TORONTO_ The emotional strife that Toronto FC felt after the dismissal of both director of soccer Mo Johnston and coach Perki was stronger than expected.
Toronto came back home with a 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake in the CONCACAF Champions League Wednesday.
What seemed to be a good start for the visitors turned to be another bad night in the tournament.
Toronto’s forward Maicon Santos surprised the American team with an early goal after a long throw-in and took advantage of the lack of organization on the back lines. The 26-year-old received a pass right in front of the goalkeeper but was able to finish to put his team up 1-0 just nine minutes in.
Real Salt Lake didn’t take too long to recover as forward Kyle Beckerman took command of his troops and got them back on course.
The Maryland native scored the equalizer 12 minutes later when he converted a header off a corner kick.
Salt Lake continued putting on the pressure, and Toronto failed to adapt as they lost focus as the match progressed.
Jamison Olave added another goal for Salt Lake with a header of his own, this time off a free kick.
Olave appeared to be off-side, but referee Mauricio Morales allowed it to stand.
The Canadian team had some of the same bad luck from last game, where two men were red-carded. This time around, it was Spain’s Mista who got booted off the pitch, receiving a direct red card after clipping a player at midfield.
24 minutes into the second half, Morales called a penalty on Toronto, and Salt Lake’s Saborio took full advantage with a perfectly-placed shot.
In the 80th minute, Brazil’s Paulo made Toronto’s nightmare even worse when he scored the team’s fourth goal off a cross by Robbie Findley.
It was the second loss for Toronto in the tournament, dropping its first game to Arabe Unido.
Toronto will next face Cruz Azul from Mexico Tuesday, Sept 21 at 10 pm EST.
RSL coach Jason Kreis reacts to Toronto FC dismissals
Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis expressed his disagreement of the dismissal of both Toronto FC’s director of soccer Mo Johnston and coach Perki.
“Giving a coach less than a season is frankly, completely unfair,” Kreis said to MLS website. “I don’t even understand such decisions. (Former director of soccer Mo Johnston has) been there a long time, so if you feel like a big change or shakeup needs to be made, then fair enough. But to give (Preki) less than a full season to turn the team around is an impossibility.”
The clean-up caused quite the stir for the Canadian team right before the CONCACAF Champions League match against Real Salt Lake Wednesday.
This situation is very familiar for RSL coach since he experienced the same problem when he played for Dallas, where both Dave Dir and Mike Jeffries were relieved of their coaching duties.
“You got what you’d expect,” Kreis said. “You got an emotional group of players that felt they had a brand new opportunity to prove themselves in front of a brand new coach, in what could be a brand new system.”
Toronto signs Canadian Lindsay
Toronto FC announced on Wednesday through its website the hiring of Canadian forward Nicholas Lindsay as the last player to fill the roster.
“We are very happy to have Nicholas onboard and it’s a clear indication that our Academy staff is doing the right things with these athletes,” said interim director of soccer, Earl Cochrane to Toronto FC website.
“He has grown in every facet of the game in the last year and we are excited by the prospect of him training on a daily basis with the first team. In many ways Nicholas is the ideal MLS player; incredibly athletic, quick, strong, and confident and has a great head on his shoulders. I’m convinced he will be a big part of Toronto FC’s short and long-term future.”