TORONTO—One could tell from warmups, there was something off about Toronto FC on Saturday night.
The crispness was lacking, the energy that saw them win their home opener against FC Dallas last weekend had dissipated.
From the first whistle, Vancouver looked the more eager of the two despite long travel, short rest and a limited bench.
Eighteen minutes in and the Whitecaps had a two-goal lead. When it was over, the Whitecaps walked away with a 4-3 victory at BMO Field.
“Our start to the game was pathetic,” said TFC coach Greg Vanney, moments after the final whistle. “Lack of concentration, giveaways, carelessness … We knew the counterattack was going to be the name of the game. We just gave away opportunities in transition and goals.
“Everything that we've done well up until this game we were poor at. It was too easy for them,” he continued. “We weren't closing them down, they were able to get the ball, switch it from one side to the other, we weren't getting tight enough, we weren't competing for first or second balls … The whole thing was an antithesis of everything we've done for the first nine games.
“We didn't start the game with the right mentality, period.”
Said defender Drew Moor, who pulled Toronto within a goal one last time in the 80th minute: “It's disappointing. We dug ourselves a hole. We weren't sharp, our passes weren't good; defensively we weren't organized. We gave Vancouver belief. When you give a team belief, they feel like they can win the game.”
Sebastian Giovinco, who set a club record with his 29th career goal in the 37th minute to give Toronto life, completed an equalizing brace after halftime, only for TFC to concede twice in a two-minute span.
“We seemed to have regressed to last year, when we needed to have more than three goals to win,” Giovinco said. “We hoped to get away from this.”
Moor called it a learning experience, and likened it to getting hit in the face.
“We didn't deserve anything out of this one,” Moor said. “This should be a wake up call for us.”