In eerily similar fashion to many games in 2012, TFC let a late lead slip away in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday. Head coach Ryan Nelsen took it as a learning experience.TORONTO -- The result itself was all-too-familiar for Toronto FC fans, but head coach Ryan Nelsen said that his club's 2-2 draw with Los Angeles, secured via a stoppage time stunner by Jose the Galaxy's Villarreal, was not an indication that things have remained the same at BMO Field.
"I don't even think about what happened last year," Nelsen told reporters following the match on Saturday. "Late goals happen. It's not an indictment of this team."
The Kiwi coach was not having any suggestion that TFC has yet to shake the late-game curse that saw the club drop countless points in the final stages of games last year. Instead, he chose to focus on the positive play that allowed the Reds to push the reigning two-time MLS Cup champion to the brink.
"Would you have taken a draw at the start of the game?" Nelsen asked. "You probably would have. Yes, we're all disappointed, we're very disappointed that we didn't walk away with three [points]and we could have, but we move on. We take the point.
"I have to look at the bigger picture, and the bigger picture is that the MLS champions came here and we did extremely well. We've got one point and we move on."
Toronto's fortunes were turned around significantly by the insertion of Luis Silva and Jonathan Osorio in the second half. The two young substitutes provided a spark in the middle of the field that was lacking for much of the game, and they eventually combined for one of the prettier goals that TFC fans have ever seen.
"Both of them provided some energy and they're very good players," Nelsen said of the midfield duo. "They're very creative and distinctive, they can handle the pressure, and they played their part very well."
Osorio finished off an attack started by red-hot forward Robert Earnshaw, whose nifty backheel sprang Silva down the left flank. The second-year player took on the Galaxy's Omar Gonzalez at the top of the box, and after beating the U.S. national team defender with some dazzling footwork, he sent in a low cross that Osorio did well to touch past L.A. goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.
For the rookie Osorio, a Toronto-area native who counts himself a fan of TFC, getting his first MLS goal in front of his home crowd was a special moment.
"It gives me goosebumps," Osorio said of scoring in front of his hometown supporters. "Just last year I was a fan so it's just amazing that I can give something back to them like this."
"These people are like me," he continued. "I know what it is to be a Torontonian, and I know that these people here have so much heart and they back up their team no matter what.
"To work for them is really easy, I don't need [anything] to motivate me, they motivate me enough."
Like his coach and the rest of the team, the 20-year-old Canadian was full of mixed emotions on the day, as he would have liked TFC to grab all three points to go along with his goal.
"I'm very happy for the goal, the first one's always the hardest," Osorio said. "I'm happy to get it out of the way but I think I'm more disappointed for the end result.
"I think we could have won this game, and unfortunately we came out with a tie."