TORONTO — There are times when even a scoreless draw at home can feel good and when shooting blanks gets you something, even if it is just one point.
Toronto FC lacked the final touch in a scoreless draw against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, but they didn’t give away any goals either. That was enough for Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who picked the ball out of his own net more times that he would have liked during TFC's 6-2 loss to the Philadelphia Union last weekend.
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“I thought it was it was very good,” Frei said. “Obviously it’s not the three points we wanted, but the biggest disappointment from last week was that the work rate wasn’t there.”
There wasn’t much creativity by either side up front Saturday, but considering that TFC picked up their third shutout of the season on the heels of their worst defensive collapse, not all was lost.
“I think we can hold up our heads high,” Frei said. “It was a good performance compared with last week. All the things we wanted to see improved, I think we did. Now we just need a little bit of luck, a little creativity up top to finish our chances and maybe create more chances.”
The week of contrasts starts with the basics for Frei.
“It starts with fundamentals,” Frei said. “Just the work ethic and pride out there. If you bring that every game, people are still going to have bad games, but you’re going to have end results.”
Toronto are still learning to deal with life without center back Adrian Cann, who is lost for the season with a torn ACL suffered in training last Tuesday. Cann — who was perhaps the Reds' best defensive player this season before his year ended abruptly — was replaced by Nana Attakora on Saturday.
Attakora, for his part, played well in the starting role and did a good job on Sporting forward Teal Bunbury. He did, however, go down with a quadriceps injury in the waning moments of the game, and the severity of the injury won’t be known until Sunday. He struggled when he tried to get on the stationary bicycle in the gym for post game cool-down.
Can a draw against the team with the worst record in the league be a starting point for something better? Frei thinks so.
“We have some guys who were injured coming back soon,” Frei said. “I think especially after that game last week it’s good to come back and have this, although it’s not three points. It’s a point but we had solid work ethic defensively as a team. We have to look at the positives and build from that.”