Reds Rue Missed Chances
It was closer but still a defeat and yet another learning experience for Toronto FC.
The Reds lost 1-0 Wednesday to Santos Laguna in Torreon, Mexico, and were eliminated from the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League at the conclusion of the group stage.
Video: Richard Eckersley contrasts Wednesday's Santos game plan to the one in April.
It was the second time this year that TFC have been eliminated in the CCL by Santos at Torreon. On April 4, Toronto were defeated 6-2 after a nightmare second half to drop the 2011/12 semifinal 7-3 on aggregate.
"I think we have improved but you know again it's a loss," defender Richard Eckersley told Toronto FC TV after Wednesday's game. "We'll learn from it I think and we can only get better."
Eckersley felt that a change in tactics accounted for Toronto's improved performance the second time in Torreon, "At the start of the season, I think we went out with the wrong game plan and we started chasing them," he said, "whereas tonight we sat back and got them on the counter a little bit."
Toronto had their chances early in a game they had to win by more than two goals.
"If we put those chances away it might have been a different game," Eckersley said. "We were unlucky, too. I thought we worked hard but we ran out of gas a little bit in the second half and they got on top and they can hold the ball really well."
"We changed our system up a little bit and we were able to cause them some problems," midfielder Terry Dunfield said. "In football if you don't take your chances a lot of the times you are punished and it's unfortunate we weren't able to hold on."
Santos were stronger in the second half and got the win on a rocket shot by Herculez Gomez.
"There was always going to be a spell where we were on the back foot," Dunfield said. "We just about weathered it but unfortunately we got done by a great strike."
"It was a screamer and not too much we could with that goal," defender Ashtone Morgan said. "We came into this game really confident. It was their game to lose and I feel that in the first half we proved we were here for a game and they had to re-adjust in the second half and I guess for them it worked."