Portland captain Johnson injured in loss
Sep. 27, 2014
TORONTO (AP) — Portland captain Will Johnson broke his right fibula and tibia in a collision in the first minute of the Timbers' 3-2 loss to Toronto FC on Sunday.
The Canadian international was hurt when he went shin-on-shin in a 50-50 challenge with Toronto fullback Mark Bloom that saw both players slide to get at the ball.
"I didn't get a great view. Not sure if I'll watch it again," Portland coach Caleb Porter said. "It was a tackle. Two guys went in and he got the wrong end of it. It was unfortunate and tough, but I was really pleased with the way the guys responded. Sometimes you lose your captain and it sends your group into a funk, but I thought we responded really well."
Bloom also went down in the collision with the Toronto-born Johnson, but was able to continue.
"For me it was just a matter of getting up and walking it off," Bloom said. "Unfortunately, for him, it was more intense."
There was no call on the play.
"They both went down just a little bit late for me," Toronto coach Greg Vanney said. "And what happens is there's so much force into the challenge when guys go down a little bit late. Neither guy was going after each other. The ball was just there and they were both going for it. It's a matter of inches and millimeters, one guy getting a broken leg and one guy being able to walk away. It's a sad moment."
Michael Bradley scored in the 89th minute to complete Toronto FC's three-goal, second-half comeback.
Bradley played youth soccer with Johnson in Chicago and the two have been teammates in Europe. They were in each other's weddings.
"As a player and as a competitor you hate to see anybody get hurt. But when it's one of your closest friends it's not nice at all," Bradley said. "They both went in very hard. On the one hand you expected that they were both going to pop right up and on the other hand that play had a harder tone to it.
"If you were close to it, you could hear — the way they crashed into each other — you kind of knew that that was a hard one. I thought the medical staff and everybody did a good job. More than anything, at that moment, you're just trying to let him know you're there for him and make sure he's as calm and comfortable as possible."
Rookie defender Nick Hagglund scored twice to set the stage for Bradley, whose curling free kick went through a mass of players and into the goal without being touched.
"These are the kind of days that can change seasons," Bradley said. "We know there's still a lot we can improve on. We still need to be better. We're still right in the thick of it. But if you use these kind of afternoons in the right way, they can give you a real boost."
Fanendo Adi scored for Portland (9-9-12), and the Timbers got an own goal from Toronto captain Steven Caldwell.
Toronto improved to 11-11-7, surpassing the club mark for victories (10) and points (39) set at 10-11-9 in 2009.