Post-match quotes: Crew vs. Toronto FC

Gregg Berhalter

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USA Today Sports Images

COLUMBUS CREW SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER

On difference of play in halves:

I think for the most part they were playing off of the counter in the first half. They were waiting for us to give the ball away. They did a good job of that. We had control of the game and we ended up going one to nothing down and we have to fight to get back into the game. I think it’s difficult when you put yourself in that position over and over again to come back into the game. We showed the spirit to do it twice but came up short the third time.

On how Toronto was able to win:

They defend well in the box. They defend crosses well. We had 23 crosses tonight and they did a good job on that. They counter well. Those components gave us trouble in all three games. They are a team that we have trouble against.

On the Kirk Urso Memorial Night

I think it’s great that we remember one of our own. He was here a short time but he made a huge impact on people. We spoke about it this week with the media and playing in a game like this and organizing something like this is special.

On the amount of crosses:

I think we had some decent moves it is about finishing them off. There were some situations that we got in good spots and its guys that we talked about before wanting to make the play. Instead of passing the ball, shoot it. Like Justin’s [Meram] goal. Good things happen when we get aggressive I think we missed that a little bit.

On playing against Dominic Oduro:

Obviously, we expected him to play. Dom is a good guy and we had a good relationship. I think he’s in a perfect system for him. He waits out on that right side and waits for the ball in transition. He’s dangerous in transition. He had a chance to score and I think he’s in a great place.

On the second half performance:

We addressed some things at halftime that we thought that gave us trouble. Right in the second half, we went back to doing some of the same things. Guys need to be accountable. If you address something and you talk about for us to make that mistake so early in the second half, we lacked accountability. We had a number of guys that had subpar performances and you have to question why were not able to perform up to their standards. It’s disappointing because you get to a point that you can start attacking and making some movement in the table and to have four or five guys to have subpar performances is disappointing.

On offense and goal scoring opportunities:

I don’t care how goals come. A goal is a goal. At the end of the day, 10 years from now you’re not going to say a penalty kick and a cross shot. I thought that we created other good opportunities especially in the first half. We had some good moves that we were in front of goal that we could make something happen and this is a very good defensive team, Toronto.

COLUMBUS CREW MIDFIELDER JUSTIN MERAM

On the highs and lows tonight:

You get the equalizer and it is zero, zero again. They scored in the 85-86th minute, what can you do? You go down twice and come back twice and if you go down a third time I don't know if you can come back from that.

On playing for Kirk Urso:

Playing for Kirk was something special and you never forget these moments. Scoring that goal, of course I'm going to kiss that arm band with his initials. Everyone who scores I’m sure for them, you score for Kirk. We love their family. It was so good to see his father and his brother here. No matter the result, we played for Kirk and we will always remember him.

COLUMBUS CREW DEFENDER ERIC GEHRIG

On postgame feelings:

Especially in that second half when we had them pinned back. The first 20 minutes of the second half, I was talking to the guys and it wasn't like us. We weren't doing anything to make us successful. As far as knocking around and side to side and making Toronto work we would have been fine. Their chances came off of our turnovers and corner kicks. It was a little disheartening, but that is going to happen. It is about watching the film and learning. When the game gets flustered like that, we have to make sure we pull back on the reins and say guys we know what system to play and what makes us successful so let’s get back to that. Like I said, that stuff happens and hopefully we can move on and look in the eye of the next one.

On addressing the problems:

That is a good question. Second half we talked about no straight balls.  What I mean by that is, you know, we play angle passes and that is what makes us good. When you play straight balls it’s tough to turn it and take the ball on a turn. I think we did that a little too much tonight and that is one of the things we addressed at halftime because that is what we were getting in trouble during the first half.

On his new position tonight at rightback:

It felt good. I don't think that it is much of a transition. Obviously, the fitness is different but I like to be on the ball and cross it. I thought overall it was a pretty good effort. I think the more I play the more comfortable I will get and if that is the position Coach wants to play me, I’ll gladly play.

TORONTO FC HEAD COACH RYAN NELSEN

On tonight’s gritty performance:

It was a very gritty game. I thought in the first half we created many opportunities to put the game away. The penalty gave them a big boost, especially the timing of it. We knew they were going to come out reinvigorated by it. We got the goal and then they still didn’t create much. They are a really good team. Columbus is a really well coached team and they play a nice brand of soccer. Gregg has done a really good job with them. The third goal was a just reward when you look at the overall game and chances created.

On Dominic Oduro’s performance:

Dom got a knock really early. He felt it for the whole game. It probably put him a bit out of sync. The Columbus guys probably know Dom better than we do. He soldiered on and really put on a good performance. Obviously, he is disappointed he didn’t, but a lot of the guys have done really well.

On Toronto FC’s road performance recently:

The way we play, we are pretty dynamic and exciting.  Some of the football that was played home and away, it doesn’t really matter. We are missing a few pretty important pieces, but it shows you now that we have a bit of depth. We can win in any place, including Columbus, which is a difficult place to play. We haven’t had very much success here. It’s very pleasing to win two games here.

On Nick Hagglund’s performance:

You wouldn’t think Nick is a rookie out there. He is an extremely good athlete. He is still learning the game. He still has so much growth and room to get better, which is very exciting as he develops as a young professional

On defeating Columbus:

We just want to try and evolve as a team. Every day, every week, we are trying to improve the team. We know we aren’t at the end product yet. We are still looking to always improve the team. If you saw us in the start, you have seen a really nice improvement. We always want to try and get better and better, but there is still a lot we need to work on.

TORONTO FC MIDFIELDER DOMINIC ODURO

On early challenge by Waylon Francis:

Yeah it was kind of right on the ankle. It hurts a little bit. Whether he was trying to do it or not, I’m guessing he was trying to make a play. It was unfortunate. Overall, we played well. We got three points on the road. Any time you get three points on the road it’s a good time. That’s how I’m going to look at it. I’m not going to look at it as my former team. That has nothing to do with this game. It’s about getting three points on the road and that’s what we did.

On not scoring a goal:

I just wanted to make plays. That’s about it. I wasn’t focused solely on the scoring. I was just trying to have a good game and that’s what I did. It’s over. We got the points. It wasn’t pretty, but we still played good.

On what the team is doing right:

We are very compact offensively. We got guys going for it. That’s really good. That’s one thing positive that’s going for us. We always see if we can keep a clean sheet. We should win games. We did great today.

TORONTO FC MIDFIELDER MICHAEL BRADLEY

On Gilberto scoring a goal:

We never for a second lost faith in him [Gilberto]. I know at times the media can be a little different. I know, especially for forwards, how important it is just to get goals. Even on days when he doesn’t score his contribution is so important. Together with Luke Moore, they were such a handful tonight and really did such a good job making the game difficult for their defenders.

On withstanding Columbus’ momentum:

The mentality of this team is strong. It always has been. Now we are trying to take it to the next level. We need to be a little more consistent. We need to be a little bit more ruthless, a little bit more determined to walk off the field every week with points. I think if that part can come around, and I think it is, then we are going to have the chance to be a very good team in this league.