TORONTO – Toronto FC hope they have found the key to winning in MLS play, where they have lost a league-record eight games in a row to kick off the 2012 campaign.
Going forward, they will aim to channel their determination and desire the way they did on Wednesday night, when they defeated the Montreal Impact 2-0 in the second leg of their Amway Canadian Championship semifinal at BMO Field. Doing so despite being a man down most of the game following Richard Eckersley's 16th-minute red card made it the highlight of an otherwise bleak season.
HIGHLIGHTS: TOR 2, MTL 0
“We were determined and we wanted to win the game, period,” goalkeeper Milos Kocic said after the game. “It doesn’t matter if we had three guys less than them, I think we would win because you could see in our eyes and the way we came out on the field. It was a different level.
“And that’s the way we were supposed to play the game. The way we played tonight, if we bring this in the league there’s no way we can lose a game, especially at home.”
However, the Reds will have to wait a while to make Kocic's words a reality.
They have the weekend off before they set out to win their fourth successive Canadian title, opening the final next Wednesday in Vancouver against the Whitecaps. They are back in league action on May 19, when they face D.C. United in a rematch of the game that saw the Black-and-Red win 2-0 at BMO Field on May 5.
“I hope we finally found a way to win the games and I hope we bring it to the league as well,” Kocic said. “We are probably the best cup team in North America in the last couple years. You know we have to find a way to win the league games as well. We’re still with zero points in the league.”
The win against the Impact was Toronto’s first since March 14 when they beat the LA Galaxy 2-1 in Carson, Calif., to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. In between wins were nine losses and two draws in all competitions.
TFC looked like a different team on Wednesday, applying pressure higher up and beating the Impact to the ball. They worked at not allowing the easy cross – something with which they've struggled mightily.
“My guys were just jumping in front of the ball, sliding, it was a great performance by everybody,” Kocic said. “If somebody slides and covers one post, I can concentrate maybe on the other. It makes my job much easier.”
It also helped that Reggie Lambe scored in the second minute. Kocic & Co. haven't had many leads to protect this year, after all.
“After a couple of good chances, after a goal, the whole crowd was behind us,” Kocic said. “It was great, it was just unbelievable to play here. I hope we bring it to the league as well.”