TFC's defence rebounds

Ryan Wolstat, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:27 AM ET

Major League Soccer’s most porous defensive team tried something different on Saturday night.

Buckle down on defence and limit opposing chances.

The strategy might not have resulted in a win —

Toronto FC drew at home 0-0 with Sporting Kansas City — but it was a lot better than the club’s most recent result.

If fans were expecting TFC to come out full bore following last week’s humiliating 6-2 home defeat to Philadelphia, they were mistaken.

Instead, the Reds — last in the league with 23 goals against coming in — played a measured but mostly effective first half.

TFC was the better side by a decent margin through the opening 45 minutes, holding the ball for longer and pressing the attack more than SKC. But despite the advantage, the Reds could not seriously challenge Kansas City keeper Eric Kronberg, failing to get a shot on goal through the half.

The Reds didn’t have many opportunities to unload, but when the did, instead, they tried to do too much, opting to try to keep going rather than take a shot at Kronberg.

Kansas City, 1-6-3, came in with just a single win all season, but had played all of its matches on the road.

Nana Attakora finally made his return to the starting lineup for 2-5-7 Toronto, in place of the injured Adrian Cann and he played very well, helping to make up for the absence of the team’s defensive anchor.

Attakora started for the first time since April 9 vs. San Jose, but it isn’t clear how long he’ll be able to stay active.

Walking with a significant limp after the game, Attakora said he felt something in his quad after a fall and would be undergoing more tests to find out the extent of the damage.

“I felt my quad when I fell there (while turning on a shot),” he said.

Still, Attakora said it was nice to be back. “I felt comfortable out there, it was good to get my legs going again,” he said.

Little-used Nathan Sturgis filled in nicely for Julian de Guzman in the midfield in a steady, if unspectacular outing and head coach Aron Winter praised Sturgis and Ty Harden, as well as Attakora.

“We’ve got players on the bench who can step up,” added man-of-the-match Tony Tchani.

Besides Cann, the team was without usual starters de Guzman and Dicoy Williams (Gold Cup) and the injured Jacob Peterson and Alan Gordon. As expected, Kansas City striker Teal Bunbury got a rude reception from the crowd of 19,972.

Bunbury spurned the Canadian national team — where his father was a star — for the U.S. program after playing for Canada in his youth.

He drew the ire of the TFC faithful early on when he put a shot into an open goal well after a whistle.

Bunbury had one of his side’s only solid chances, a low shot in the 65th minute that Stefan Frei turned aside, but didn’t otherwise stand out.

That Bunbury attempt seemed to spur on the Reds. Captain Maicon Santos unloaded a powerful shot moments later, which Kronberg got a piece of.

The Reds almost came away with the victory when Kronberg just managed to squeeze a header by defender Doneil Henry in stoppage time.

TFC showed its most spark late in stoppage time, but it was too little too late.

The club has now managed just two wins in nine home matches. Not nearly good enough if a first trip to the playoffs for the franchise is to remain a viable goal.

“The ties are something that will probably hurt us later in the year,” Attakora said.

“We know we need to start winning, especially at home. We should have got three points against KC. They’re struggling, no question, that’s going to be a tough pill to swallow.”


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