The end of Toronto FC’s trip ended with a thud on Sunday.
After five games without a loss – a win and four draws – they fell convincingly 3-0 to the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. It was only the second loss for Toronto FC in seven games since Paul Mariner replaced Aron Winter as head coach on June 7.
“I think we weren’t as solid as we have been in previous games,” midfielder Terry Dunfield told MLSsoccer.com in a telephone interview. “Philadelphia were able to pick us apart, especially in the first half. We sort of lost our defensive shape that we’ve kept so well since Paul has taken over.”
HIGHLIGHTS: PHI 3, TOR 0
Toronto looked tired and sluggish at times during the match and an arduous schedule could be catching up to them. It was their seventh game in three weeks that began with a 2-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City, their first game under Mariner on June 16. Sunday’s game followed a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Wednesday.
“I think our tough schedule caught up with us a little bit today and also I think you need to give credit to Philadelphia,” Dunfield said. “We bumped into a good side today.”
The closely bunched schedule of games has been coupled with some unbearably hot weather as well.
"It’s definitely been a difficult week but that’s part of playing in MLS,” said Dunfield. “We came here straight from Dallas. It’s been difficult to train because it’s been 100 degrees-plus every day since we’ve been here, [but] these are things that you need to cope with on the road.”
Unfortunately for the Reds, the schedule does not let up anytime soon. Toronto are home to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday, followed by a road trip to New England next Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to coming home and playing at BMO,” Dunfield added, “and hopefully our home crowd will give us that little extra bit that maybe we need.”