On three days rest and flying cross-country, it was always a tall ask for Toronto FC to get three points when visiting Real Salt Lake on Saturday afternoon. But a 3-0 loss in which the Reds struggled to get much of anything going, it was a case of one step forward and two steps back.
Jozy Altidore, who’s dealt with injuries since late April, made his return to action after subbing on at halftime. That was welcomed progress for TFC after being blanked, 0-0, against D.C. United this past Wednesday, all despite attempting a club-record 35 shots.
That could have marked the return of Altidore’s special relationship with Alejandro Pozuelo, but then came the step backwards. The Spaniard received a second yellow card in the 61st minute, meaning that connection is on pause for at least another couple of weeks. They have a combined 10 goals and eight assists on the year, spearheading a TFC attack that head coach Greg Vanney has said needs reinforcements.
Purely from a results perspective, the RSL loss marked the end of five games in 15 days for the 2017 MLS Cup champions. However, they’re now 0-3-1 in their last four games, ending on a sour note after starting that stretch with a 2-0 win at Orlando City SC.
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Toronto is still above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference standings, but this all comes on the tail end of a 10-18-6 season in 2018. Regardless, questions are abound during a rough patch of form.