TORONTO — Toronto FC gave up 59 goals last season, the most in MLS. And just two games into their 2012 MLS campaign, they’re on track to do it again.
The Reds have lost back-to-back games by a combined score of 6-1: a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field followed by a 3-0 loss at home to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
But perhaps more alarmingly for Toronto, they’re entering a CONCACAF Champions League semifinal tie on Wednesday (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer/TeleFutura, Live Chat on MLSsoccer.com) against a Santos Laguna side that thrashed Seattle 6-1 in the second leg of their quarterfinal matchup.
“It will be a very complicated game considering what Santos Laguna is doing in this tournament, defeating the Seattle Sounders 6-1,” center back Miguel Aceval said through a translator on Tuesday. “We have to be very cautious and do not make the same mistakes we made in Saturday's game against San Jose.
“I know the Mexican soccer system because I have played against some Mexican teams before in the Copa Libertadores,” Aceval continued. “We have to improve and play better to go to Mexico with some advantage for the second game."
Particularly problematic for TFC has been the absence of Torsten Frings. The German, who is out four to six weeks with a hamstring injury, has played as a sweeper behind two center backs in head coach Aron Winter’s 3-4-3 formation, but no one has stepped up to fill that role effectively.
The answer for those who take the field on Wednesday? Dig deep and fight.
“We have to defend in numbers,” left back Ashtone Morgan told reporters after training at BMO Field on Tuesday. “We have to fight as a core, as a whole unit. One guy can’t do it himself. We have to come together and defend for our lives. … Their whole squad is technical players, and really good players but at the end of the day, if we work hard, we can get the job done.”