Toronto FC posted a rousing 3-1 win midweek against the New York Red Bulls. Then they came back out at BMO Field on Saturday and experienced the reverse, losing 3-1 to the Houston Dynamo, a team that came into the game having won just one road game this season.
With TFC eager to return to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs this year and hovering around the playoff line in the Eastern Conference, head coach Greg Vanney wasn't pleased with his team's showing on the night.
“The problem was we didn’t come out with any energy in the first half. We were stagnant, slow passive, too soft. The goals we gave away were ridiculous," Vanney told reporters postgame.
Vanney cited the Dynamo's third goal, a terrific individual effort from Mauro Manotas through a slew of Toronto defenders, as "just killer" for his team.
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“I don’t even know how to explain it, it’s one guy against five. And for us to not be able to in that play, and there are multiple ways to end that play – you can win the ball or you can even commit a foul and end the play – but for him to get through five of our guys and get in on goal is just completely inexcusable," he explained. "I can’t even explain how to get into that situation because it doesn’t even register to me. We can double-team – it looked like Laurent [Ciman] maybe got stepped on a little bit, then he stops, the he rejoins late, the guys recovering don’t recover in a position to protect our goal and win the ball. It was Keystone Cops.”
TFC have struggled to field a full first-choice XI all season, due to injuries, international absences and fixture congestion. Vanney lamented Saturday's loss did not feature players stepping up to the occasion.
"It didn’t work for us in terms of rotating the guys," he said. "It was an opportunity, it should’ve been a group of guys the were eager to go out and push it and prove something and it just came out real slow and passive."
And the manager said there were no guarantees moving forward.
“When our team wasn’t so deep and we had a lot of guys away, if you don’t have a great performance maybe you get another chance. This is one where maybe you don’t get another chance, we’ll see.”