TFC: Is that all there is?

Seattle Sounders FC's Fredy Montero reacts after scoring late in the second half of their game...

Seattle Sounders FC's Fredy Montero reacts after scoring late in the second half of their game against Toronto FC on June 18, 2011. (REUTERS/Fred Thornhill)

Kurtis Larson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:52 PM ET

TORONTO - With a man-advantage coming out of the break following a positive opening to the match, TFC’s lack of defensive organization and a disjointed attack led to limited chances on goal and a demoralizing 1-0 home loss to the 10-man Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

With second-half replacement Javier Martina producing TFC’s only significant chance in the second half — a half-volley that caromed off the post and across the face of goal — the Reds have conceded the most goals and scored next to the least of any team in Major League Soccer.

Most concerning is that Seattle had the better of the chances while playing down a man even though the Reds looked the better of the sides heading into the half.

Say what you want about how the club missed Alan Gordon on the weekend, the target forward played in New England last week and TFC still couldn’t unlock one the league’s worst teams.

It’s not a knock against Gordon, but a reiteration that Toronto has to spend some money on a high-priced winger and an attacking midfielder this summer.

While Joao Plata is a promising young player, his best contributions come as a second-half substitute when he can exploit heavy legs. Similarly, the club now has no attacking threats in midfield after the club announced Sunday that Alen Stevanovic, on loan from Torino in Italy, was recalled by his former club.

As the injury list grows and the Reds are forced to play academy products and reserves, each successive draw or narrow defeat begs the question: Has Aron Winter taken TFC’s current roster as far as it can go?

“I’m still saying we are rebuilding,” Winter said. “It’s clear that once the (transfer) window opens, we will have to get some players because we need them. We don’t have enough quality.”

It’s time to utter the obvious that not only is Toronto’s current makeup not up to task, but Winter needs to take the rebuilding process one player, one transfer window and a single off-season at a time.

Whereas the transition started with Gordon and Richard Eckersley to start the season, it continues next month.

AROUND THE PITCH

The Reds will be active come the July transfer window and, with many players rumoured to be looking stateside, one report out of Greece was of particular interest. Greek international Giorgos Karagounis is said to be interested in an MLS move. While merely speculation at the moment, his fierce work ethic would fit well in MLS … On one hand Stevanovic looked comfortable against the Sounders and provided some good attacking sequences, but his departure opens a good deal of cap space, too …Working well behind Stevanovic in the midfield Saturday was Nathan Sturgis. Winter’s decision to yank Sturgis in favour of Oscar Cordon was odd. Sturgis did well to cancel Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso through the opening 45 minutes and Cordon looked lost in the final third … Winter’s decision to bring off Stevanovic for Martina was also odd in terms of pushing for a winner. A better move would have been to replace Nick Soolsma who provided very little during Saturday’s contest.

DISAPEARING ACT

Reports say designated player Julian de Guzman did not attend Saturday’s match and hasn’t returned to the club since Canada’s departure from the Gold Cup.

De Guzman went 90 minutes in Canada’s final Gold Cup group match last week, but didn’t return to the club ahead of TFC’s match with Seattle.

While reports hinted that Toronto’s embattled holding midfielder has an ankle injury, the bizarre nature of not returning to your club a week after exiting the Gold Cup leads one to speculate.

The club denies transfer rumours involving de Guzman, who is a making an estimated $1.9 million US this season, but is it possible that the Canadian international is being held out of competition ahead of a potential move?

YOUTHFUL MISTAKES

Making his third consecutive start, 18-year-old Doneil Henry looked confused and needlessly gave away possession on many occasions. He also left Ty Harden stranded several times. Playing with a man advantage, Henry must play with restraint and poise while patiently waiting for things to open up.

After showing well in his previous two outings, Henry’s youthfulness was also obvious in the late-stages, needlessly giving away the foul that led to Seattle’s winner.

“At that moment it was not clever for us to give a foul in front of the box,” Winter said. “It was unnecessary.”

OUT OF OPTIONS

While the loss was hard to swallow for an out-of-options club that has been forced to play its fifth string reserve in the heart of defence, supporters must come to terms with the condition the Reds find themselves in.

With the Reds heading west this weekend for a match against Champions League finalist Salt Lake, if many of the same players remain on TFC’s injury list, it’s difficult to say whether TFC will even dress a full roster.

The July 15 transfer window can’t come soon enough.


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