WASHINGTON—Toronto FC entered their Saturday evening encounter against D.C. United expecting to have to do their share of defending.
What Toronto might not have expected was taking a lead inside of a minute. But Sebastian Giovinco handed them the early advantage just 57 seconds into the match, and TFC did very well to get the most out of it in a 1-0 road win.
“Tough not to be pleased with that start. It’s always good to start that way,” said Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney. "I felt as we went along we had to dig in a little bit, but we did what we had to do. That’s the sign of this team, I think, growing from where it was last year to where we are this year.
“I think we’ve proven we can defend as well as anyone, we can protect our goal and we can play on the road and work our way through games and win them in multiple ways. Last year I think we outscored a lot of teams. This year [we've done] a great job of protecting our goal.”
TFC have collected eight points in their six road matches, a respectable haul given that they continue to play away from home until next month because of renovations to BMO Field.
During that span, Toronto are +1 on goal differential and have turned in several solid defensive performances. Saturday’s result was just the latest example.
“In this particular game, I think the way D.C. played kind of pinned us back a bit,” said TFC forward Jozy Altidore. “We weren't able to get out as well as we wanted to. On one side of it, it was D.C. On the other side, to be honest, we weren't as sharp as wanted to be to kind of give ourselves a break.
"There are things we need to work on for sure, but to come away with three points from a game like this with how we look is really good for us.”