Toronto FC have played better games this season and have had nothing to show for it.
But Wednesday night, they were going for a result. Any result. And they didn’t care what it looked like.
So the goalless draw in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship was a thing of beauty for a result-starved team.
“Yes, the result was important,” head coach and technical director Aron Winter told MLSsocceer.com by phone after the match. “We want to play attractive football but at this moment and in this period where we are, it’s important to get results and then at certain moments then the way we can play, you’re going to see it.”
Where they are is 0-7-0 in the league. And in all competitions they had not even had a draw since March 28 when they played a 1-1 game with Santos Laguna in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. In between, there were six losses in all competitions.
The clean sheet against the Impact was their first in any competition this season.
Perhaps one play exemplifies Toronto FC’s effort against the Impact. The Reds have been a team that has been stung on set pieces time and again. But their play in the 27th minute on a corner kick saved the result.
Shavar Thomas directed a header after a corner kick on goal and Reggie Lambe was standing on the line to head the ball from danger.
“That was huge, of course,” Winter said. “If you watch the whole game they had better chances than we had. Reggie made at that moment a good save on the line. That’s why he is standing over there on the set pieces.”
Milos Kocic also made a couple of big saves in the first half.
And in the 73rd minute, defender Richard Eckersley came on for Lambe as Toronto could smell the result. Nil-nil was just fine at that point.
“Of course at the end with 15 minutes, or 10 minutes to play it’s very important for the confidence of the team to get a point,” Winter said. “Maybe it’s not the way we play football but it’s very important to get a result, it could be draw or a victory.”
The second leg is next Wednesday at BMO Field.
But first they play in the league, against D.C. United at BMO Field. The Reds will try to avoid their eighth league loss in a row to open their schedule. They are tied with the 1999 Kansas City Wizards at seven for the worst start in league history.
“And now to get started with the clean sheet, it’s the beginning of a turnaround,” Winter said.