Toronto FC suffers third-straight loss

Toronto FC forward Joao Plata battles for the ball against FC Dallas defender Jair Benitez....

Toronto FC forward Joao Plata battles for the ball against FC Dallas defender Jair Benitez. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:46 AM ET

The faces were different, but the result the same for beleaguered Toronto FC.

A lack of finish and some terrible marking culminated in a 1-0 home defeat to FC Dallas.

Toronto had opportunities to equalize, but its league-worst offence -- despite being completely reworked -- continued to stumble.

Though it was the 22nd match of the season for the club (3-9-10), amazingly five TFC starters were making their first appearance with the club.

Designated players Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans were the biggest names, but Ryan Johnson, Andy Iro and Eddy Viator -- the latter inked just hours before the game -- also joined the lineup.

The result was a patchy effort -- not a dull affair by any means, but as would be expected, a lot of miscues by the home side that will have to be ironed out.

TFC has now dropped five-of-six and has one win in 14 matches.

The scoreline actually flattered the Reds a little bit -- Dallas, now an excellent 11-5-5, easily could have had another goal -- but head coach Aron Winter and his players were encouraged, despite the loss.

"Even though we lost the game, I'm very optimistic with what I saw out there," said Stefan Frei.

"The more we get to know each other over the next month or so, the more we can gel as a team."

It didn't take long for the newcomers to make an impression. Johnson tried to complete a nice give-and-go with Frings which led to a free kick which the German almost put into the right corner.

Frings was a force in the midfield and Koevermans flashed his form with a 39th-minute howitzer that Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman barely turned away.

But Dallas was the more dangerous side for the majority of the first half, threatening Frei on a few occasions while the Reds mostly went offside at threatening moments.

Dallas had a 9-3 shots advantage at the break) with three of them not missing by much) and 17-9 for the match, though TFC directed two more on goal.

The Hoops kept on coming in the second half and Frings' lone major mistake of the night came in the 49th minute. Frings came up short trying to corral Brek Shea, who weaved across the field brilliantly, beating a host of Reds, before blasting in his league-leading ninth goal of the season.

"We played equally but unluckily we lost on a beautiful goal," Frings said through a translator.

"It's difficult because we've only played together for one practice."

The Reds could have equalized and actually did when Joao Plata converted a pretty Mikael Yourrasowsky feed -- until the play was ruled offside, much to the chagrin of the crowd of 21,087.

Battling to the end, substitute Maicon Santos almost headed one in with three minutes to go.

Despite the positives, TFC's defence was far too porous. "We gave a lot of space away; they had their chances to make it 0-2 ... they didn't take advantage, it could have been 0-3," Koevermans said.

Dallas also lost a goal due to an offside call.

Johnson liked what he saw, if not the end result.

"We created chances that we didn't put away, but we fought hard and didn't give up," Johnson said.

The newest Red, Viator, instantly found himself in the starting lineup due to the suspension of Richard Eckersley.

Viator impressed while playing for Guadeloupe in the Gold Cup and Winter liked what Viator and the other defenders showed.

Midfielders Julian de Guzman and Terry Dunfield were unable to play due to injury.

The Reds will get a chance to rebound on Saturday night in Kansas City.


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