Troubles keep piling up for Toronto FC, on and off the field.
On top of its controversial handling of the Real Madrid exhibition match, which prompted hundreds of fans to protest yesterday before and after the game against the Los Angeles Galaxy, TFC lost its third game in a row, plus captain Jim Brennan to a twisted ankle, and there is some concern from the dressing room on management's direction the past week.
Ex-Red Edson Buddle scored the decisive goal in the Galaxy's 2-1 victory on a breakaway in the 77th minute, the second atrocious defensive play on the day that led to a goal. Toronto could manage just one tally despite an 11-4 advantage on shots on goal.
"Losing is a bad habit to get into and we gave up two soft goals," TFC coach Chris Cummins said.
An completely unmarked Alan Gordon had an easy one for L.A. in the sixth minute from an Eddie Lewis corner kick and after Danny Dichio finally headed in a disputed goal in the 64th, TFC defender Marco Velez misplayed the ball that Buddle buried.
Toronto has been outscored 6-1 in the three losses, including a 2-0 defeat to the supposedly inferior Vancouver Whitecaps of the USL that put it on the verge of elimination from the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.
The return of sniper Amado Guevara and defender Marvell Wynne from international World Cup qualifying duty should help when TFC plays the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. But the loss yesterday and another testy post-game atmosphere has the club in damage control.
"There's always going to be changes when you're not winning," Dichio said. "But (improvement) is only going to come from us.
"The boys here in the change room are right behind the coach, we love playing for Chris, he talks straight to your face.
"I wouldn't say there are simmering problems in the room, but there's obviously some problems going on with the club that we can't deal with at the moment."
Midfielder Dwayne De Rosario spoke for many players this week when it was learned the club would be paying $250,000 to truck in grass for the Aug. 7 game against Real Madrid. Management seemed oblivious to cries from its own players to change the bouncy artificial turf at BMO Field for full-time Major League Soccer play.
Meanwhile, already upset that the game is not the international friendly due them in their season-ticket package, a group of fans led by the ardent Red Patch Boys were not in the south end seats making their customary din before the game.
After both teams were introduced along with the 2009 Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame class and Canada's 1986 World Cup team, the fans trickled back, unveiling a large black and white banner that read 4 Teams, 0 Titles, a shot at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.'s winless hockey, basketball and soccer properties.
TFC officials have said the cost of luring Real Madrid to a 20,000-seat stadium and the added expense of the grass meant they had to sell separate seats, plans of which will be unveiled tomorrow.
After losing to L.A., which was without Landon Donovan and David Beckham and had just one win coming in (1-9-1), TFC is 4-5-4, with one win in its past six MLS games.
Striker Chad Barrett has been hearing it from the fans and had a couple of chances to help his cause yesterday. Dichio's goal came after Barrett had hit the post, but the latter is stuck on two goals in 13 games.
Cummins said an ankle was bothering Barrett yesterday and he eventually was pulled with 10 minutes to play, with the coach hoping he can "turn the corner soon."
To satisfy its obligation to subscribers, TFC will play River Plate of Argentina on July 22.