TORONTO – For Toronto FC, Sunday evening's 3-1 home loss to New England was a tale of wasted chances.
“I thought it was one of the best performances that we've had all year, but sometimes the ball doesn't go in,” TFC head coach Greg Vanney said after the match, speaking directly to his side's wastefulness in front of goal.
“We had 21 chances,” he continued. “We missed the target too much: nine times. We hit people seven times.... We dominated in every statistical category that there was, except for the one on the scoreboard, which is the one that counts. “
From the second minute on, Toronto had more than their fair share of looks, but throughout the match – whether it was Robbie Findley's early header striking the crossbar, Michael Bradley's free kick that soared marginally wide of the target, or Sebastian Giovinco's chip that was cleared away by Jose Goncalves – actual goals proved elusive.
Adding further insult, TFC were their own worst enemies on the night, with Damien Perquis putting one in his own net to give New England the advantage in the fourth minute and Bradley uncharacteristically turning the ball over near his own box to lead to the Revs’ third goal in the 71st.
“We kicked ourselves in the foot a couple of times there,” noted Jozy Altidore. “Two big mistakes and it cost us.”
“[If] we don't give away an own goal, and we don't give away the ball at the top of the box, and we finish [one or two more] of our 21 chances, we're having a completely different discussion,” added Vanney.
Not only were they wasteful on the pitch, but this match, against a direct rival in the Eastern Conference, marked a missed opportunity to pick up some ground in the standings. Toronto and New England were only separated by three points entering Sunday’s match; now fifth-place TFC is closer in points to seventh-place Orlando City than they are to the fourth-place Revs.
Furthermore, Toronto burned one of their remaining home games, results in which will be crucial to reaching the postseason for the first time in club history. Five of TFC’s remaining seven regular season matches will come at BMO Field.
One positive to come from the aftermath of Sunday’s defeat? Toronto have a quick turnaround, with a chance to rectify their wastefulness against New England with a match at New York City FC on Wednesday night.
“It was an important game for us to level the field with New England and keep ourselves in touch with that group of teams in front of us,” said Vanney.
“This one slipped away.”