TFC extends drought

Toronto FC midfielder Andy Welsh attempts to tackle Orlando Perez of Chivas USA yesterday at BMO...

Toronto FC midfielder Andy Welsh attempts to tackle Orlando Perez of Chivas USA yesterday at BMO Field. TFC continue its streak of futility, losing 2-0 and running its goalless streak to six games. (Dave Thomas/Sun Media)

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

The promised return of star striker Jeff Cunningham came 70 minutes too late at BMO Field yesterday and the result was predictable -- another goalless loss by Toronto FC, this time 2-0 to Chivas USA.

It marked the sixth consecutive game against Major League Soccer competition that TFC has been unable to score, taking the team to the brink of the league record (557 minutes) of futility, which it will set if it doesn't score in the opening five minutes of next week's home game against D.C. United.

Even more ominous for the first-year squad, however, is that a rift between some of the players and manager Mo Johnston appears to be forming in the locker room.

Cunningham -- who Johnston claimed on Friday was pain-free and ready to play -- said yesterday that he is neither and should not have been put into the game.

"On the pitch, I wasn't effective at all," he said. "I was questioning (Johnston's) decision (to put him in). If I was my normal self, I could help but I am not able to do it."

When asked if maybe it was just that he wasn't fit enough after being off for five weeks, Cunnningham was adamant that it was the injury that has slowed him.

"Of course it's the injury," he said.

In the post-game press conference, Johnston said he thought Cunningham had been effective in his 20 minutes of play.

"I thought he was getting behind the defenders like I know he can," Johnston said.

Across the TFC locker room from Cunningham, midfielder Andy Welsh was steamed that he had been taken out of the game after what even Johnston admitted was his best half of play since the club's goalless skein began last month.

"Welshie played very well for the first 60 minutes or so," Johnston said. "But he suffered a charley horse and was not able to keep up with the play after that. Guys were going by him."

According to Welsh, he did not have an injury.

"I was fine. I wanted to stay in," he said. "Am I unhappy about being taken out? Yes, I am unhappy."

Welsh has been in Johnston's dog house -- he didn't start in the previous two games -- until yesterday when he was at his regular position at the opening kick.

Johnston said that he feels Welsh, Danny Dichio and Carl Robinson, who all played full seasons in England before joining TFC this past spring, may all be experiencing fatigue.

"I know Carl has played 70-plus games this season and Danny and Andy aren't far behind," Johnston said. "They need rest but, in our position, we can't afford to give them a month off."

Dichio made his return to the team yesterday when he was substituted for Andrea Lombardo at the start of the second half. He has been out four games with a hip flexor.

A third injured starter, Marvel Wynne, also made a brief appearance.

But by that time, TFC was behind 1-0 on a goal in the 57th minute from Maykel Galindo that Johnston alleged was clearly offside.

"That took the wind out of our sails," he said.

The second Chivas goal came off the foot of Francisco Mendoza in the 89th minute.


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