players raises their level, if you don't manage it, that's what happens, and that's exactly what happened. In these situations, I've always found it … it can be used as a good thing. Even though, right now, we're extremely disappointed to give up three goals and after being up a goal on the road against a very good team, it's hard not to think “what if” you would have won the game, but it didn't happen. We have to rest and recover. We've got three days to prepare for [FC] Dallas, and we have to use [tonight's match] as more of a stepping stone, not a stumbling block. It can't rattle us, it can't get us now overthinking things, we can't overreact. But we definitely need to improve through this, because if we want to do what we want to do, we have to beat teams like Toronto. In good teams, you're going to see a response, they're going to raise their level -- and you have to be able to cope with that.

On frustration of not being able to pinpoint second-half of the match

Yeah, because I believe in the group, I believe in my players. We have a very good team. That didn't change on one bad half. Sometimes in football, you have a bad half. Sometimes you're playing a really good team that, like I said, raises their level and we just don't cope with it. Sometimes you do, you get tired, mentally and physically. Obviously in the center of the park we got some young guys in there. So there's going to be some mistakes there and we're not going to be quite as strong in there with and without the ball. Those are factors. Yeah, of course I always want to have answers, I always want to solve everything, I want to have the right things to always say and I think this is one where we just had a bad half… we had a bad half.

Goalkeeper Eloy Room

On his line of sight prior to Toronto FC’s second goal

Yeah, the second goal I moved with the ball, and he shot the ball and I didn’t see the ball coming. As a goalkeeper, you have to react on the ball and if don’t have a clear vision on the ball, then it’s hard to react. It was a difficult ball. I think as a team, we were more on our back foot, so we have to learn from it. I have to see the clips back to see what we have to do better, but yeah, it was a difficult ball.

On how the team can regroup from Sunday’s result

Yeah, of course, if I can play a game now, I want to play another game. But we have to reflect on this game and also, mentally, we have to prepare and also look in the mirror. Everyone has to look in the mirror, what they have done this game. Sometimes this is good for the team and it’s a lesson. This was a tough team to play against. If we want to raise the level, we have to compete with this team, so I think the first half we showed it and the second half we didn’t show it. It’s a learning process. It’s the first half that we didn’t play well so we have to learn from it and move on. We don’t have to make it a big deal because we’ve played really good games this season, even in the first half we played really good. So I think we have to learn from it and mentally be ready for the next one and bounce back and show everyone we can compete with the top.

Defender Jonathan Mensah

On the lessons learned from Sunday’s result

I think coming into this game we knew it was going to be tough because Toronto has proven they are one of the best in the League. They’ve won a couple of silverwares and all that. So, coming into this game we were up for it, we were ready for it; but honestly speaking, we stopped playing. In the second half, we didn’t stick to the game plan, we weren’t aggressive enough, and they just played through the middle of the pack. We just let them have it easily than they give us the chance. So, we will learn from this and come back stronger in the next game.

On the defensive mistakes leading up to Toronto’s first two goals

I haven’t watched the film yet. Obviously, I played in the game. I think we were too passive in the middle. We let them have shots because they go wide but we know they want to come to the middle. So, as they go wide, we need to close, we need to be compact in the middle, but then we opened the middle up for them. We need to watch film, we need to be better and show that we can do better than we did in the second half. So, this is a collective loss. Obviously, it’s tough, but individually, we need to raise it also. Being the captain, I need to do better because the whole season, we’ve given up just five goals, so we cannot give up three goals in just one half. We will go back to the training grounds and do better.

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