TORONTO—Despite having lost three consecutive road matches by a combined score of 8-0, Oscar Pareja took some solace from FC Dallas' performance in Saturday night's 1-0 loss at Toronto FC.
“Obviously disappointed with not getting a point from the game,” Pareja said. “But we did much, much better today than the last two games. We showed a lot of improvement, but we made some mistakes that created some options for Toronto and one of them was a goal.”
Still working back to full fitness after an injury spell, playmaker Mauro Diaz lasted the entire 90 minutes, drawing fouls left and right. Winger Fabian Castillo came on after halftime to spur Dallas' best look of the match when the two linked up to draw a massive save out of Toronto 'keeper Clint Irwin in the 66th minute, very nearly levelling the score.
“We are trying to find our best form, we all as a team and as individuals,” Pareja said. “Today, I saw a lot of improvements. Mauro is finding his timing, same with Fabian. You've got to be patient with them. Today I saw some glimpses of what we really are and that keeps me optimistic about the next two games that we play, [on] short turnaround, this week.”
Pareja also liked what his saw from his center-back pairing of Walker Zimmerman and Zach Loyd, who kept Toronto's big two off the board in the continued absence of Matt Hedges, out with a torn meniscus in his left knee.
“It's a tough battle, a [US] national team player like Jozy [Altidore] and one of the best players in the league in [Sebastian] Giovinco. I thought it was a very hard job to do tonight and the boys performed very well,” Pareja said. “It was fun to watch. I thought we responded well and it was a performance that keeps us optimistic about what is coming.”
Pareja even found positives from absurdity: Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez was forced off late after a heavy collision with Toronto midfielder Will Johnson; FCD had already used all their substitutions, leaving Gonzalez to be replaced in goal by right back Ryan Hollingshead for the closing moments.
“That makes me optimistic about the versatility that we have,” Pareja quipped.
Troublesome road trip over, Dallas will look to bounce back quickly with a midweek fixture against Portland (Wednesday, 9pm ET; MLS LIVE) in their return to Toyota Stadium.
“We look forward to it,” Pareja said. “It has been tough results lately on the road. We can't wait to be back home.”