TFC falls short in Salt Lake

DEAN MCNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

Toronto FC coach John Carver was forced to start three pure rookies in last night's Major League Soccer match against Real Salt Lake in the Utah capital city.

The result was a 2-1 loss to the best team in the MLS West and it stretched Toronto's league winless streak to five games and their road record to 1-7.

Last night's result, however, could have just as easily been 5-1 without the play of TFC goaltender Greg Sutton, who faced 20 shots, nine of them on the net.

On Salt Lake's first goal in the 63rd minute, Sutton was left defenceless after Jamison Olave eluded TFC defenders inside the penalty area to put a header in the far right corner.

And the game-winner in the 87th minute came when first-round draft pick Julius James allowed Salt Lake's Robbie Findley to get a clear shot on goal.

"We have to do better in reacting to stuff," Sutton said in a post-game interview. "But the lads are still upbeat that we can turn this season around."

Sutton, however, couldn't help but notice that TFC forwards could not put away good chances.

"We had a couple go off the post," he said. "If those go in, the game changes for the better for us."

Once again TFC appeared listless in the first half, only coming alive in the final five minutes to create a couple of good chances on Real keeper Nick Rimando -- one by Laurent Robert and another by 16-year-old Abdus Ibrahim -- but both were knocked aside.

With both midfielder Maurice Edu and defender Marvell Wynne gone from the team to play with the U.S. team at the Beijing Summer Olympics, Carver added first-year players James in the back and midfielder Jarrod Smith to play with Ibrahim.

The team is also missing leading scorer Danny Dichio, who is suffering from the effects a concussion.

It's a situation that TFC director of soccer Mo Johnston hopes to fix with the addition of 23-year-old striker Chad Barrett after getting his rights by trading 35-year-old Brian McBride to Chicago Fire over the weekend.

Barrett was the leading scorer -- with seven goals -- in Chicago last season and should join the team for training at BMO Field as soon as tomorrow.

Carver substituted Smith in favour of struggling forward Jeff Cunningham in the 65th minute in an attempt to get the equalizer.

TFC did manage to get back even for a few minutes on a free kick from Amado Guevara, which he put behind Rimando in the 84th minute.


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