Nelsen: 'Soft goals' and 'critical calls' define latest TFC loss

A sloppy affair saw two coaches and a player ejected for Toronto FC in a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City.
TORONTO -- It was a miserable day in all respects for Toronto FC.

The Reds fell 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday in a game that featured a driving rainstorm, record-low attendance, controversial officiating, and some comical defending from both sides.

All of that added up to a pretty predictable day at the office for TFC, said coach Ryan Nelsen.

"It was one of those game that it wasn't going to be a 'performance' game... atrocious conditions," Nelsen told reporters after the match. "It was a game where it was going to be a 'mistake' game, to tell you the truth. Whoever turns it over and whoever makes the most mistakes is probably going to lose the game.
"Unfortunately we gave away two soft goals, really soft goals."

Both of Kansas City's strikes came from the head of CJ Sapong, who had only scored twice in 2013 leading up to Saturday's match. In both instances, the Sporting attacker took advantage of some poor defending by TFC to find himself with a free header at Joe Bendik's net from inside the penalty area.

To Toronto's credit, the home side went toe-to-toe with the top team in MLS' Eastern Conference, and, according to Nelsen, probably should have seen some game changing calls go its way.

"The referee had a tough time, but I think he'll reflect and look back and [realize that] Toronto FC were literally on the wrong equation on all of the calls -- critical calls."

Among the controversial decisions made by second-year referee Allen Chapman was allowing Sporting's Aurelien Collin to elbow a surging Alvaro Rey to the head without showing the defender a second yellow card.

Nelsen said he was puzzled by Chapman's reasoning for allowing Colin to remain on the field.

"[Collin] elbowed Alvaro Rey in the face," Nelsen said "Then [Chapman's] explanation was that he elbowed him in the face, but it wasn’t a reckless elbow to the face.”

Despite being ejected from the game (along with assistant coach Fran O'Leary and captain Steven Caldwell, who was shown a red card for a studs-up challenge in the 86th minute), Nelsen didn't want to place all the blame on the officials, as he reiterated that both teams had to play under the same conditions.

However, he did feel that the officiating was a major factor in the result.

"Again it was a tough game in those conditions for everybody, including the referee and the linesmen," Nelsen said. "He's got to make these judgment calls, but Toronto was on the wrong end."