TORONTO—Even as challenges mounted – schedule, travel, fatigue, injury, suspension – for Toronto FC, the Reds emerged from Saturday's 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders at BMO Field disappointed to be dropping points at home.
Playing their fifth match in 15 days, with six players listed out – and having hoisted the Voyageurs Cup in dramatic fashion midweek at Vancouver – TFC wasted innumerable chances, both to open the scoring and to find a winner, ensuring the Sounders a share of the points.
“We had loads of chances. The first half especially, we had a lot of good looks,” said Toronto head coach Greg Vanney. “We've got to come out of that half with something.”
Some of the better chances included: Jay Chapman guiding a free header just wide of the post and Sebastian Giovinco twice sailing right-footers – one from inside the area, the other from the top of the box – uncharacteristically over the bar.
“It's a game of execution in the boxes,” Vanney said. “We didn't execute, and then we had one lapse that cost us.”
The period immediately following a goal is often labelled the most dangerous time in soccer, and Vanney is well aware.
“When the guys are jogging back, I'm yelling 'Get locked in, get together and defend!'" Vanney said. "It should never be that one direct ball gets behind you and into the box. It's a mental lapse, we dealt with it poorly, and we paid for it.”
“We lost two points,” Giovino acknowledged. “We created a lot [of chances], even if we didn't score them all, but we have to look ahead, think about our next game.”
Still, Vanney found reasons for optimism at the end of a gruelling stretch.
“Over the course of the last 15 days, every single player on our roster including Raheem [Edwards, called up from TFC II] got playing time. I couldn’t be more proud of the group, the depth and the effort that they have put forth.”
“We pushed them to the limits. Our goal was to get as many points as we can, lift the trophy, and try to come out with as few injuries as possible.”