TFC pays the price

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:43 AM ET

Being terrible with a man advantage didn't hurt the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins much, but it was a major factor in Toronto FC's most demoralizing defeat of the season so far.

Up a man for nearly half of the game, Toronto's failure to capitalize caught up with it in the 90th minute when Fredy Montero deposited a free kick past Stefan Frei, stunning the 21,839 on hand and handing the Seattle Sounders a 1-0 victory at BMO Field.

Toronto outplayed the Sounders by a considerable margin in the first half -- outshooting Seattle 5-2 -- but oddly was not the same squad when Seattle's Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was sent off in the 50th minute. Seattle outshot Toronto 6-4 in the second half.

The Reds left the field to a chorus of boos, Frei the slowest of all after giving the officiating staff an animated piece of his mind about the call that led to Montero's free kick.

"I don't like the way we gave away that foul, I don't even know if it was a foul," said a frustrated Frei.

"(In the) 90th minute, the guy goes down extremely soft ... I let them know at the end of the game (that) games are getting decided too many times with stupid decisions."

Frei rightly didn't even agree with Hurtado's sending off, saying "I don't know how that happened either," about Hurtado's second yellow card.

Captain Maicon Santos and head coach Aron Winter felt the loss was the toughest of the season to take.

"This feels even worse because you played well and you don't get the result that you want," Santos said.

"This feels worse than dying this was not our night."

Added Winter: "Ya, (it's) incredible that we've lost the game for sure. We were the better team.

"We played very well; in the end, we gave it away."

Seven minutes before Montero's goal, substitute Javier Martina had rung a shot off the post and Joao Plata had put the rebound high over Kasey Keller and the goal.

The devastating loss left TFC winless in eight games and without a goal in four of those matches.

The second half letdown was shocking, since the opening 45 minutes were some of the most well-played of the season by the home side.

Though Seattle was solid to start and both clubs played an exciting, stylish brand of soccer, TFC was clearly better.

The Reds put the pressure on a few times, particularly in the 35th minute when Plata nearly beat Keller.

Seattle's Mike Fucito put a shot just wide of Frei in the second minute and that attempt stood as Seattle's best of the opening 45 minutes.

TFC midfielder Danleigh Borman said playing 11-on-10 isn't always as easy as it seems.

"It's harder sometimes when they get down a man because they just sit back," Borman said.

We did create some chances, hit the upright ... maybe not enough but sometimes it's harder when you get up a man. Football's a funny game."

As a result, the agony continues for the 2-6-10 squad that has taken its share of gut punches so far this season.

Once again, TFC was forced to go with a patchwork lineup. Striker Alan Gordon could not play after picking up a few knocks in New England on Wednesday. Meanwhile, midfielders Julian de Guzman, Tony Tchani and Jacob Peterson also sat out due to injuries.

De Guzman has not rejoined the Reds since hurting his ankle at the Gold Cup on Tuesday, though the club continues to insist there is nothing to any trade rumours involving the designated player.

Winter did say he is looking forward to the July 15 opening of the transfer window, because he doesn't feel he has what he needs at the moment.

"We're missing a leader on the pitch ... we are much better when (Gordon's) playing," Winter said, adding he would like to upgrade his defence and midfield, as well as his forwards.

"My goal still rebuilding is to get a good team. I know what I need to get the results."

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


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