TFC's Johnson vents frustration at record-breaking futility

TORONTO – Ryan Johnson is not happy.

Toronto FC have earned a dubious place in league history with their record eighth loss in a row to open the season after Saturday’s 2-0 loss to D.C. United. The game also cost them team captain Torsten Frings to a shoulder injury in the second half, the extent of which is not yet known.

But for Johnson, it’s the way the Reds played that has him seething.

“There’s a lot of things going on that I’m not happy with,” Johnson said. “In the game, I felt that we were too defensive, too negative. Just like the Montreal game.”

Toronto drew 0-0 on Wednesday against the Montreal Impact in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals.

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“After the Montreal game, even though we got the clean sheet, I left that game sick to my stomach,” the Jamaican international said. “I didn’t want to play like that ever again. And we started doing that again today. I just didn’t understand why when we’re at home, we’re letting other teams do that to us.”

Toronto’s game plan going into Saturday evolved around “keeping the zero,” that is, keeping a clean sheet. For good portions of the match, they held United at bay, allowing only nine shots and three on goal.

But TFC were unable to generate many good chances of their own.

After the match, Johnson sat on the floor of the gymnasium at BMO Field, his head hung down.

“For me it’s unbearable,” the forward said. “It’s hard to let teams do this to us in our own home, especially how the season has been going. You’d think we’d at least wear our hearts on our sleeves and try to give our best effort.”

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He feels the game plan didn’t allow that happen.

“I think we’re allowing teams to do what they want and giving too much respect to other teams and other players,” Johnson said. “The teams in MLS are so equal it’s just the smallest things that are the difference between winning and losing and tying.

“If we take a lot of those things away, we’re not going to win and that’s what’s been going on. We’ve been allowing teams to do those things to us for too long now and I don’t know what has to change but something has to.”

For Johnson, it is not a feeling that has just surfaced. It has been around for many weeks now. And it is really wearing on him and others.

“It’s not easy to deal with what’s going on here,” he said, admitting that something major could occur to shake up the club. “Whatever happens, happens. But, I’m not going to change in my effort and my fight that I give for the people that come out and pay their money to watch us play. It’s disgraceful to allow other teams to come into our home and do this to us.”

He said he did not want to point fingers at head coach Aron Winter.

“I don’t know what to say,” Johnson said. “He’s a good person, He’s a good man. Both coaches are good people. I have nothing bad to say about them. They’re good guys. But we can’t go on like this.”