TORONTO – Forward Ryan Johnson admits that his frustration is mounting with each Toronto FC loss.
The losing streak reached six after the Chicago Fire won 3-2 at BMO Field on Saturday. The Reds are one loss away from equalling the league record of seven defeats in a row to open an MLS season set in 1999, set by Kansas City.
“It’s really starting to get to me,” Johnson told reporters after the game.
Unfortunately, the prospects for the future don't look too easy: Toronto go on the road to Real Salt Lake on Saturday, one of the most inhospitable environments in the league.
It’s not just the losses, though. It’s the way they have come that hurts. Goals too easily conceded – usually early, sometimes late – have been the story of TFC’s season. The Reds found their scoring touch with a pair of goals by Reggie Lambe on Saturday, but again left Chicago too many easy openings.
Particularly crushing was the tying goal off a free kick late in the first half, just one minute after Lambe had put TFC ahead 2-1 on a goal set up by Johnson.
“I think if we score two goals, we should at least win the game,” Johnson said. “It’s our fault to give up three goals, especially the ones off set pieces right after we score, like a minute after. That’s on the players. We’ve got to be more accountable of our markers.
“These mistakes are killing us and killing Toronto and our fans. It’s hard to keep letting down our fans every week.”
Johnson said there is a less to be learned from Chicago’s tying goal.
“That’s just not using our heads,” he said. “That’s the time you’ve got to be most aware, right after you score a goal because they’re coming right back and that’s exactly what happened. This is a lesson for anyone in football, that once you score you have to be ready to defend right away because they’re going to come back.”
Johnson’s personal hard luck continued as well. In the 1-0 loss to Chivas USA on April 14, he twice had shots cleared from the goal line. Saturday, his second-half header hit the post.
“It happens but I’m continuing to get myself into scoring chances,” he said. “I set up one for Reggie. I’m trying to do my part. It’s really hard for us right now.”