TFC's time is running out

Toronto FC's Danny Koevermans reacts after a scoring opportunity during the second half of their...

Toronto FC's Danny Koevermans reacts after a scoring opportunity during the second half of their MLS soccer match against Chivas USA in Toronto April 14, 2012. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

KURTIS LARSON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 12:15 AM ET

TORONTO - Arms crossed and teeming with disbelief, Aron Winter's uneasy demeanour filled the stadium's press room with unmatched tension following Toronto's fifth straight defeat.

"It's amazing if you watch the whole game," said TFC's head coach, when asked to explain his side's 1-0 loss to Chivas on Saturday. "If you saw how many opportunities we had, at this moment we think we (have) bad luck."

But on the way to insisting the Reds deserved points on the weekend -- an opinion the Dutchman's most hard line critics wouldn't disagree with -- the second-year bench boss failed to put the record-breaking loss into the larger context that includes the first four games of the season.

A solid performance in a match Toronto was expected to win does little to quiet the negative noise the TFC's previous run of four consecutive league losses has produced throughout the city.

"I'm very disappointed that we (didn't get) points in (those) five games," Winter said. "Two weeks ago against Columbus we were also the better team."

As for Seattle, San Jose and Montreal?

"If you see all the games we are the better team. Only difference is that (we) don't have points," Winter said -- a minor detail when trailing league-leading Kansas City by 18 points not even two months into the season.

To set the record straight, the Reds were outclassed in Seattle. The Sounders were clinical in front of goal and good enough at the back.

The club's most passionate backers will point to Torsten Frings' exit as the reason for the TFC's mishaps in defence, but the German was in on Seattle's opener and wouldn't have offered enough to protect against the home side's Latin attack.

A week later it was more of the same. Although an out-of-form Danny Koevermans had a chance to pull TFC level with San Jose, creating a few decent opportunities can't contest conceding three unearned goals at home.

Although the 1-0 loss to Columbus was a bitter pill to swallow -- not just because of 'keeper Milos Kocic's penalty kick save -- Toronto's poor performance in Montreal had some questioning the validity of Toronto's sixth manager staying along for the ride.

He addressed those same questions for the second week in a row on the weekend.

"I'm not concerned and I always try to give everything and my best to get the team on the right track," said Winter, who confirmed the start to his second MLS campaign has been the most difficult of his coaching career.

To be fair, TFC has played well enough to have secured early-season points by now. And with Frings set to return at home to the Chicago Fire in five days, there's little doubt the club is underachieving six weeks into the season.

"The nice thing (about) this league is that even when you are losing games, everything can happen," Winter said of the club's fading playoff hopes. "We need the first points and when the first points come we're going to do well."

In that same breath, underachievement is usually representative of those holding the reigns -- something that must be considered if TFC drops a sixth consecutive match against the visiting Fire, especially with a visit to the Salt Lake waiting in the wings.

While calls for Winter's head remain premature, there might soon come a time when the club's top brass is given no other choice.

 

STAGGERING STATISTICS

While Sporting Kansas City (6-0-0) continues to add to its record start to an MLS season, TFC (0-5-0) is dangerously close to eclipsing the all-time record for worst. Until the Reds get a result, the record must be repeated. Kansas City lost seven straight to start 1999 … Still, despite no club having ever come back to make the post-season following an 0-5 beginning, Winter is adamant the playoffs are still within reach. With a game in hand, the Reds remain just two wins behind fifth place New England, the club occupying the final playoff spot in the East … For that to happen, TFC’s home form has to improve. Saturday was the first time the Reds have dropped three consecutive MLS home dates in six years… The Rojiblancos also extended Toronto’s home goalless streak to 180 minutes -- a run the Reds haven’t experienced since they entered the league in 2007 … And it doesn’t get much better away from the Big Smoke. Having scored just twice in five league games, the Reds are at the bottom in goals scored … As a team, Toronto trails 12 MLS players in total goals this season. Along with San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, New York’s Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper both have seven goals through six league matches. There’s speculation as to whether one of New York’s in-form forwards can make a run at Roy Lassiter's MLS record of 27 goals in 1996.

 


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