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Toronto FC’s Ryan Nelsen puts his finger on it: “We are just too soft and we have to be hard”

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MAY 9, 2013, STEVE BOTTJER, MLSSOCCER.COM

During a run of performances in which Toronto FC has frustrated its supporters with an almost incomprehensible propensity to give up late goals, head coach Ryan Nelsen has staunchly emphasized the positives while pointing to a combination of bad luck, inexperience and simply not seeing any bounces going his team’s way as the main reasons for his squad’s struggles at the end of matches.

Following his team’s latest defeat, Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at San Jose courtesy of an 81st-minute Chris Wondolowski goal, Nelsen finally changed his tune. This time, he sounded very much like a manager who is now closer to losing patience with his players.

“I think we were playing really well. They defended the box, were confident on the ball, got the goal and were looking very comfortable. Then [we] switched off on a throw in during the second half. It was just an unbelievably soft goal, but we have been doing that all season,” Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com.

“I don’t think an opposition team has earned a goal against us yet. It has just been cases of us switching off and they just walk it though into the back of the net.”

While not completely discounting the good things his team has done and the overall progress that has been made with his squad, Nelsen was candid in expressing his belief that Toronto have been their own worst enemies through the first 10 games of their 2013 campaign.

“We haven’t had a clean sheet yet. No team has played through us or broken through us or stretched us or won any one on ones or scored from outside the box,” Nelsen said. “We are just too soft and we have to be hard. We have to change that and we will change that. We’re bringing in players who will know how to defend and who will have the confidence to get on the ball when the pressure is on.”

With TFC now heading into a bye week and not scheduled to play again until they face off against the Columbus Crew at home on May 18th, Nelsen was adamant that there wouldn’t be any days off for a team that hasn’t earned them.

“We’re only 10 games into the season, so if they need a mental break, they are probably in the wrong profession,” Nelsen added. “We’ll be straight back to work and, again, we will try to get better.”

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