If last week was encouraging with a league win and a cup win, it's hard to feel that Wednesday's 5-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls was anything but discouraging for Toronto FC.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
The Red Bulls showed what savvy and confidence can do, two things that TFC are still trying to develop or acquire. Despite what the score line suggests, Toronto had chances but simply could not finish. The Red Bulls, on the other hand, were clinical.
TFC were thwarted on occasion by former Toronto 'keeper Greg Sutton or a post. Javier Martina forced a save and some woodwork on the same shot — immediately after which New York promptly marched down the field and made it 3-0.
It was not a pretty sight; a few steps back after a few forward last week. The new Designated Players cannot get into action soon enough, nor can any new additions to the back line that might be coming. And you can add to that the return of some of the injured. Toronto were just outclassed everywhere. The building has a long way to go yet.
“Five to zero is hard," said head coach and technical director Aron Winter. "Five times they went on the counter and got a goal. They got a chance and they finished. If you watched the game, you saw how many opportunities we had within the front of the box, but we weren’t able to score.”
But in any process there will be setbacks. This may be looked at as a glitch some time down the road; Winter saw enough to maintain some calm and optimism.
"We have to be calm," he said. "It’s a hard defeat, but if you watch the game, I saw some positive things. We get opportunities because the first 20 to 25 minutes, we were the better team. We had a lot of opportunities but we didn’t score. But New York, the moments they came in the box, the five or six moments, they scored. After 3-0, it was much easier for them to play football.”
Richard Eckersley, who played again at center back out of necessity instead of his usual right fullback spot, said it was not just the defenders.
“I think it wasn’t just defensively, or just the back four," he said. "When we’re defending, we need to do it as a team. If one player runs off their man, they’re going to pick us off. [New York] did that tonight. They’ve got good players, and obviously we paid the price tonight.”
As far as not finishing, he said, "I think it’s difficult because obviously, if you’re given that much time on the ball and that much possession, you need to put your own chances away."
Defender Dan Gargan feels there is hope to be taken from the mess.
"We had quite a few opportunities in the beginning of the game, and if we finish one or two of them there, we make a difference," he said. "I think we need to put away our opportunities when we have them because against a team like New York, they’ll finish theirs."
Toronto do not have much chance to think the loss over, as they travel to face Houston on Saturday.
"Games keep coming," Gargan said, "so this is a loss and obviously it stings a bit whenever you lose badly, but we created some chances and we just have to look forward.”