TORONTO – After a rollicking start on the road, home has not been what it was supposed to be for Toronto FC.
Toronto FC wrapped up a four-game homestand at BMO Field on Saturday with a second-straight draw, a goal-less stalemate vs. Columbus Crew SC. The match saw TFC finish with just five points from the 12 on offer after having amassed 11 during their early-season, eight-game road swing.
With a home loss to Vancouver last weekend and a midweek 1-1 draw against New York City FC, Toronto head coach Greg Vanney knew his side would be in for a tough showdown against their Trillium Cup rivals on Saturday.
“Third game in seven days, there's going to be some challenges,” said Vanney in his post-match comments. “They're a very good attacking team. We knew we had to defend well.
“We created [what should have been] goals, real opportunities to get a result. ... We didn't take them,” he continued. “In the end, I'm proud of the work and the effort defensively.”
The clean sheet may have been a positive, but it was a lack of firepower at the other end that may be a creeping concern.
Toronto have been held to just two goals in their last three matches, and are averaging only slightly more than one per game with 14 goals in 12 fixtures. That's nothing like the blistering pace they set last season, when they scored 58 over the course of the 34-game regular season.
Despite factoring in all but one of his side's goals this season, reigning MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco shouldered the blame for Saturday's disappointment.
“Today was my fault,” he said through his translator. “This was probably one of my worst games and I take a lot of responsibility for this.”
Twice Columbus 'keeper Steve Clark denied Giovinco, while on several other occasions the Italian's usually-precise finishing went astray.
Vanney's diagnosis was a little different than that of the Italian national teamer.
“We need to do more to create clear-cut opportunities,” Vanney said. “Sometimes we look off the shot and look for the extra pass. We've got to be a little bit greedier in those moments, to release the ball a little bit quicker.”
Regardless of the dropped points, two of the club's leaders still see some positives on which to build.
“There's a strong understanding of who we are and what we're about," said Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley. "This is only the beginning.”
Added Giovinco: “We need to always have a mentality of growing. Whether we score or we don't, every game we need to grow.”