Toronto FC squandered a late two-goal lead at Houston Wednesday night, but the struggling side will take any points it can get.
The Reds jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first half, and looked to be cruising to a well-earned road victory until the wheels fell off defensively and Houston pulled back on level terms thanks to a pair of late Will Bruin goals, including a crushing 90th-minute strike.
At the back end of the pitch, it was the same old story, but the Reds will take what they can get this season.
“We are still at the bottom, but I think when we get back to the hotel, we can think ‘at least we got a point on the road,’" striker Danny Koevermans said after the match. "When you lose it at the last minute, though, you are disappointed. I hope this is a start of a new era to get some points in this league.”
Koevermans was instrumental in helping his side jump out to an unlikely offensive outburst, tallying a pair of goals in the opening 45 minutes of play. However, the big Dutchman would have gladly stayed off the scoresheet if it meant his team grabbed the win.
"For me, personally, I would rather not have scored and have gotten the three points,” he said. “Houston on the road is a difficult team. Last year, they were the [Eastern Conference] champions and they have a great team. They showed it last season and they show it again this season. We get a point, but of course we are disappointed because they scored in the last minute.”
TFC head coach Paul Mariner wasn't as hard on his team as Koevermans, instead choosing to focus on the positive of grabbing a road draw in tough circumstances on a sweltering Texas night.
“We knew it would be difficult in the second half, but I’m so proud of the lads and I thought they put in a fantastic performance," Mariner said. "A point away from home against Houston is a fantastic point.”
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The new boss pointed to the lack of options on the Toronto bench - three TFC players were sent home after being charged with public intoxication early Monday morning, which compounded an injury bug currently making its way through the TFC defence - and the relative inexperience of his back line as primary reasons for the late game collapse.
“If you look at the team and what we have, we have got some very young players, especially in our back four," Mariner explained. "Learning your trade on the job and being in the starting eleven in Major League Soccer is hard. I thought they did well and we came away with a very good point.”